DO SECONDARY SECOND LANGUAGE STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM E-MAIL TANDEM PARTNER FEEDBACK?
Literature in the field of electronic Tandem language learning (eTandem) has suggested that due to the nature of eTandem exchanges (i.e., where critique is part of the task), adult eTandem partners provide each other explicit feedback (e.g., Appel, 1997; Brammerts, 1996; O’Rourke, 2005). However, research on the impact of eTandem partner feedback on the revisions of second language (L2) learners is still very limited (e.g., Little et al., 1999). In addition, very few studies (e.g., Dodd, 2001; Greenfield, 2003) have been conducted on secondary L2 learners who are relatively less mature and less competent L2 writers. This paper reports on the results of a study that investigated the degree to which English as a second language (ESL) and French as a second language (FSL) secondary school students use the feedback provided by their e-mail Tandem partners. This study involved one group of 30 French-speaking ESL students in a secondary school (Secondary 4) in Québec and two groups of English-speaking FSL students (total 30) in a secondary school (Grade 11) in Ontario. The e-mail Tandem project was integrated into the students' regular class activities. The joint reading of three articles taken from newspapers and magazines of interest to teenagers formed the basis for the e-mail discussions. The central research questions are:
(1) What types of revisions are made by ESL and FSL students?
(2) When revising their reports, do ESL and FSL students use the feedback provided by their e-mail Tandem partners?
Types of revisions were coded using a taxonomy adapted from Faigley and Witte’s (1981) taxonomy of revisions. The impact of the feedback provided by the e-mail Tandem partners on the students’ revisions was measured by comparing the first drafts of the reports, the feedback provided, and the revised drafts of their reports, as well as from answers to the end-of-project questionnaire. Additional qualitative data were obtained from the personal interviews with selected students. The presenter will highlight the major findings of the study and discuss the emergent implications for second language writing and for the application of e-mail Tandem projects to second language learning.
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