Volume 21 Number 2, June 2017


The effects of concordance-based electronic glosses on L2 vocabulary learning

Hansol Lee; Mark Warschauer

The present study investigates the effects of two different vocabulary learning conditions in digital reading environments equipped with electronic textual glossing. The first condition presents the concordance lines of a target lexical item, thereby making learners infer its meaning by reading the referenced sentences. The second condition additionally offers the definition of a target lexical item after learners consult the concordance lines, thus enabling learners to confirm their meaning inference. A total of 138 English as a Foreign Language students completed a meaning-recall vocabulary pre-test, and three different reading tasks, which were followed by meaning-recall vocabulary post-tests in a repeated measures design with a control condition. Overall, the findings showed that the second condition resulted in higher vocabulary gains than both the first condition andthe control condition. Yet, a closer look at the interactions of (a) the participants’ clicking behaviors, (b) the difficulty of selected concordance lines, (c) the surrounding contexts around target lexical items, and (d) the participants’ prior knowledge of the target lexical items showed that each target lexical item may require different treatments for it to be recalled most efficiently and effectively. Through this investigation, the present study suggests that glossary information, such as concordance lines, may involve more complex and unexpected learner interactions.

Computer-based multimodal composing activities, self-revision, and L2 acquisition through writing

Richmond Dzekoe

This study investigated how 22 advanced-low proficiency ESL students used computer-based multimodal composing activities (CBMCAs) to facilitate self-revision and learn English through academic writing in the USA. The CBMCAs involved a combination of writing, listening, visual analysis, and speaking activities. The research was framed within an integrated theoretical framework of multimodality, the noticing hypothesis, and the multi-dimensional model of revision. Data include surveys, students’ revision history, online multimodal posters, reflections, screen recordings of listening activities, stimulated recall interviews, final written drafts, and scores on those drafts. Data collection and analysis followed a descriptive case study design with embedded quantitative data. Findings indicate that CBMCAs helped students discover specific rhetorical and linguistic elements that they used to revise their written drafts. In addition, students reported that the activities helped them develop language and voice to convey ideas that they were struggling to express using the written mode alone. Contrary to findings in most previous research, the students did more content-level than surface-level revisions. Also, there was a significant correlation between total frequency of revision and text quality. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings for L2 writing pedagogy and research are discussed.

Investigating linguistic, literary, and social affordances of L2 collaborative reading

Joshua J. Thomas; Frederick Polle

This exploratory study analyzes learner–learner interactions within a virtual environment when collaboratively reading Spanish poetry in a Hispanic literature course at the college level via an ecological theoretical perspective (van Lier, 2004). The goals of the study are (a) to present empirical data that illustrate the theoretical construct of affordance in a virtual, collaborative reading environment, and (b) to investigate the pedagogical ramifications of using a digital annotation tool to involve learners in collaborative reading. Three distinct types of affordances emerged in the data: linguistic, literary, and social affordances. Our findings indicate that the number of literary and social affordances outnumbered the linguistic affordances that emerged in students’ threaded discussions while collaboratively reading and annotating poems. In addition, the primary challenges for learners when engaging in collaborative reading included others’ comments impeding some students’ understanding of the text, and having to make one’s comments distinct from others’ comments to avoid being socially viewed as an inactive reader or student. From a pedagogical perspective, the primary benefits of incorporating collaborative reading in a second language poetry course involve the ability to establish a more open learning community and allowing students to carry out a closer reading of literary texts.

Peer interaction in text chat: Qualitative analysis of chat transcripts

Ewa M. Golonka; Medha Tare; Carrie Bonilla

Prior research has shown that intermediate-level adult learners of Russian who worked interactively with partners using text chat improved their vocabulary and oral production skills more than students who worked independently (Tare et al., 2014). Drawing on the dataset from Tare et al. (2014), the current study follows up to explore the nature of the students’ (N = 25) interactions during the text chat activities to determine potential sources of the gains. All 18 activities developed for the study encouraged interaction to complete tasks in pairs. A detailed coding of 169 text chat transcripts examined instances of peer–peer interactions. Our quantitative and qualitative analyses explored whether and to what extent real-time interactive language tasks foster the kinds of language-related moves that may support greater language learning. Results show that students spontaneously engaged in various behaviors which may support language learning, such as providing language-related assistance (self- and peer-correction, negotiation for meaning), using their partner as a resource (for clarifying information, modeling language use, or helping with unknown vocabulary), and providing encouragement (responding positively to the task and to each other, eliciting information from a partner). The most frequent instances were of positive affect, self-correction, and partner correction.

Asynchronous group review of EFL writing: Interactions and text revisions

Murad Abdu Saeed; Kamila Ghazali

The current paper reports an empirical study of asynchronous online group review of argumentative essays among nine English as foreign language (EFL) Arab university learners joining English in their first, second, and third years at the institution. In investigating online interactions, commenting patterns, and how the students facilitate text revisions, a three-level analysis of learners’ comments in terms of the language functions, nature and focus area, and connections to subsequent text revisions was conducted. The learners produced a number of 1792 comments which were exploratory, including scaffolding and non-scaffolding (72%), procedural (11%), and social (17%) comments. In relation to the nature and focus area, 53% of the exploratory comments were revision-oriented comments—focusing on global (n = 799; 84%) and local (n = 149; 16%) issues of learners’ essays—whereas non-revision-oriented comments (47%) focused on learners’ socio-relational space (74%), task management (23%) and technical challenges (3%). The findings also showed that 46% of the overall global (n = 615) and only 10% of the overall local (n = 838) text revisions were connected to learners’ comments, indicating the value of global oriented comments in facilitating learners’ global text revisions. Differences of occurrence of these commenting patterns among the three groups were found. Such findings suggest that global text revisions need to be modelled by instructors.