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Title: Patterns of interaction in communicative tasks : effects on learner performance
Author: Chen, Wenxue
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates the social relationships learners establish during peer interaction and how these distinct relationships affect second language (L2) learners' task performance. The social relationships formed during peer interaction are referred to as patterns of interaction in second language acquisition (SLA) research. Drawing on cognitive and sociocultural approaches, the study looks at the performance of 12 Chinese university learners (i.e., six dyads) when completing two types of task: a writing dictogloss (paired text reconstruction) and an oral jigsaw task (paired storytelling). The tasks were designed to be communicative and to encourage learners' use of the simple past tense in English. The research participants were asked to complete three versions of their task on a bi-weekly basis. The qualitative analysis focused on the identification of the dyadic relationships, while the quantitative analyses included counting the salient features in each pattern and the learners' production and awareness of the past tense. The pair talk data was also triangulated with individual participants' interviews to support the research findings. In addition to the relationships identified by previous studies (e.g., dominant/passive, expert/novice), the jigsaw task in the present study elicited two emerging patterns of interaction: tutor/tutee and dominant/assistant. The findings also show that the participants explored and adjusted their relationships during their interactions, and four of the six dyads were able to achieve a collaborative pattern of interaction through task type repetition. Learners in the collaborative dyads encountered equal opportunities within their pairs to explore the simple past tense and scaffolded each other to raise their awareness of it and produce the form more accurately, whereas participants forming a non-collaborative relationship failed to engage with each other's production and may have missed opportunities to learn from each other.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available