Text Analysis as Therapy:Using Discourse-Disorders Analysis for Communication Training
Nanyang University, Singapore
Last modified: March 5, 2007
Presentation date: 07/21/2007 1:25 PM in Coast Hotel Parkside Room
Text Analysis as Therapy:
Using Discourse-Disorders Analysis for Communication Training
Multidimensional models of communicative competence (e.g. Bachman, 1990; Celce-Murcia et al., 1996; Bachman and Palmer, 1996) have identified oral discourse competence as a distinct component of communicative language ability. Against the background of these multidimensional models, this paper focuses on training university students for job interview situations. Miscommunication, disorders in discourse, or lack of communication in the interview setting can have grave consequences. One particular issue is the ‘dehumanization’ or ‘objectification’ (Foucault, 1973) of the interviewees. This seems to occur when the interview discourse focuses on a singular aspect of the interviewees’ professional personality. Todd (1983) describes this clash between the institutional world and the everyday world as a frame conflict, and a concrete manifestation of this conflict is in the fact that the recruiters wish to quickly arrive at the selection/ rejection decision, while the interviewees often want to introduce their career biography.
To enhance the student awareness of this frame conflict, role play situations were set up, and the texts of the role-play were analyzed using the following three broad categories:
• The recruiters’ problem solving procedures,
• The interviewees’ attempts at initiatives, and
• The processes of discursive negotiation
The analysis was shared with the students with a view to enhance their understanding of how the institutional context influences the communication behavior. This approach seems to have made students realize how interruptions, disruptions, and lack of initiatives are directly built into the interviews and are frequently left unattended or unresolved.
Bachman, L.F. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bachman, L.F. and Palmer, A.S. (1996). Language Testing in Practice, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Celce-Murcia. M., Brinton, D.M., and Goodwin, J.M. (1996). Teaching Pronunciation: A reference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge :CUP.
Focault, M. (1973) The Birth of the Clinic: an Archaeology of Medical Perception. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Thornborrow, J. (2002) Power Talk: Language and Interaction in Institutional Discourse. Harlow: Longman.
Todd, A. (1983) ‘A diagnosis of doctor-patient discourse in the prescription of contraception’. In Fisher and Todd (eds). The Social Organization Of Doctor-Patient Communication. Washington: CAL