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Learning Discourses and the Discourses of Learning

CHAPTER 14

EFFECT OF MENTORING ON SECOND LANGUAGE COMPOSITION PROCESSES IN JAPANESE

Within the last few decades, shift has occurred in the study of second language writing, away from a focus on the written products and form of writing towards the process of writing. Within the fields of second language acquisition research and teaching pedagogy, increased attention has been paid to social interaction and social context, and a number of studies have examined the teacher-student conference and peer writing/revision activities in which collaboration and negotiation are used to assist the students’ composition. These studies provide a wide range of valuable insights in terms of sociocultural aspects, such as social mediation, and pedagogical aspects including suggestions for teachers in conducting writing conferences.

However, very few studies have been conducted focusing on the effect of interaction on students’ composition in languages other than English and in contexts outside the classroom. This study aims to contribute to understanding learners’ composition processes, and in particular, how interaction effects second language composition and language learning, through examining informal mentoring for students preparing for a Japanese Language Speech Contest. Utilising informants’ interactional data in revision sessions with native mentors, their multiple drafts as the basis of these sessions and retrospective data from follow-up interviews, this study examines the processes of the students’ composition and their collaborative work with the mentors. It highlights the ways in which these processes provided rich opportunities for language learning.

INTRODUCTION

This chapter focuses on the mentoring program which is conducted by an Australian university in order to support students who participate in a Japanese Speech Contest. This contest is held annually in Australia, aiming to encourage learners who are studying Japanese as a second/foreign language to practise their language skills, and has no relation to their grade in their regular Japanese classes. In order to assist students with their preparation for the contest, the university matches each student who wishes to participate with a postgraduate student who is a Japanese native speaker as a voluntary mentor. The mentors help the students prepare for the contest by discussing topics, revising the drafts of their speeches, advising them on pronunciation and delivery and so on. Most students have multiple meetings with the mentors to polish their speeches; and their preparation process tends to involve a sequence of activities.1

The purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of student-mentor interactions. It will also consider the influence of the mentoring on the process of composing the students’ speeches. The preparation of a speech involves two aspects of language: writing and speaking. This study focuses on the former, that is composing scripts, rather than the latter, practising oral skills. Utilising some concepts from sociocultural theory and activity theory (Lantolf and Appel 1994; Lantolf 2000, 2002), such as, mediation, collaboration and goals, special focus is placed on the collaborative nature of the interactions in relation to both learners and mentors’ intentions and goals. The analysis also seeks to give insight into opportunities for learning afforded by this kind of mentoring interaction.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research seeks answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the nature of the interaction within the mentoring context?
  2. What contributions does each participant make to the composition process through mentor-student interactions?
  3. What opportunities for learning occur in this setting?

This chapter adopts a case-study approach, and rather than seeking general answers to these questions, presents excerpts from two student-mentor dyads, which provide important insights into the nature of the mentoring activity and the learning opportunities which it affords.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

In the field of second language writing research, the importance of response to student writing and its effects has been acknowledged by educators and researchers (Ferris 2003). According to Ferris, not only the potential value of feedback but also the different forms of response, such as, teachers’ written comments in the margins, teacher-student conferences and peer feedback, have been highlighted in both L1 and L2 composition research over the past decade, as the process approach to writing has been popularised. In particular, the writing conference is seen as an effective teaching method that provides both teacher and student with opportunities to discuss academic and personal concerns about the issues of not only the paper in question but also writing strategies and critical ways of reflecting on one’s own work (Freedman and Sperling 1985; Walker and Elias 1987).

However, a number of early empirical studies investigating L1 writing conferences have revealed the teacher-dominant nature of many teacher-student conferences. For example, in a study of conferences between university-level students and their tutors, the tutor took over the writing instead of the student, who had very limited knowledge in their subject matter, focusing on the tutor’s agenda rather than the student’s (Walker and Elias 1987). This study concluded that in unsuccessful conferences, which both participants were unsatisfied with, the agenda was the tutor’s expertise and the student’s lack of expertise.

