Gender pairings in EFL child task-based interaction
Keywords:gender pairings, young learners, language related episodes, task-based interaction, English as a foreign language
Few studies have tackled gender differences in second language (L2) interaction, and particularly, the effect of gender pairings on learning opportunities operationalized as Language Related Episodes (LREs) has been scarcely looked into (see Azkarai, 2015b; Azkarai & García-Mayo, 2012; Ross-Feldman, 2005, 2007). Additionally, these studies have targeted adult L2 learners and to our knowledge, no studies so far have been conducted with children. This paper will try to fill these gaps by analysing the effect of gender pairings on the occurrence, nature and resolution of LREs in a storytelling task performed by 10-12-year-old children. More specifically, it explores whether there are any differences between same-gender and gender-mismatched dyads, and between same-gender dyads (male-male vs female-female). Results show that type of pairing affects LRE production and resolution as more LREs were initiated and resolved in matched-gender dyads than in mixed-gender dyads. However, gender-pairing did not influence the outcome of the resolution, as a still low rate of targetlikeness was obtained in mixed- and matched-gender dyads. Additionally, no statistically significant differences were obtained between same-gender dyads, but female-female dyads were found to be more concerned with getting the message across and oriented to higher accuracy in the resolutions of meaning-related episodes.
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