Patterns of interaction and young ESL learners
What is the impact of proficiency and task type?
Agurtzane Azkarai |
Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU)
Previous research carried out from a socio-cultural perspective has explored the way adult learners interact when
undertaking tasks. Following the type of analysis initiated by Storch (2002) we
examined the patterns of interaction of young ESL learners (ages 9–12) of different English proficiency levels, high-intermediate
(H) and low-intermediate (L) as they worked with native speakers (NS) (i.e., H/NS and L/NS pairs) to carry out a one-way and a
two-way task. Once the patterns of interaction were determined, we then explored the relationship between these patterns, the
learners’ proficiency levels and the task type. Our findings reveal that, regardless of proficiency, these child ESL learners
engaged with the tasks and with each other, most often collaboratively, but also using other patterns interaction. However, the
findings also suggest that task type and learner proficiency influenced the pattern of interactions that occurred.
Keywords: patterns of interaction, ESL, young learners, task-based interaction, proficiency
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