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Collaborative Dialogue and Second Language Learning

This talk will focus on our recent research designed to explore the role of collaborative dialogue in second language learning.

Collaborative dialogue is dialogue in which speakers are engaged in problem-solving and knowledge-building – in this case, solving linguistic problems and building knowledge about language. Our research has been conducted, in part, to demonstrate that collaborative dialogue provides opportunities for second language learning. The theoretical rationale for this expectation is based on the work of Vygotsky and others who argue that individual mental resources develop from collective behaviour.

These points will be illustrated with extended examples of students’ dialogue taken from a series of task-based studies we have recently conducted. The dialogue of students as they write a story, receive feedback about the language they used to write their story, and as they reflect on that feedback will be examined, and related to their post-test performance.

Although the second language learners discussed in this talk are students in grades 7 and 8 French immersion classes, there are implications of the research which are relevant to the teaching of adult learners in ESL and EFL learning contexts. These include issues about the use of pair work; the significant roles language production plays in second language learning; and the importance of learner agency and its connection with feedback.


Professor Merrill Swain | talks | www


Date and Time:

16 November 2004 at 4:15 pm


1 hour



Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Dundee
+44 1382 34 45 36

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Additional Information:

The talk will take place in T9, Tower Block of the University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4HN. Visitors from outside the University are asked to e-mail to book one of the limited places available. Please e-mail: c.r.hall@dundee.ac.uk. Further information is available at: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/languagestudies/Lecturesseminars.htm

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