Peer interaction in the Adult English as a Foreign language classroom : Using Social Discourse to Establish Peer Relationships

Preciado Sanchez, Ana Monica and Philp, Jenefer (2021) Peer interaction in the Adult English as a Foreign language classroom : Using Social Discourse to Establish Peer Relationships. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate how adult learners of English as a foreign language mediate language learning opportunities while working together in the classroom. Specifically, the study addresses: (i) how learners use language to create comity, which refers to the interactional talk aimed at establishing and maintaining friendly relations and positive rapport (Aston, 1988, 1993), (ii) what types of interactional patterns students create while working together (iii) how the use of social discourse offers opportunities for language learning. The study is classroom-based, and it was conducted in a university EFL classroom in Mexico for four weeks. Twenty-four learners (i.e., twelve pairs) participated in the study, and data were collected while they worked with five language tasks. The data comprise transcripts of audio-recorded pair talk, detailed observation notes, and interviews with participants. Drawing from sociocultural theory, this study examines the moment-to-moment discourse to identify social discourse moves of social inquiry, solidarity, and support and language-related episodes produced in the interactions. Findings show how learners used discourse to express and maintain support and solidarity, allowing them to engage in pair discussions to complete the language tasks. Social inquiry provided a space for students to get to know each other better, thus creating affective bonds and a feeling of trust towards the partner. The results also show that learners created four different patterns of interaction (collaborative, dominant/dominant, expert/novice, dominant/passive). The pairs predominantly established a collaborative interaction, which has been shown to be more conducive to learning (Storch, 2001, Watanabe, 2008). The findings suggest that the students who were more likely to use discourse to express support, solidarity, and engage in social inquiry, created a collaborative and expert/novice pattern of interaction. Consequently, the study shows how establishing comity in the language classroom promotes a more collaborative interaction between peers and supports learning in the context of peer interaction.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? comity, patterns of interaction, lres, classroom tasks, sociocultural theory ??
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Deposited On:
08 Dec 2021 14:11
Last Modified:
12 Dec 2023 01:07