Gender differences in cooperative computer-based foreign language tasks.
Committee ChairAriew, Robert A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study investigates the issue of gender differences in computer-based foreign language activities. The experiment, conducted at the University of Arizona in the Fall of 1992, used as subjects students (N = 60) enrolled in intermediate French classes. Students were assigned to mixed- or same-gender dyads. All dyads engaged in a French cooperative task at the computer. The software-based pre- and posttests were composed of two parts: (1) vocabulary pertaining to description of people, and (2) geographical knowledge. Gain scores indicated no significant difference in overall learning between genders and dyad types. Further analysis of subscores revealed that females outperformed males significantly (p =.02) in learning vocabulary pertaining to description of people. Males outperformed females numerically in learning geographical facts. Differences between mixed- and same-gender dyads suggest that females tend to acquiesce to male factual preferences in mixed-gender dyads. The analysis of interaction patterns at the computer revealed that females tended to share keyboard control more than males in same-gender dyads. And, males tended to use more management statements with female partners than with male partners. Results from the MBTI personality test indicated that males and females tended to have different learning profiles. The analysis of gain scores indicated that overall, NFs and NTs learned significantly more than STs. Personality profiles also showed a significant effect (p =.03) on keyboard control. EJs controlled the keyboard significantly more than the other types. Likewise, results revealed a significant effect of personalities on overall amount of talk (p =.04), management statements (p =.02), and task statements (p =.06). EJs spoke more and used more management statements than the other types when in control of the keyboard. When not in control of the keyboard, EPs and IJs spoke more than the other types. Interestingly 'non-keyboard controllers' tended to compensate for the lack of keyboard control with verbal control. The overall results of this study established that learning achievement and interaction patterns were more strongly related to personality differences than to gender differences.
Degree ProgramSecond Language Acquisition and Teaching