1. Peer interaction and learning

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This chapter investigated whether all learners benefitted from the lexical language-related episodes (LREs) produced in small group interaction, even when acting as silent observers of their peers’ collaborative work. Using a pretest-posttest design, evidence was obtained confirming that silent learners did benefit from LREs. In fact, they were almost as likely to gain new knowledge as those learners who triggered the episodes. These findings indicate that silent learners were as actively engaged with the vocabulary being discussed in the LREs as their speaking peers. Other factors, such as the length of the episode and the amount of negotiation and repetition, seemed to have a stronger influence on learning than the actual opportunities to speak. The pedagogical implications of these findings are discussed.


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