In contrast, in recent research on writing conferences (Goldstein and Conrad 1990; Haneda 2004; Patthey-Chavez and Ferris 1997; Sperling 1990), the collaborative nature of teacher-student interaction has been focused on, rather than instructional dialogue based on teaching-learning relationships. This has often been discussed in relation to sociocultural theory, using concepts such as collaboration, social mediation and Vygotsky’s notion of a zone of proximal development (ZPD). In sociocultural theory, which has been referred to as a theoretical background in these studies, the most fundamental concept is that the human mind is ‘mediated’ in some way. This refers to the idea that humans do not act directly on the physical world but depend on symbolic and/or physical tools, other people and the circumstances surrounding them (Lantolf 2000, 2002). According to Lantolf, with regard to second language acquisition, the process of mediation has been viewed from three general perspectives: social mediation by experts and peers; self-mediation; and artefact mediation, such as by computers or tasks. Learning is thought to occur through the process of social mediation by experts or more able peers (Lantolf and Appel 1994), such as collaborative activities between tutors and students in writing conferences. In terms of self-mediation, private speech is a typical example. The notion of social mediation, in particular, helps us to interpret the interactive, collaborative nature of writing conferences between teachers as experts, and students as novices.

Sperling (1990) focused on collaborative aspects in writing activities and described teacher-student collaboration in interactions in a study on writing conferences in a secondary school. One of the ninth-grade students in this study actively participated in the interactions with her teacher by restating the teacher’s expression, elaborating her ideas before being asked by the teacher, and cutting him off and completing the prediction, and wrote about the topic which she discussed with her teacher in her subsequent draft. According to Sperling, she was an active participant in the interactions; and her active participation resulted in her development as a writer.

Although not relating specifically to writing conferences, in a paper focusing on collaboration in writing tasks with peers, Swain introduced the notion of ‘languaging’ as a key concept for understanding the nature of collaborative dialogue (Swain 2005). According to Swain, languaging means ‘the use of language to mediate cognitive activity’ such as problem solving activities about language including explaining and describing (p. 1). Moreover, Swain pointed out that languaging about language (talking about language during tasks) provided opportunities for learning a second language through collaborative dialogue. Learners who participated in pair work engaged in collaborative dialogue, experiencing social mediation by peers and also self-mediation by languaging about language.

In order to understand the nature of such collaborative activities, it is necessary to view these activities from the perspective of the participants themselves. Thus, not only the discourse itself but also the participants’ motivation and goals need to be taken into consideration. In sociocultural theory, the theory of ‘activity’ highlights the importance of such psychological and situational aspects of interactions. According to Lantolf (2000), ‘activity’ in Leontiev’s theory, in which Vygotsky’s original idea has been refined, does not mean merely doing something but doing something motivated by biological needs or culturally structured needs.

SETTING FOR THE STUDY

This study examined the nature of student-mentor interactions and opportunities for learning in a mentoring setting, which was different in nature from those of previous studies. Unlike most of the previous studies on writing conferences, the situation examined in the current study does not relate only to a one-off conference, but to an extended collaboration often involving several drafts. In their collaboration, the student and the mentor revised the drafts many times, with the discussions based on the same speech. In addition, unlike previous studies, the activity in which the students were engaged was for high stakes. The first prize in the national contest was an air ticket to Japan. The existence of this prize had an influence on the students’ motivation and enthusiasm. In addition, students were performing in front of an audience of friends, teachers and the general public, and were often speaking about topics in which they had a strong personal investment.

Table 1: Profiles of the focal participants

PARTICIPANTS

In this study, six student-mentor pairs were investigated. The students were learning Japanese as a second language and were enrolled in Japanese language units in an Australian university. The mentors were Japanese native speakers and postgraduate students, who were studying Japanese Applied Linguistics. The participation of both students and mentors in this system was voluntary. The proficiency levels of the learners’ Japanese were ranked from higher intermediate to higher advanced, based on the levels of Japanese classes in which they were registered at the university. For a close look at the interactions and composition processes, two pairs were selected from among them (details are shown in Table 1). The records of their interactions revealed interesting features in terms of collaboration between the students and the mentors. In particular, the two pairs contrasted with each other in the degree to which their interaction was collaborative. These two students, given the pseudonyms Jim and Eva, were in their early 20s. Jim had previously experienced study in Japan, a three-month short course, while Eva had not been to Japan. Both of the mentors, in their early 30s, were studying Applied Japanese Linguistics at Masters level.

