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.
This study investigates differences in the language and discourse characteristics of course blogs and traditional academic submissions produced in English by native (L1) and advanced second language (L2) writers. One hundred and fifty two texts generated by 38 graduate students within the context of the same Master’s level course were analysed using Coh-Metrix indices at the surface code, textbase and situation model levels. The two text types differed in their lexical sophistication, syntactic complexity, use of cohesion and agency. Overall, the traditional course assignments were more formal, lexically sophisticated and syntactically complex, while the blog posts contained more semantic and situational redundancy, resulting in higher readability, and communicated a clearer sense of agency. There were also reliable differences between the textual artefacts generated by the L1 and L2 writers, one of which was a more traditional impersonal academic style of the L2 texts. Although no interaction was observed between the two independent variables in the Coh-Metrix analyses, an additional analysis of human ratings showed that the blog posts were rated lower on the use of language than traditional assignments for the L2, but not L1, writers. Limitations of the computational text analysis and pedagogical implications of the findings are considered.
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.
Mimi Li; Wei Zhu
This article reports a case study that examined dynamic patterns of interaction that two small groups (Group A and Group B) of ESL students exemplified when they performed two writing tasks: a research proposal (Task 1) and an annotated bibliography (Task 2) in a wiki site. Group A demonstrated a collective pattern in Task 1, but switched to an active–withdrawn pattern in Task 2. In contrast, Group B exhibited a dominant–defensive pattern in Task 1, but switched to a collaborative pattern in Task 2. These patterns were substantiated by group members’ ongoing task approaches in terms of equality and mutuality, reflected via the analyses of language functions, writing change functions, and scaffolding occurrences over the course of joint wiki writing. The dynamic interactions within small groups were explained from a sociocultural theory perspective. Participants’ emic perspectives from interviews and reflection papers supplemented with wiki discourse revealed that three sociocultural factors help account for the variations of interaction patterns: dynamic goals, flexible agency, and socially constructed emotion. This study reinforced the role of sociocultural theory in exploring and explaining peer interactions in the online writing task environment. Implications of the study for research and pedagogy are also discussed.
Chantelle Warner; Hsin-I Chen
The easy accessibility, ubiquity, and plurilingualism of popular SNSs such as Facebook have inspired many scholars and practitioners of second language teaching and learning to integrate networked forms of communication into educational contexts such as language classrooms and study abroad programs (e.g., Blattner & Fiori, 2011; Lamy & Zourou, 2013; Mills, 2011; Reinhardt & Ryu, 2013; Reinhardt & Zander, 2011). At the same time, the complex and dynamic patterns of interaction that emerge in these spaces quickly push back upon standard ways of describing conversational genres and communicative competence (Kern, 2014; Lotherington & Ronda, 2014). Drawing from an ecological interactional analysis (Goffman, 1964, 1981a, 1981b, 1986; Kramsch & Whiteside, 2008) of the Facebook communications of three German-speaking academics whose social and professional lives are largely led in English, the authors consider the kinds of symbolic maneuvers required to participate in the translingual conversational flows of SNS-mediated communication. Based on this analysis, this article argues that texts generated through SNS-mediated communication can provide classroom opportunities for critical, stylistically sensitive reflection on the nature of talk in line with multiliteracies approaches.
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.
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.
Yvette Coyle; Maria José Reverte Prieto
This is an empirical study in which we explore child foreign language learners’ interactional strategy use, uptake, and lexical acquisition in synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC). The study was carried out with 16 10-year-old Spanish English as a foreign language learners paired with age- and proficiency-matched English native speaker peers who worked together over a 5-week period on three communicative jigsaw tasks. Results show that during text-based SCMC, the children negotiated for meaning in ways that coincided with and differed from studies of young learners’ face-to-face communication. Successful uptake of target lexis occurred infrequently despite high rates of negotiation, although the children’s lexical knowledge improved significantly over time. Analyses of the chat scripts revealed that the learners noticed and retained additional lexical items embedded in the task and used during the interaction. They had not been the focus of negotiation, but were useful for task completion. Participation in SCMC also raised the children’s awareness of gaps in their lexical knowledge and stimulated their attempts to fill those gaps outside the classroom. The results are discussed and implications suggested for implementing SCMC in instructional settings.
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.