Student perceptions of student interaction in a British EFL setting

It is qualitative research which sheds light on the feedback of participants and concludes based on the results of the analysis.

The fundamental objective of this research is to determine the perceptions as according to the definition adopted by Barkhuizen (1998). His definition connotes perception as an interaction of three actions. expressing one’s feelings, forming a judgment and making a prediction. Bialystok and Hakuta (1994) also call their attention on perception as the interaction of the above three processes. Hence, this concept of perception governs the results of this investigative study.

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The study calculates the utility or “usefulness” of interacting with a partner. Being a qualitative study, the researcher has pulled together the opinions, experiences, and feelings of the individuals in order to identify the factors which affect student interactions. The by-products of the study were the gains and losses, struggles, investments, motivations and ideologies about languages of the learners/students.

“Usefulness” in this study refers to whether if individuals reap the benefit of interaction in terms of improvement in grammar, lexis, pronunciation or even if they learn something new which they did not know prior to the interaction. Although some participants were of the opinion that they sought to converse with a student who had better command over the English language than them, so they can receive better guidance or get a chance to be rectified improving their language skills. On the contrary, this was not observed and errors were not noticed or corrected. Some students believed that their language skills could only be improved by guidance from the teacher or material only. However, during my experience of teaching, I had found that students interact with those students who had better command over the English language so they get a chance to improve themselves.

Lightbown and Spada (1999) have presented a highly accessible overview of second language learning with a discussion of theories of learning and factors that affect second language learning. The author has also grouped the factors according to what the previous researchers claimed and divided the factors into three categories. Self-dependent factors, Context-dependent factors, and Other-dependent factors.

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