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Interactions Between and Among Heritage Language Learners and Second Language Learners During Collaborative Writing Activities: How Learners Attend to Language


This study investigates the dynamics in the Spanish classroom between heritage language learner (HLL) dyads, second language learner (L2L) dyads, and mixed HLL-L2L dyads. Specifically, it examines oral, written and embodied discourse that informs our understanding of how learners attend to language. Analysis for this dissertation examined 15-minute video-recordings of 16 same-sex dyads (four HLL-HLL; four L2L-L2L; eight HLL-L2L; eight female dyads and eight male dyads) taken during collaborative writing assignments in Spanish I, Spanish II, and Spanish II honors classrooms at a community college in southern California. These interactions were transcribed and analyzed using conversation analytic methods (i.e. analysis of conversation in terms of turns of talk). They were further examined in light of second language acquisition research that focuses on an interactional approach to learning. This interactional approach emphasizes the need for negotiation, noticing, hypothesis testing, and engaging in the use of metalanguage. Findings reveal that HLL-HLL and L2L-L2L dyads were more cooperative and attended to language more frequently than HLL-L2L dyads. Results also demonstrated that all three dyad types often resolved language issues accurately. Though this study argues that HLLs and L2Ls would be better served in classes that separate the two groups, it does not argue for the abandonment of the HLL-L2L dyad entirely. On the contrary, if outlines several advantages to this mixed dyad type. From these findings, several pedagogical implications are pinpointed as possible ways in which dyads can function more effectively.

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