Bestriding Boundaries: Towards Talk Authenticity in the Undergraduate Business Communication Classroom

| December 3, 2013
Bestriding Boundaries: Towards Talk Authenticity in the Undergraduate Business Communication Classroom

Keywords: transferable authenticity, authenticity transfer, business communication, university teaching, educational practice, interdisciplinarity, boundary work, communities of practice, legitimate peripheral participation, corporate leadership, management practice, organizational management theory, CLIL, classroom talk, classroom discourse

Jane Chee Ling Tsoi
Centre for Applied English Studies
The University of Hong Kong

Jane Tsoi joined the field of education after an extensive career in the international corporate sector based primarily in Hong Kong. As an educator, Jane has taught and coordinated a range of professional and academic communication courses for various disciplines at tertiary level in Hong Kong. She now teaches with the Centre for Applied English Studies at The University of Hong Kong. Her interests include English for Specific Purposes, professional communication and technology in education. She holds an MSc in Operational Research from the Management School at Lancaster University, UK, and an MA with Distinction in Educational Technology and TESOL from Manchester University, UK.

The challenge of creating an authentic learning environment in language classrooms has been highlighted by CLIL and ESP scholars alike (e.g. Dalton-Puffer, 2007; Belcher, 2006). This paper seeks to address this issue of authenticity in the classroom from a novel perspective within a specific context, namely undergraduate business communication teaching in Hong Kong. The ultimate objective of the literature-based research described in this paper was to make classroom interactions and related discourse (“classroom talk”) more authentic to the interactions and discourse that take place in the learners’ target community of practice, the corporate workplace. Conceptual similarities were sought between organizational interactions in the corporate workplace and effective teaching and learning interactions in the classroom. From these similarities, it was concluded that aspects of organizational interaction and discourse could authentically be applied within the context of the business communication classroom.

The concept of “transferable authenticity” derived from this research simultaneously addresses CLIL classroom talk constraints highlighted by Dalton-Puffer (2007), and offers students exposure to more authentic, integrated examples of corporate practice and corporate discourse in the classroom. It can therefore help to facilitate students’ legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) in their target community of practice, the corporate workplace.

See page: 112-137

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 15 Issue 4