Collaborative knowledge co-construction about an English article system
Pair work and group work are widely researched in the field of second-language education and there has been considerable focus on exploring their effectiveness and the nature of learning they represent within the Vygotskian sociocultural theoretical framework. However, there is little consensus about how learners solve problems together and what influence such experiences have on their linguistic knowledge, particularly in grammar-focused tasks with a special focus on complex linguistic items. This paper describes a case study which explores the impact of collaborative dialogue on learners’ joint performance and their understanding of the English article system. The results show that collaboration helps the learners’ joint performance by providing them with chances to pool their linguistic knowledge, particularly with the use of their first language for context comprehension as a basis for article selection. However, the results also suggest that such interactions do not always have a positive impact on individuals’ understanding of the article system, leaving some of the questions raised during interaction unsolved. From those results, the current paper notes the importance of establishing an appropriate learning condition with the aim of maximising the learning opportunities collaborative work generates.
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