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Learner engagement in peer task-based interaction: Identifying the effect of interlocutor proficiency and task outcome

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Learner engagement in peer task-based interaction: Identifying the effect of interlocutor proficiency and task outcome

DAO, VAN PHUNG (2017) Learner engagement in peer task-based interaction: Identifying the effect of interlocutor proficiency and task outcome. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The goal of current peer interaction research is to develop an in-depth understanding of how peer task-based interaction promotes second language (L2) learning. Situated in this line of research, this dissertation investigated peer task-based interaction in light of learner engagement conceptualized as a multifaceted construct that manifests in cognitive, emotional and social dimensions. Specifically, the dissertation investigated how interlocutor proficiency and task outcome affected learner engagement in tasks during peer interaction, and whether leaner engagement in tasks was predictive of L2 question development during peer interaction.
Study 1 investigated whether learners engaged differently during peer interaction when they were paired with peers from different proficiency levels. Fifteen Vietnamese core learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) were asked to work with a peer of higher proficiency and another peer of lower proficiency. The core learners’ degree of engagement when interacting with the lower proficiency partner and a higher proficiency partner was compared. The results revealed that the core learners showed greater cognitive and social engagement as reflected in their behavior. The core learners also reported greater emotional engagement when working with higher proficiency partners, although their preferences did not show explicitly in their interaction.
Study 2 examined the impact of task outcome on learner engagement. This study compared learner engagement in the tasks that have convergent outcome as opposed to divergent outcome. A convergent task was the one that required learners to agree on an outcome whereas a divergent task did not have this requirement. The degree of learner engagement between the two tasks was compared to determine whether task outcome affected how learners engaged in tasks during peer interaction. The results showed that learners demonstrated greater cognitive and social engagement in the convergent task than the divergent task. Their emotional engagement in both tasks was not significantly different.
Different from Study 1 and Study 2, the last study in this dissertation set out to make a link between learner engagement and L2 question development. Twenty-seven learners carried out five tasks that were designed to elicit L2 questions. A logistic regression was conducted to establish whether learner engagement was predictive of L2 question development, which was operationalized as a stage increase in Pienemann and Johnston’s (1987) development sequence of question formation. The predictor variables included in this logistic regression were cognitive, emotional and social engagement operationalized as question idea units, laugh episodes, and instances of responsiveness, respectively. The results revealed that only cognitive engagement was a significant predictor of L2 question development.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:DAO, VAN PHUNG
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Education
Date:1 June 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):McDonough, Kim
ID Code:982862
Deposited By: VAN PHUNG DAO
Deposited On:08 Nov 2017 21:32
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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