METHODOLOGY

Three types of data collection methods were used: collecting the drafts of the students’ speeches, audio-tape recording of meetings between students and mentors, and conducting retrospective interviews after the contest, incorporating interaction interview techniques and stimulated recall. All the drafts, including the mentors’ comments and revisions, were collected after the students finished writing the final drafts of their speech scripts. Some of the meetings between students and mentors were audio-tape recorded and transcribed. Recording their revision sessions helped to investigate the processes of revision in the interactions between students and mentors.

After the contest, retrospective interviews were conducted with each participant, incorporating stimulated recall using the collected written drafts and the recordings of the mentoring sessions. The basic technique of interviews in the present study is retrospection, in which retrospective data are collected some time after the focal event has taken place (Nunan 1992). In order to enhance the validity of the data, stimulated recall was incorporated using the drafts and the recordings. Moreover, utilising an interaction interview technique (Asaoka 2002), the informants were asked to recall in sequence specific times or events in the interaction, and to recount their behaviours and thoughts at each point. The focal interactions and situations were identified in advance based on the analyses of the recorded data and the drafts, and then questions for interviews were prepared based on the specific points. Informants were also questioned about their overall experience during the mentoring process; for example, whether they thought they learned anything through the mentoring or not.

DATA ANALYSIS

The dataset was analysed from two perspectives: 1) the collaborative nature of the student-mentor interactions and 2) revision processes observed between the drafts. These perspectives were set in the whole composition process. The effects of participants’ internal factors, such as their motivation and goals as described in the interviews, were also considered in relation to activity theory (Lantolf 2000, 2002).

In terms of the collaborative nature of interaction, the degree of each participant’s contribution was examined. Thus, the role of each participant was focused on in the analysis of the interactions. The participants’ social-psychological factors, such as their motivation and goals, were also considered on the basis of the data collected in the interviews. As regards the process of revision, the study focused on how each participant made his/her revision in response to the mentors’ suggested revisions of the drafts.

FINDINGS

Similar findings to previous studies on writing conferences were observed in the student-mentor interactions. For example, the mentors often provided scaffolding in seeking appropriate ways to express the students’ ideas; and they negotiated suitable forms and content for a Japanese speech. As in traditional classroom settings, instructional dialogue was also involved in this mentoring setting, such as questions and answers, mentors’ explicit explanations of grammatical items, and their corrections of the students’ grammatical errors and clumsy expressions. However, because of the specific nature of this mentoring setting, other characteristics were identified in the mentor-student interactions. In particular, in relation to students’ authorship, the students’ active participation in their composition was identified in the student-mentor interactions and also their revision processes.

This study will present some episodes from two pairs, which characterise the specific nature of the student-mentor interaction: that is, the goal-oriented nature of the participants’ actions in their composition processes. In the first case, the dialogue reveals that Jim and Maki work collaboratively in order to elaborate Jim’s ideas in making the main topic sentence. The second case is the interaction between Eva and Yuka, focusing on the learner’s resistance to the mentor’s correction or suggestion, due to the gap between their different understanding and norms.

JIM AND MAKI

The recorded session between Jim and Maki revealed a continuum of collaboration in which both participants co-constructed the dialogue and the drafts, with both taking the lead at different times. Jim and Maki had similar and complementary aims for the mentoring process, and this resulted in a successful collaboration. Jim’s main goal, according to his interview, was to express his opinion clearly in his speech; and a subsidiary goal was to use Japanese in authentic contexts with a native speaker to improve his speaking. Maki was also conscious of the authorship of Jim’s speech. She said in the interview, ‘I encouraged him to make and revise as large a part of the speech as possible by himself to avoid my interference with his speech and to enhance his development in Japanese’ (my translation).

