Helping Each Other: Scaffolding in Electronic Tandem Language Learning

By Sabrina Priego.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents the results of a study that examined learner scaffolding in e-mail tandem exchanges between secondary ESL and FSL students. A group of French-speaking ESL students in a secondary school in Quebec communicated by e-mail with a group of English-speaking FSL students in a secondary school in Ontario. This study was carried out following the principles of online tandem learning (Brammerts, 1996; Little et al., 1999), a form of computer-mediated communication in which two native speakers of different languages communicate with one another for the purpose of learning the other’s native language. In this type of exchange, students are asked to use the L1 and L2 in equal proportion and to correct each other’s mistakes. Drawing on a sociocultural perspective (Lantolf, 2000), this study sought to answer the following question: What strategies are employed by secondary ESL and FSL students to provide scaffolding to their e-mail tandem partners? E-mails were coded using a taxonomy adapted from Villamil and Guerrero’s (1996) taxonomy of “substrategies for providing scaffolding”. Findings showed that both ESL and FSL students provided scaffolding to one another by resorting to a variety of strategies.

Keywords: Scaffolding, Tandem Language Learning, Computer-mediated Communication

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.133-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 927.096KB).

Dr. Sabrina Priego

Lecturer, Département de langues, linguistique et traduction, Université Laval, Quebec, Quebec, Canada

Sabrina Priego obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics at Université Laval in Québec, Canada. She currently teaches undergraduate courses in second language acquisition and ESL teaching methodology. Her research interests include Vygotsky-inspired sociocultural theory, computer-mediated communication, corrective feedback, and e-Tandem learning.

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