Term

Spring 5-9-2016

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAESL

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Suzanne McCurdy

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Hywel Evans

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Chris Magor

Abstract

Many English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers believe that their students should be speaking only English in the classroom; that this will enhance and better their language learning. This study explores the differences in students’ writing between two groups: one that uses only the L2 (English) to collaborate during a pre-writing task, and the second that uses the L2 along with L1 support (English with Japanese support). The question of the study is this: How does the use of L1 as a cognitive tool effect the written L2 output of students working collaboratively compared to the exclusive use of L2 during collaboration? Key influences in this study included students, fellow educators, and authors such as Butzkamm, Cook, Lantolf, Macaro, and Vygotsky. This study was carried out in a Japanese university classroom with 45 participants, and found significantly better written outcomes for students who were able to collaborate in their L1 allowing access their L1 cognitive abilities. With this finding it is possible that teachers could find students’ L1 as a useful tool in EFL education.

Research Methodology

Case Study

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