31 SES 04 C JS, Teaching and Learning a Second Language
Joint Paper Session - NW 27 and NW 31
The purpose of this paper is to describe L2‒L1 interaction in co-writing within the context of tandem language learning in a virtual learning environment (eClassroom tandem) arranged within formal language education in upper secondary school.
Tandem language learning builds on reciprocal, two-way learning in interaction between two students with different first languages, based on the tandem principles reciprocity and autonomy, and the concept of authenticity (e.g. Brammerts 2001). The students switch languages, thus taking turns between the role of learner in their respective L2 and that of a resource in their respective L1. At the same time, they develop their capacity to plan, monitor, steer, and evaluate their own learning. Tandem learning builds on a social-interactional perspective of language learning that entails an emphasis on learning and interaction as social processes situated in contexts where participants are engaged in mutual social actions. Language use provides opportunities for language learning, and language learning occurs during social interaction. (E.g. Enfield & Levinson 2006; Doehler 2010; Seedhouse & Walsh 2010)
Tandem learning in school context (classroom tandem) is organized within language lessons in mixed language groups, i.e. half of the class speaking one language and the other half another language as L1. The classroom tandem model has been developed and applied for decades e.g. in Switzerland. In Finland, face-to-face and virtual forms of classroom tandem have been further developed as models for curriculum-based language instruction within second national language education, i.e. Swedish for Finnish speakers and Finnish for Swedish speakers (Pörn & Hansell 2017). Finland is a bilingual country with two official national languages: Finnish and Swedish, and the educational system in Finland builds on two parallel monolingual school systems for Finnish and Swedish speakers respectively, where both language groups study the other national language as an obligatory subject (Nuolijärvi 2013; Boyd & Palviainen 2015). Tandem in school context implies cooperation between two language groups and two school systems, two teachers and two students.
The eClassroom tandem model builds on using virtual learning environments to establish contact between language groups and thus create affordances for language learning through interaction even in rather monolingual regions/countries, where language groups are not in natural contact with each other. By using digital tools the students interact both through spoken language (video calls), and writing (shared documents, chats), and can use several channels of interaction simultaneously. Earlier research on tandem language learning in general, and in classroom tandem in particular, show that text-based activities, including written text production, stimulate more metalinguistic discussions, focusing more on language form than is the case with activities including purely oral language production (Karjalainen et al. 2013). Thus, written text production is an interesting and important subject for further analysis.
Hansell and Pörn (2016) have analyzed co-writing processes in face-to-face classroom tandem, and identified different interaction patterns. Collaborative patterns entail both partners taking responsibility for and initiating both content and language aspects, while non-collaborative patterns entail a rather passive role for one of the partners. As for example Storch (2002) and Watanabe and Swain (2007) state, collaborative patterns of interaction have a positive effect on participants’ learning results. Thus, analyzing the interaction patterns generates deeper understanding of learning through social interaction in eClassroom tandem.
In this paper, we study tandem partners’ co-writing in eClassroom tandem in order to find out
RQ1) what kind of interaction patterns emerge in tandem dyads’ co-writing processes in a virtual learning environment, and
RQ2) how virtual contact between the tandem partners ‒ including their use of digital resources ‒ affect their collaborative writing.
The empirical data of this study comprise video and screen recordings of three tandem dyads, collected within an action research-based project within the instruction of the second national language (Swedish or Finnish) in upper secondary school. The data in this study consist of recorded tandem lessons from two different language courses held during year 2017. During the tandem lessons, the tandem partners interact through a video call (Skype for Business) and work with both oral and text-based activities (cf. Karjalainen et al. 2013). They also use other digital resources, e.g. shared documents for co-writing and online-dictionaries for word searches. The tandem lessons were part of the curriculum-based language courses, where tandem lessons comprise 2–6 times 40 minutes per course. An upper secondary school course in Finland entails on average 38 lessons of 45 min that can be divided into slots of different lengths in different schools. The tandem lessons were recorded with screen recordings and video recordings of focus tandem dyads observed during all the tandem lessons, 8–10 lessons per focus tandem dyad. A screen recording takes up everything that happens on the students’ computers. The data includes both video and screen recordings of both tandem partners in all focus tandem dyads. The video recordings were gathered with a Go-Pro camera attached to the focus students’ computers, making it is possible to see what they do in their respective classrooms. The screen recordings and cameras follow the students so close that the gestures and gazes are fairly observable. The screen and video recordings have been synchronized for the transcriptions, and the data have been transcribed and analyzed using conversation analysis (CA) conventions. In the data for this study, we have excerpted three co-writing processes with three different focus tandem dyads. These processes comprise 16–19 minutes each, altogether 53 minutes, which have been coded for analysis. The data were coded with a focus on sequences where tandem partners orient to and topicalize language versus content. These sequences were analyzed with focus on how the tandem partners take initiative to and responsibility for producing the text (RQ1), and with account to which partner (L1/L2) initiates the topicalizations and how these topicalizations emerge in the virtual learning environment (RQ2).