Jim had three meetings with Maki, in which they talked in Japanese. In the first two meetings, he had not commenced his draft, and they discussed the content which needed to be included in his speech based on the topic, the relations between Japan and Korea. Jim was studying Japanese and Korean at the university, and had previously studied in both Japan and Korea. In the interview, he said ‘I discussed the issues between Japan and Korea with my friends in both Japan and Korea, and was impressed by their different perceptions’ (my translation). Based on this experience, he seemed to develop his ideas about the relationship between these countries. After he finished his first draft, Jim and Maki discussed and revised it in the third session, which was recorded. Then, he wrote the final draft based on the revised draft. In the recorded interaction, Jim and Maki often negotiated ways of expressing Jim’s ideas in the parts of the speech which needed to be elaborated or clarified. There were a lot of discussions between them in their revision session. In addition to the mentor’s frequent questions, Jim also often took the initiative in revising the draft by explaining his ideas and restating Maki’s suggestions in order to express his opinions accurately.

The student’s agency, expressed in his active participation, can be seen as a key factor in the collaboration between the student and the mentor. Jim actively participated in the interaction in relation to his goal and accepted all the corrections made by the mentor after discussion. In the interview, Jim recognised the high degree of corrections and that his own language mostly disappeared. However, he said ‘I evaluated the mentor’s corrections positively, as being useful for revisions of the speech and also would be helpful for my learning Japanese in the future’ (my translation). He also said ‘I decided to accept all the corrections because I believed that you must learn new things in learning foreign languages’ (my translation). He seemed to view the corrections as fitting with his goals, which were expressing his ideas clearly and improving his Japanese, and tried to internalise Maki’s suggestions for his learning. Moreover, as Jim emphasised in the interview, Maki had a great influence on his language, but he considered that her contributions had no effect on his ideas.

In this section, part of the collaborative dialogue between Jim and Maki is presented. Prior to the section of dialogue, they discussed historical issues about the relationship between Japan and Korea, such as, the controversy over history textbooks for Japanese primary and secondary schools. Then, Maki asked Jim about his main opinion. He answered that not only Japan but also Korea had to work to improve their relationship. A feature of the dialogue was Jim’s overlapping with Maki’s utterances to try to complete the sentence which Maki had begun to make. In this section of dialogue they worked together to jointly construct the main concluding sentence

(I think that both Japan and Korea must work hard in order to improve the relation between them).

In turn 2, Jim added another subject, Korea, to Japan which Maki raised in turn 1. His suggestion was based on his opinion that Japan’s effort alone was not enough, which was stated in the discussion before this dialogue. In turn 3, Maki seemed to notice that she forgot about the subject other than ‘Japan’ from Jim’s mention of ‘Korea’. Using a technique common in classroom instruction, she asked him a question to elicit the purpose (turn 3); and he answered (turn 4). She tried to restate his answer but failed (turn 5). Jim sustained the sentence following her words again (turn 6). The dialogue continued this point, developing further negotiations.

In turn 8, Jim’s contribution overlapped with Maki’s utterance, as he attempted to complete the sentence. She then restated his expression (turn 9). There was further overlap in turn 10, with an attempt by Jim to complete the sentence again (turn 10), but rephrased by Maki again (turn 11). Even though his suggestion was restated twice, Jim did not give up participating in this revision activity but actively contributed to the collaborative dialogue. As Jim said in the interview, ‘I had passed all Japanese classes by myself for about three years without asking native speakers for help’ (my translation); such active participation by Jim seemed to be based on his confidence in his Japanese. In this dialogue, it is also evident that he was working within his ZPD – he was ultimately able to produce more complex utterances that he could produce on his own through the scaffolding and assistance provided by Maki. Moreover, after the completion of this sentence, he repeated the expression (I think). In the interview, he pointed out that he explicitly learned Japanese ways of expressing ideas through the mentoring sessions, such as (I think). Thus, his repetitions of Maki’s scaffolded expression can be seen as both an acceptance of the suggested phrase, and possibly as self-mediation through verbalisation, in which Jim confirms the phrase for himself. Their interaction and his consciousness of learning seemed to lead him to internalise the usage of the expression of (I think).

