Purpose: Conducting meaningful interactions in the target language is essential for language learning. However, in many English language classrooms in China, it is rare that students are provided with such opportunities. In the current study, we presented and critically evaluated the implementation of a small-group discussion approach called Quality Talk (QT) in an eighth-grade English language classroom in China. Design/Approach/Methods: One eighth-grade English teacher and 82 eighth-grade students in a public middle school in Beijing participated in the study using a pretest-posttest, quasi-experimental design. Recordings of teacher coaching sessions and student discussions, researchers’ field notes, and participating teacher’s written reflections were used to identify successful practices and lessons learned with respect to the implementation of QT. Implications for future directions were also discussed. Findings: The results revealed that to successfully implement a discourse-intensive pedagogical approach in a large English language class, it is essential that (a) the materials used for discussion closely align with the school curriculum, (b) students are grouped heterogeneously and scaffolded to engage in discussions both in their native and target languages, and (c) student leadership be leveraged to facilitate discussion in each small group. Originality/Value: The present study delineated the details with respect to implementing a discourse-intensive pedagogical approach in an eighth-grade English classroom in China. We derived several key insights from recontextualizing QT in an English learning, large class context in China. These insights might hold the potential to improve the effectiveness of English teaching and learning in China.
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