The Effect of Discussion Participants’ Genre Perception and Expectation on the Discussion Process-Focusing on Small-Group Discussion among Korean Middle School Third Graders-

Submitted by: Sooyeon Yang
Abstract: 1.Introduction
The present study aims to analyze the pattern of small-group “discussion,” a type of discourse, by focusing on learners’ perception and expectation of the genre, and to develop teaching-learning contents for listening and communication based on the analysis results.
Specifically, this study is interested in discussion as a “problem-solving” method, because previous studies on the general characteristics of discussion (e.g., Gulley, 1960; Keltner, 1957; Dillon, 1994; Brilhart et al., 2001) have essentially considered it as a problem-solving process.
Additionally, the study specifically focuses on the genre specificity of “discussion,” which is characterized by being “task-oriented” for problem solving and “consensus-oriented” via cooperation among members, unlike everyday conversation (which is notably relationship-oriented). The premises are that due to the specificity of the “discussion” genre, learners have different genre perception and expectation when participating in discussion than when engaging in conversation, and that their perception and expectation influence the manner and attitude in learners’ discussion participation, which ultimately causes a change in the pattern of small-group discussion.
Genre perception can be defined as the type of knowledge that is required to communicate within a discourse community (Uzun, 2017). The study aims to investigate the patterns of small-group discussion by focusing on learners’ genre perception and expectation—which were isolated thus far in terms of historic context for teaching discussion—among many diverse factors affecting small-group discussion (e.g., the number of participants, degree of familiarity among participants, goal and atmosphere of the small group, learning environment, difference in academic performance level, and discussion topic).

2.Research Questions
1) What are Korean middle school third graders’ genre perception and expectation of discourse with respect to small-group discussion? How are learners’ perceptions of small-group discussion typified and categorized?
2) How does the pattern of small-group discussion for problem-solving differ specifically according to learners’ genre perception and expectation of small-group discussion?

The present study is planned as a case study. A holistic analysis will be conducted on various data collected from classes, including video recordings of small-group discussion, audio recordings and transcribed data, researchers’ field notes, and tasks assigned to learners (Yin, 2009). To perform the holistic analysis, discussion will be examined from the perspective of interactional sociolinguistics, and a carefully thought-out interpretive analysis will be conducted. Additionally, learners’ genre perception and expectation of small-group discussion will be investigated both qualitatively and quantitatively by conducting semi-structured in-depth interviews and administering a survey, respectively, and learners’ perceptions will be typified based on the findings.

The (anticipated) conclusions of the study are as follows.
First, it is expected to provide meaningful implications for teaching discussion, based on the typification of learners’ perceptions of small-group discussion and the analysis of discussion pattern based on the typification. For instance, even those learners who rarely speak and are passive during a discussion may have much higher genre perception and expectation of small-group discussion than others. Such discovery would suggest that to teach small-group discussion, teachers should pay careful attention to learners’ intrinsic rules as well as their genre perception.
Second, educational content should be re-constructed to match with individual learners’ genre perception and expectation of discourse, rather than to teach listening and communication using the existing genre-centered approach.
Third, it is thought that the perception and expectation of small-group discussion need to be changed in some learners. Accordingly, an ideal educational model of discussion should be developed through a specific educational intervention to help change learners’ perception.

Key words: genre perception and expectation, small-group discussion, listening and communication


Brilhart, J. K., Galanes, G. J., & Adams K. (2001). Effective group discussion: Theory and practice (10th Ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Dillon, J. T. (1994). Using Discussion in Classrooms. New York: Open University Press.
Kim, S. (2014). A Study on the contents constructing of ‘talk for learning’ education (doctoral dissertation), Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea.
Uzun, K. (2017). The Relationship Between Genre knowledge and Writing Performance. The Journal of Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes, 5(2). 153-162.