Publication Date

Fall 2019


teacher–student writing conferences; peer response; teacher–student interaction; EFL writing


Previous research has established the importance of giving and receiving feedback in students’ writing development. In the present paper, I investigate a less widely studied approach to providing feedback—the small group writing conference, which is attended by a number of students (usually four) and led by the teacher to discuss student drafts. Adapting a framework outlined in a previous study (Ching, 2014), I analyzed the interactions or relationships at work in two group conferences in an EFL (English as a foreign language) context. Findings revealed that the instructor was involved in four-fifths of all interactions, suggesting that the instructor played a prominent role in the two conferences. In contrast, interactions among student participants were limited, while the reader–writer interactions tended to be unidirectional and mediated by the instructor. It is argued that the teacher– student relationship in the small group conference can be usefully conceptualized as a continuum with teacher authority and student autonomy at the two ends and that there may be an interactive relationship between the two forces. Pedagogical implications are discussed.



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