Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Rhonda Oliver


This research involves an examination of the effects that familiarity with a task may have on the way young ESL children negotiate for meaning, and provide and use implicit negative feedback to each other. The focus of this research is the interactions that occur between pairs of young primary school children between the ages of 7.0 to 8.6 years. Two studies were carried out. The first study investigated the effect of familiarity with a type of task, whilst the second examined the effects of familiarity with the content (or subject domain). A stratified random sampling procedure was used to select 40 ESL children (20 girls and 20 boys) from a primary school in Perth, Western Australia. Strategies of negotiation (as outlined by Long, 1983), and patterns of interaction (as outlined by Oliver, 1995b, 2000) were used to analyse the interactions between the children after having worked through two different types of tasks, a one way task and a two way task for each study. Half the tasks were made familiar (i.e., either type or content) to the children, while the other half were kept unfamiliar. Results from the studies suggest that familiarity has a significant effect on the way children negotiate for meaning, and their provision and use of implicit negative feedback. The frequency of negotiation and the provision of implicit negative feedback increases when working on unfamiliar tasks. However, only the familiar dyads were able to use a substantial proportion of this feedback when it was provided to them.

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