The effect of learner–learner interactions on a multiple-choice discourse completion task

Research paper by Yuan-shan Chen

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 02 Mar '16Published in: Learning, Culture and Social Interaction


This study examines the effect of learner–learner interactions on a pragmatic task—a multiple-choice discourse completion task (MDCT). Twenty intermediate-level Chinese learners of English were asked to complete two isomorphic versions of an MDCT individually and in pairs. Afterwards, focus group interviews were conducted to investigate the participants' perceptions of the interactions when doing the pair work. The data collected included the participants' MDCT performance in individual work and pair work, the audio-taped learner–learner interactions, and the interview recordings. The MDCT results showed that the scores in pair work were significantly higher than those in individual work. The analysis of the learner–learner interactions revealed that the participants focused on politeness, repair, interlocutor relationship, tone of voice, relevance, clarity and clarification. Finally, the interview protocols indicated that the participants held positive attitudes towards the learner–learner interactions. This study closes by suggesting pedagogical implications to language teachers from a sociocultural perspective.