Article :
Oral Discourse Performance of Bilingual Learners at the Primary and Secondary Levels

Authors :
Ruja Pholsward
Supatra Pradubpongse
Faculty of Education, Rangsit University, Thailand,
Abstract :

This paper reports oral discourse performed by bilingual learners at the levels of Primary 6 and Secondary 3 at Satit Bilingual School of Rangsit University.  The purpose was to find out the extent to which learners at these levels were able to perform on oral discourse to communicate their ideas about themselves and their school life. 

The subjects were 34 Primary 6 students and 18 Secondary 3 students. All subjects were individually interviewed by two bilingual researchers of Thai and English—one Thai and one American. A set of ten questions was used in a 15-minute interview in English to secure oral discourse data from each subject. Oral discourse was assessed via communication skills at five levels in the use of conversational turns regarding relevance and appropriateness: (1) Full control, (2) Functional control, (3) Moderate control, (4) Sufficient control, (5) Marginal control. 

All interviews were recorded with consent of the subjects.  During each interview, two more bilingual researchers of Thai and English were present to collect the subjects’ oral discourse data containing their conversational turns in responding to the interviewers’ questions.  

The results on communication skill levels indicate that the primary 6 subjects performed at five levels with a majority at level 2; the secondary 3 subjects performed at three levels (1-3) with a majority at levels 1 and 2, and  there was none at level 4 or 5.   As for oral discourse performance, the primary 6 and secondary 3 subjects at Levels 1 and 2 showed their conversational turns in natural, relevant and appropriate manners.  For those who were less proficient at levels 3-5, their conversational turns reflected irrelevancy and inappropriateness.

Keyword :
oral discourse, conversational turns, conversational relevancy and appropriateness, English communication skills levels, bilingual learners