The preliminary results do not show any specific interaction patterns characterizing co-writing processes as a whole. Instead, characteristics from different interaction patterns emerge sequentially within one co-writing process ‒ some sequences are characterized by a collaborative pattern and other sequences by a non-collaborative pattern. The diversity of characteristics from different patterns varies between the analyzed processes. Similarly to face-to-face classroom tandem (Hansell & Pörn 2016), the L2 partner in eClassroom tandem takes main responsibility for writing on the computer. The virtual learning environment with shared documents also enable the L1 partner to participate in the writing by typing simultaneously with the L2 partner. However, in the analyzed data this is only done to correct minor errors. Both partners initiate and take responsibility for both language and content, even though the L2 partner is always responsible for writing down new content. The use of the virtual learning environment and digital resources varies between the tandem dyads, affecting also the dynamics of their collaboration and patterns of interaction. For example, if a tandem dyad does not have the Skype window open parallel to the shared document, they cannot see each other and thus only communicate verbally. This can entail a less diversified interaction pattern where the L1 partner’s role is reduced to that of a language support. Besides shared documents and Skype, students also use other digital resources, for example online dictionaries, both on the computer and on their mobile phones that they show to each other through Skype. Collaborative interaction patterns and co-writing have shown to enhance language learning (Watanabe & Swain 2007). This study shows that the virtual learning environment in eClassroom tandem facilitates collaborative L2‒L1 co-writing, but that the extent of this collaboration is influenced by the functional use of digital resources and by individual differences.
Boyd, Sally, and Åsa Palviainen. 2015. “Building Walls or Bridges? A Language Ideological Debate about Bilingual Schools in Finland.” In Language Policies in Finland and Sweden. Interdisciplinary and Multi-Sited Comparisons, edited by Mia Halonen, Pasi Ihalainen and Taina Saarinen, 57–89. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Brammerts, Helmut (2001). Autonomes Sprachenlernen im Tandem: Entwicklung eines Konzepts. In: Brammerts, Helmut & Kleppin, Karin (Hrsg.). Selbstgesteuertes Sprachenlernen im Tandem. Ein Handbuch. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 9-16. Doehler, Simona Pekarek. 2010. “Conceptual Changes and Methodological Challenges: On Language and Learning from a Conversation Analytic Perspective on SLA.” In Conceptualising “Learning” in Applied Linguistics, edited by P. Seedhouse, S. Walsh and C. Jenks, 105–126. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Enfield, Nicolas J., and Stephen C. Levinson, eds. 2006. Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition, and Interaction. Oxford, UK: Berg. Hansell, Katri, and Michaela Pörn. 2016. “Tandempar skriver tillsammans – Interaktionsmönster i gemensamma skrivprocesser.” Nordand – Nordisk tidsskrift for andrespråksforskning 11 (1): 93–117. Karjalainen, Katri, Michaela Pörn, Fredrik Rusk, and Linda Björkskog. 2013. “Classroom Tandem – Outlining a Model for Language Learning and Instruction.” International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education (IEJEE) 6 (1): 165–184. Nuolijärvi, Pirkko. 2013. “Suomen ja ruotsin kielen asema ja kieliolojen seuranta Suomessa.” In Kaksikielinen koulu: Tulevaisuuden monikielinen Suomi. Tvåspråkig skola: ett flerspråkigt Finland i framtiden, edited by L. Tainio and H. Harju-Luukkainen, 23–46. Kasvatusalan tutkimuksia 62. Jyväskylä: Suomen kasvatustieteellinen seura. Pörn, Michaela & Hansell, Katri. 2017. The teacher's role in supporting two-way language learning in classroom tandem. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Seedhouse, Paul, and Steve Walsh. 2010. “Learning a Second Language through Classroom Interaction.” In Conceptualising ‘Learning’ in Applied Linguistics, edited by P. Seedhouse, S. Walsh and C. Jenks, 127–146. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Storch, Neomy 2002: Patterns of Interaction in ESL Pair Work. Language Learning, 52(1), 119–158. Watanabe, Yuko & Merrill Swain 2007: Effects of proficiency differences and patterns of pair interaction on second language learning: collaborative dialogue between adult ESL learners. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 121–142.
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