The role of proficiency and pair formation method in language-related episodes: A study of young CLIL learners’ interaction

Language Teaching Research

Little is known about young CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) learners’ attention to formal aspects of the target language when engaged in collaborative task-based interaction. Previous research on language-related episodes (LREs) with other populations indicates that certain variables (e.g. target language proficiency or pair formation method) may play a role in the production of LREs. This study investigates the amount, types and resolution of LREs produced by primary education CLIL learners in a collaborative picture-ordering + story-telling task depending on two variables – L2 English proficiency (grade 5 dyads vs. grade 6 dyads) and pairing method (proficiency-matched dyads vs. student self-selected dyads). Findings indicate that young CLIL learners’ interactive behaviour in L2 English, at least in terms of LRE production, does not differ as a consequence of target language proficiency, whereas pair formation method exerts some influence, self-selected pairs producing and resolving more meaning-based LREs. No differences were found for form-focused LREs.