Volume 15 Number 1

Jack Bower, Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University
Satomi Kawaguchi, University of Western Sydney

This paper presents a comparative analysis of corrective feedback provided by participants in an eTandem interaction between university students in Japan and Australia who were learning each other’s language. Corrective feedback provided to tandem partners during interaction via text-based Synchronous Computer Mediated Communication (SCMC) is compared to corrective feedback provided to tandem partners post-chat utilizing logs of the chat interaction. Results show that implicit corrective feedback on NNS errors occurred in the text-based SCMC interaction but not frequently. On the other hand, negotiation of meaning occurred most often to overcome communication problems during chat exchange rather than in direct relation to errors. This is a crucial element for L2 development since the learner finds himself/herself in the sort of context that allows for recognition of developmental gaps. Further, explicit corrective feedback utilizing conversation logs and exchanged by email achieved high rates of correction both in English and Japanese sessions. The strategy of sending post-chat corrective feedback is shown to be an effective eTandem language learning strategy providing learners with opportunities to focus on form in their L2.
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Margarita Vinagre, Autónoma University of Madrid
Beatriz Muñoz, University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer

Recent studies illustrate the potential that intercultural telecollaborative exchanges entail for language development through the use of corrective feedback from collaborating partners (Kessler, 2009; Lee, 2008; Sauro, 2009; Ware & O’Dowd, 2008).

We build on this growing body of research by presenting the findings of a three-month-long research project that explored the impact of peer feedback on the development of learner accuracy. Our aim was to study participants’ attention to form and the relative effectiveness of error correction strategies. In order to do so, we organised an e-mail exchange between seventeen post-secondary learners of Spanish and German. Data consist of exchanges between the five dyads who completed the full three-month project. As suggested by Vinagre and Lera (2008), analysis of these data indicate that despite frequent use of error correction, the use of remediation led to a higher percentage of errors recycled and was more conducive to error recycling in later language production.
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Kaori Kabata, University of Alberta
Yasuyo Edasawa, Doshisha Women’s College

Patterns of students’ language learning were examined through an asynchronous cross-cultural bilingual communication project conducted between Japanese university students learning English and Canadian university students learning Japanese. Previous studies on cross-cultural communication projects have reported positive outcomes in providing learners with opportunities for cultural and language learning. However, very few, if any, investigated whether a meaning-focused communication project like ours provides similar opportunities for language learning, and if so, what kind of language learning takes place. With focus on Canadian students’ learning of Japanese, the present study addressed these questions through analyses of students’ logs and message texts. The results indicated that students have opportunities for all aspects of language learning, including vocabulary, kanji, grammar, and phrase/sentential expressions. However, it was also found that the amount and type of incidental learning may depend on the students’ proficiency level. Explicit corrections are noticed but often not understood unless clear explanations are given. We suggest these kinds of communication projects might further promote incidental learning opportunities by better understanding the proficiency levels of the other’s second language, as well as by more and better incorporation of clear error corrections possibly accompanied by metalinguistic explanations.
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Yu-Feng (Diana) Yang, National Sun Yat-Sen University

This qualitative study aims to understand how English learners interpret shared space in an online multilateral English blogging context and how their interpretations of shared space contribute to their multilateral exchange experience. Twenty-four Asian learners of English from two different universities—one in Japan and one in Taiwan—participated in this study. These learners worked on their individual blogs and interacted on both their own blogs and on those of their partners. Data sources include surveys, online interaction records, class assignments, reflective journals, and interviews.

Guided by Kramsch’s (2009c) analogy of the mindsets of the structuralist and post-structuralist approaches in culture and communication, this study reported that students in this multilateral English blogging project interpreted shared space from two perspectives (a) commonality, and (b) relativity. While students who interpreted shared space from the perspective of commonality valued pre-existing shared personal interests, mutual understanding, and similar personal experiences as a prerequisite for inter-class blogging, students who interpreted shared space from the perspective of relativity tended to draw relative positions from a dialogue between their and their inter-class peers’ historicity or cultural memories through re-contextualization and re-positioning. This study suggests that although students who interpreted shared space from the commonality perspective were able to engage in inter-class blogging, they faced difficulties in exploring other possibilities in relating to the blog content, the blog discussions, and the bloggers, when commonality was absent. However, for students who interpreted shared space from the relativity perspective, they were able to form relationships of possibility in mediating encounters through uses of heterogeneous semiotic resources. Future research on what barriers can hinder students’ development due to interpretation of shared space and how students develop uses of symbolic resources can contribute to understanding students’ construction of shared space for communication.
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Ursula Stickler, The Open University
Martina Emke, b.i.b. International College

The European Union funded LITERALIA project connected adult language learners from four countries with the help of an online workspace and supported visits. The project was based on Tandem principles, whereby learners of different languages support one another in learning one another’s language and culture, in turn taking on the roles of learners and expert informants. This article analyses project participants’ intercultural learning and shows their development of intercultural maturity online. Qualitative data collected through observation, feedback and interviews are analysed and used to present a description of adults’ experiences in intercultural learning.
The study focuses on adult learning, drawing in particular on Mezirow’s concept of “perspective transformation” (Mezirow, 1981), a concept applied to intercultural experiences by Taylor (1994). Three different models of intercultural learning—all of them multidimensional and multifaceted—have influenced our research: (a) intercultural competency (Taylor, 1994); (b) intercultural communicative competence (Byram, 1997); and (c) intercultural maturity (King & Baxter Magolda, 2005). However, few studies have been conducted in this area that integrate online interaction in non-formal learning settings as our study attempts.
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