Online reading groups and network dynamics

Lima, Chris and Lamy, Marie-Noëlle (2013). Online reading groups and network dynamics. In: Lamy, Marie-Noëlle and Zourou, Katerina eds. Social Networking fro Language Education. New Language Learning and Teaching Environments. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 67–85.

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Abstract

This chapter discusses the social and professional development interactions taking place in an online reading group. This group brings together teachers of English across the world, some of whom are native speakers of English and but the majority not, all of whom have joined the group as a voluntary self-development activity. The network is hosted in the British Council/BBC teaching English website. Social interaction has been found to be one of the important aspects in the dynamics of the group and it seems to be an important factor in the learning process reported by participants. Using Bakhtin’s concepts of dialogue and heteroglossia for their potential in illuminating the networking processes, the study looks at how teachers reading and discussing literary texts in the language that they teach, can share, appropriate and transform language in dialogue with the texts and with each other on the forum. We then discuss how the social interactions created in the forum are extended to other professional networks and to other forms of communication among participants outside the group environment.

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