In summary then, a feature of this interaction was the active role played by the student. Jim did not only play a passive role, such as backchanneling or just listening to the mentor’s suggestions, but often played a leading role in the interaction with Maki by restating her expression and suggesting suitable words or phrases in context. He actively contributed to the collaborative dialogue and also the collaborative revision. Maki also encouraged him to achieve his goals based on her own goals. For example, she accepted his additional topic (turn 3), and asked him to confirm the content (turn 3, 4). Thus, the coincidence of their goals led to their collaboration in the interactions and the revision process, and also their collaboration provided rich opportunities for learning within the ZPD.

EVA AND YUKA

Like Jim, Eva actively participated in the interaction with her mentor. However, their perceptions of their mentor’s corrections were different. Examination of the interaction between Eva and Yuka in relation to the subsequent revisions found an unusual type of response from Eva namely, the student’s resistance to the mentor’s corrections. Most of the students, including Jim, accepted all their mentor’s corrections, because of their authority as native speakers; and they co-constructed the speech scripts through collaborative dialogue. However, Eva sometimes disagreed with Yuka’s suggestions or corrections. On these occasions they sometimes discussed the gap between their perceptions, and at other times Eva changed Yuka’s sentence without any discussion.

Eva had three meetings with Yuka in about two weeks before the contest. In addition, Eva sent her drafts twice by email and Yuka sent them back with comments and corrections. The topic of Eva’s speech was the Korean boom in Japan. At first she was interested only in the Korean boom and its reasons, but had gradually developed her ideas about the relation between Japan and Korea in relation to the boom in Japan through the discussion with Yuka. However, as was the case with Jim, Eva emphasised in the interview that her language had been changed through the interaction with the mentor; however, her ideas had not been influenced at all.

Eva was a fluent speaker of Japanese and she and Yuka always talked with each other in Japanese in the recorded data. In their sessions, Eva actively participated in their conversation by explaining her ideas, suggesting expressions, making objections to Yuka’s corrections, and so on. She seemed confident in her ability in speaking Japanese. In the interview, Eva said ‘I thought I can communicate in Japanese; and so I thought it was enough’. Therefore, her active participation seemed to be attributable to her confidence in speaking Japanese. The main issue on which Eva and Yuka’s perceptions differed was about the appropriate length of sentences. Two episodes are presented in this section based on changes between the collected drafts. In the first example, Yuka paraphrased Eva’s ungrammatical sentence in the fifth draft, which was sent by email, into two sentences in the sixth draft. Then, in spite of the native speaker’s correction, Eva combined Yuka’s sentences into one without any discussion in the final draft:

In the interview, Yuka said that she noticed this change in the second rehearsal, but she did not correct it because she thought she did not need to change it again. In her interview, Eva revealed that she corrected Yuka’s suggestion, based on her interlanguage norm about the appropriate length of a sentence in a speech, despite the fact that the sentences were composed by a native speaker. Thus, in this case, Eva gave priority to her own norm rather than the native speaker’s suggestion, based on her authorship of the speech and her confidence in her Japanese ability.

Eva (in the interview):
I realised that it was a little bit too short, and I should say like and I think it would be better, and so I changed it by myself (=without any discussion with Yuka).

In the next episode, Eva changed Yuka’s expression again based on Eva’s own norm, in which a longer sentence was better than a shorter one. However, in this case, Yuka corrected Eva’s sentence again, just before the contest. In the fifth draft, there were some grammatical errors with the use of transitive verbs, (to change). Yuka corrected these errors, changed some expressions and separated this sentence into two using a full stop in the sixth draft, which she sent back to Eva by email. Just before her speech on the very day of the contest when listening to her last rehearsal of the speech, Yuka recognised that Eva had changed Yuka’s sentences in this part without any discussion with her. In this case, Yuka corrected it again, because she thought Eva’s sentence was too long and less effective for the speech than her own version. In the interview, Yuka said that Eva finally agreed with her and accepted her suggestion about the length of this sentence.

