EXPLORING PEER PERCEPTIONS OF MIXED-AGE PEER INTERACTIONS IN MIXED-AGE SECONDARY SCHOOL EFL CLASSROOMS IN GERMANY

Tomas Kos

Abstract


Research on peer interaction has shown that how peers perceive one another plays a role in how they interact with one another during classroom tasks, thus influencing their pair dynamics and learning. This study investigated peer interactions in three mixed-age English as a foreign language (EFL) secondary school classrooms in Germany. Mixed-age is increasingly used, but is under-researched in language classrooms. Ten mixed-age pairs worked together on ten regular classroom tasks which were audio-recorded. After the unit of work, individual interviews were conducted in order to elicit learners’ perceptions of their interactions. The findings suggest that rather than perceptions of differing ages, it is the relationship among peers, perceptions of the partner’s proficiency and learners’ goals which greatly contribute to positive perceptions of learners’ interactions and impact on how peers interact with one another. However, findings also reveal traces of elder learners exercising authority and control over their younger partners.

 

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mixed-age peer interaction; peer perceptions; EFL; classroom tasks; sociocultural theory

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References


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