10. A focus on mode

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Research on pair and small group work has shown that collaborative writing tasks generally encourage learners to focus on language. However, some studies (e.g., Storch 2002) have also shown that patterns of interaction during collaborative writing tasks affect the quantity and quality of learners’ attention to language and ultimately language learning. The study reported in this chapter compared patterns of interaction of the same pairs of intermediate ESL learners completing a collaborative writing task in a face-to-face and a computer-mediated mode (Google Docs). The study found that mode had an impact on patterns of interaction and attention to language. Learners were more likely to collaborate in the face-to-face mode and to cooperate in the computer-mediated mode. It was only when learners collaborated, that they engaged extensively in deliberations about language.


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