Whole-Class and Peer Interaction in an Activity of Writing and Revision

Part of the Studies in Writing book series (STUW, volume 15)


The perspective of situated cognition provides a conceptual framework for studying social mediation in activities of text production. The investigation presented here concerns two forms of social mediation: (1) whole-class interactions that prepare the students for drafting and revising their texts; (2) peer interactions occurring when dyads engage in joint revision of their drafts. The data collected in three fifth-grade classrooms include observations of whole-class interactions, recordings of dyadic interactions and classifications of text transformations that students carried out during individual and joint phases of revision. The analyses examine the relationships between qualitative indicators of interaction dynamics and quantitative data on text transformations. The findings show that differences in the whole-class interactions are reflected in the students’ revisions particularly with respect to the degree of rewriting that they undertake, as compared to simple error correction. Although analysis of the dyadic interactions reveals important variations in the dynamics of the exchanges, two general findings emerge. In the large majority of cases, the activity of joint revision leads to a substantial increase in the number of text transformations, beyond those made by each author individually. Even in cases where no new transformations occur, the authors engage actively in interaction about revision (e.g., they propose revisions of the other student’s text, explain revisions made individually to their own text, argue against proposals of the other student, etc.). Implications of the results for future research on writing instruction are discussed.


Social mediation whole-class interaction peer interaction revision writing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GenevaGeneva

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