The Effects of Pair Work on Learners' Writing

Sultanate of Oman & Iran, ID LLCE2016-242;      Although cooperative learning has been emphasized in L2 education and though group/pair work has been an area of interest for many years, there is still cultural misunderstanding and misconceptions about the nature of group and pair. However, Storch (2002, 2005) defines pair based on two dimensions, namely, equality and mutuality. She then introduces four patterns of dyadic interactions: Collaborative, dominant/dominant, dominant/passive, and expert/novice. This presentation is the result of a study on the effects of each type of pair work on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ written output. To this end, 64 EFL learners were served as the participants. Based on some observations and an interview with the teacher, the participants were randomly paired, were asked to do a written task as the pretest and to record their own voices while cooperating. The recorded voices were transcribed and encoded in terms of the measurements of equality (time at talk, interruptions, frequency of suggestions, suggestion types, and mitigation strategies) and mutuality (the number of feedback). Based on the results of these measurements, newly formed pairs were formed and assigned to each of the four patterns mentioned. They were followed while working in their respective pairs for 10 sessions. Then, they were given another writing task as the posttest to be performed individually. Four paired sample t-tests and one repeated measure ANOVA were conducted. The results indicated that collaborative and expert/novice pairs did significantly improve the participants’ written performance whereas dominant/dominant and dominant/passive pairs could not bring about such results. The results confirm the previous findings. Based on the findings, it is argued that the extent of pairs’ contribution and involvement in a dyadic interaction is what matters most which is a cultural issue as they are more influential than other factors in group work or pair work especially when it comes to transferring knowledge from one individual to another.

Keywords: Culture, Equality, Mutuality, Dyadic interaction,