Volume 21 Number 2

Peer interaction in text chat: Qualitative analysis of chat transcripts
Ewa M. Golonka
Medha Tare
Carrie Bonilla

Prior research has shown that intermediate-level adult learners of Russian who worked interactively with partners using text chat improved their vocabulary and oral production skills more than students who worked independently (Tare et al., 2014). Drawing on the dataset from Tare et al. (2014), the current study follows up to explore the nature of the students’ (N = 25) interactions during the text chat activities to determine potential sources of the gains. All 18 activities developed for the study encouraged interaction to complete tasks in pairs. A detailed coding of 169 text chat transcripts examined instances of peer–peer interactions. Our quantitative and qualitative analyses explored whether and to what extent real-time interactive language tasks foster the kinds of language-related moves that may support greater language learning. Results show that students spontaneously engaged in various behaviors which may support language learning, such as providing language-related assistance (self- and peer-correction, negotiation for meaning), using their partner as a resource (for clarifying information, modeling language use, or helping with unknown vocabulary), and providing encouragement (responding positively to the task and to each other, eliciting information from a partner). The most frequent instances were of positive affect, self-correction, and partner correction.

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