Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2589-2053
  • E-ISSN: 2589-207x
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This study investigated how effective four tasks were in supporting meaningful spoken language production between young learners and their teachers. The context of the study, online one-to-one lessons, is commonplace but largely unresearched. Transcripts from seventeen teacher-student dyads using four tasks were analysed using conversation analysis. These were then coded and the number of instances of meaningful communication counted. The number of instances of pushed output and negotiation of meaning were also noted. The most successful task was an open opinion-gap task, which motivated the young learners. Crucially, the task outcome (a plan of a shopping centre) allowed learners to check their teachers had understood them. Teacher misunderstandings gave learners opportunities to take control of the discourse and negotiate meaning. Aspects of task design which impeded meaningful communication included sentence stems, which resulted in drill-like interactions. Task topics familiar to learners but unfamiliar to teachers hindered meaningful communication. Also, tasks located near the end of a lesson sequence tended to result in less meaningful communication than those nearer the start.


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