Yuka (in the interview, my translation): [On the very day of the contest]
Eva combined these two sentences to one in the rehearsal just before the contest. I corrected it and explained the reason for this correction again.

In the interview, Eva commented on this episode and mentioned the reason that she often tried to make longer sentences, even when this involved changing Yuka’s correction. According to the interview data, Eva seemed to believe that making sentences longer was more sophisticated, and that, on the other hand, using many short sentences sounded childish.

Eva (in the interview):
I wanna put it to one, this one (with pointing the above sentences in draft 6) like,
I just wanna put it like that. . . . If I put all of them like (=using many short sentences), it’s something like the children’s way to say. I think it’s a little bit childish, and so I made a longer sentence.

In previous studies on collaborative aspects of writing conferences, students’ acceptance of teachers’ suggestions has been the primary focus. However, the collaborative nature of the composition process can be characterised not only by collaborative dialogue where changes are accepted, but also by occasions where suggestions are resisted or rejected. Yuka mentioned that she recognised Eva’s preference for long sentences through the interaction between them in the interview. There were some other repeated corrections in their drafts. From Yuka’s perspective, longer sentences were inappropriate and less effective in a speech; and therefore, she corrected repeatedly, even just before the contest. They discussed this gap between their perceptions many times in their meetings. Yuka insisted that shorter sentences had more impact in the speech, and explained that writing essays was different from speech scripts in the discussion with Eva. On the other hand, Eva sometimes thought Yuka’s sentences were too short and sounded childish; and therefore, she changed them on her own authority. Through many discussions with Yuka, Eva seemed finally to be convinced by her argument about the length of a sentence. Thus, Eva had opportunities to notice the gap between her interlanguage norm and the native norm in terms of the length of a sentence in a speech genre, through extended social mediation. If Eva had felt obliged to accept Yuka’s initial corrections, her speech would have been corrected at the surface level, but her misconception about Japanese style would have remained uncorrected.

In terms of student’s agency and its contribution to understanding, Watanabe’s study on ESL students’ collaborative activities in writing tasks with peers demonstrated similar results to the case of Eva and Yuka (cited in Swain 2005). One of the students in Watanabe’s study, who actively participated in the collaborative dialogue, could answer correctly in the post test while another student, who did not actively participate in it, made the same mistake. Like the student of Watanabe’s study, Eva’s active participation in the interaction with her mentor seemed to contribute to her increased understanding of the language, as she noticed the gap through the process of mentoring.

The interactions between Eva and Yuka involved positive collaboration, such as discussion and negotiation of form and meaning, but also episodes where each interactant maintained their commitment to their own version of the speech, such as Eva’s resistance to correction and Yuka’s perseverance with trying to reinstate corrections which Yuka had rejected. Their active participation can be attributed to their motivations and goals towards the contest and also the mentoring system. It seemed Eva’s goal was to use what she perceived to be sophisticated Japanese, even though it conflicted with the mentor’s suggestion. Therefore, it led her to resist Yuka’s correction, for which she couldn’t see the point. These social-psychological factors might have had an influence on her actions in the interactions with the mentor and also the nature of their interactions.

On the other hand, Yuka’s goal of improvement of Eva’s speech seems to be one of the factors motivating her active participation in the composition process with Eva. As Yuka said in the interview, she kept correcting in order to improve Eva’s language in the speech even though Eva rejected her corrections. Yuka also seemed to notice her own norm through the discussions with Eva in the process of the mentoring. Both participants exercised agency in contributing to collaboration in their interaction, and also they influenced each other through their extended activities in the composition process. Moreover, Eva said in the interview that she was motivated in further learning of Japanese by the discussions with her mentor, which had revealed weaknesses in her Japanese of which she was not previously aware. Their meaningful interaction, including the conflict of their different opinions, seemed to have an influence on the learner’s motives and goals in her future learning.

