Input modality in oral peer interactionsinstructional conditions in the german as a foreign language classroom

  1. Natalie Kirchhoff
Supervised by:
  1. Francisco Zayas Martínez Director
  2. Raúl Dávila Romero Director

Defence university: Universidad de Cádiz

Year of defence: 2021

  1. Anton Haidl Dietlmeier Chair
  2. Fernando Trujillo Sáez Secretary
  3. Paul Meyermann Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 653933 DIALNET


Peer interaction plays an important role in second language acquisition (SLA) and foreign language acquisition (FLA). At least in communicative-oriented classrooms, a learner can spend a considerable amount of time interacting with other learners. When learners engage in interaction they have the opportunity to receive comprehensible input and feedback from their interlocutors, to produce output and to modify their output in response to their interlocutors' feedback (Long, 1996; Swain, 1995). In addition, interactions allow learners to test out their hypotheses about the target language, to negotiate meaning (Long, 1996; Swain, 1995) and to notice possible gaps in their interlanguage (Schmidt & Frota, 1986). Much empirical research found evidence for the beneficial role of peer interaction in FLA and SLA (see Sato & Ballinger, 2016). Peer interaction research is frequently carried out from a cognitive-interactionist perspective. Researchers within the cognitive-interactionist approach often explore certain interactional modifications that have been proven to foster acquisition, namely negotiation for meaning, recasts, language-related episodes (LREs) and modified output (see Loewen & Sato, 2018 for a review). More recently, studies on instructed second language acquisition (ISLA) addressed peer interactions in instructional settings (see Sato & Ballinger, 2016). Studies that concentrate on classroom tasks found that task design variables such as task types (e.g. opinion gap vs. information gap), task characteristics (e.g. optional vs. required information exchange) or interaction modality (speaking vs. writing), affect the frequency of interactional modifications during peer interactions (see García-Mayo & Azkarai, 2016; Kim, 2015). This doctoral dissertation aims to contribute to the research on task design and peer interaction in ISLA, more precisely, in instructed foreign language acquisition (IFLA) (Zayas-Martínez & Estrada-Chichón, 2020). In the current study, oral peer interactions in the German as a foreign language (GFL) classroom are explored by focusing on a specific task design variable: input modality. Input modality as a task design variable which might affect interaction has received little attention in interaction research so far. In order to close this gap, a classroom-based quasi-experimental study was conducted in a GFL classroom. Two intact classes of university students learning GFL took part in this research in the academic years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. In total, 28 learners participated in this study and carried out six oral peer interaction tasks during regular class time. Two input modality conditions were created: 14 learners only received aural and visual input (i.e., pictures) during the classroom tasks, while the other 14 learners also were exposed to written input. In the tasks, learners changed their interlocutors several times with the result that they produced in total 112 dyadic interactions (n =112) in each input modality, which were 224 interactions (N = 224) as a whole. The interactions of the dyads were audio recorded, transcribed and coded for negotiation for meaning instances, recasts, LREs and modified output. The frequency of these interactional features was analysed quantitatively (ANOVA) in order to explore whether and how input modality affects oral peer interactions.