CONCLUSION

A close look at rich data from multiple sources has yielded some interesting observations regarding student-mentor interactions and their effects on the composition process in relation to social-psychological factors. Various kinds of collaborative activities between students and mentors were observed in the mentoring setting.

As in the interactions between Jim and Maki, the students often played an active role in their revision activities, and made a great contribution to the composition process. Their active participation seems to be attributed to their motivation and goals and was often encouraged by the mentors. The mentors’ actions also seemed to be influenced by the mentors’ own intentions and goals. Each participant’s motivations and goals were interrelated with each other, and also had continuous effects on their interactions and revisions in a series of drafting processes. Their different norms sometimes conflicted with each other in the student-mentor revision activities, as in the case of Eva and Yuka. This is another interesting feature of the student-mentor interaction: the student’s resistance to the mentor’s corrections could also be seen as indicating the student’s agency and active participation in the interaction. In some such cases, the student was unwilling to accept a correction which conflicted with her norm for the length of sentences, and therefore, over successive sessions in which corrections were rejected and offered again several times, the interaction led to discussion of the conflicting perceptions of the student and mentor. This languaging about language – talking about language using the language through the interaction – in turn offered an opportunity for learning.

There is no fixed prototype of interaction in such authentic contexts. As Duff (this volume) notes in her discussion of the various kinds of discourse socialisation in academic contexts, rather, the interactions, as complex social constructions, involve a variety of aspects, such as acceptance and rejection of the other person’s suggestions, negotiation of form and meaning, scaffolding, and so on, even in such a specific context focusing on a specific genre of writing. Moreover, the discourse and social-psychological factors are interrelated with each other and have effects on the interactions in the ongoing composition process. The extended nature of the mentoring can also have an influence on the interactions and the composition, and also on the value of the mentoring as an opportunity for learning.

The student-mentor interaction and the composition process are seen as a context for the social construction of language. Through the mentoring process, both participants have an influence on each other, trying to reach a consensus through their interactions. They can notice the gap between their interpretations and norms, through the interaction and revision processes, and also produce collaborative dialogue and composition beyond their individual competencies. Incorporation of mentor suggestions and subsequent practice of the new forms in speech rehearsals seems to provide an ideal opportunity for internalisation of new knowledge. The mentoring process, including student-mentor interactions and repeated revision activities thus provides each participant with rich opportunities for learning.

APPENDIX

TRANSCRIPTION CONVENTIONS

Symbol

Meaning

[

Left brackets indicate the point at which a current speakers talk is overlapped by another’s talk.

(.)

A dot in parentheses indicates a brief pause.

(..)(...)

Multiple dots in parentheses indicate longer pauses.

::

Colons indicate prolongation of the immediately prior sound. The length of the row of colons indicates the length of the prolongation.

?

Indicates rising intonation.

.

Indicates falling intonation.

Adapted from Ohta (2001), Riggenbach and Wennerstrom (1999), and Silverman (2000).

ENDNOTE

1     Masumi Kobayashi was a postgraduate student at Monash University at the time of writing this article.

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Cite this chapter as: Kobayashi, M. 2007. ‘Effect of mentoring on second language composition processes in Japanese.’ In Learning Discourses and the Discourses of Learning, edited by Marriott, H; Moore, T; Spence-Brown, R. Melbourne: Monash University ePress. pp. 14.1 to 14.13.

© Copyright 2007 Masumi Kobayashi
All rights reserved. Apart from any uses permitted by Australia’s Copyright Act 1968, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission of the copyright owners. The fact that this book is published online does not mean that any part of it can be reproduced without first obtaining written permission: copyright laws do still apply. Inquiries should be directed to the publisher, Monash University ePress: http://www.epress.monash.edu/contacts.html.

Learning Discourses and the Discourses of Learning

   by Helen Marriott, Tim Moore and Robyn Spence-Brown