First Advisor

Marjorie S. Terdal

Term of Graduation

Spring 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




English language -- Study and teaching -- Japanese students, Interaction analysis in education, Comprehension



Physical Description

1 online resource, (108p.)


This case study examines Japanese ESL students' use of interaction modifications in a content based course. Twelve female subjects were observed and recorded during a nine week period. Their use of interaction modifications (clarification requests, confirmation checks, and comprehension checks) and responses to interaction modifications (single word, full or partial repetition, or reformulation), during teacher-fronted and small group situations, were recorded and coded using the COLT observation instrument.

The study found that the subjects used clarification requests over four times more often in small group or pair-work situations than in teacherfronted classes. Also, the subjects used confirmation checks over five times more often in small group and pair-work situations than in teacher-fronted classes. The subjects did not use comprehension checks in either teacherfronted or small group situations.

The results from the data collection were correlated with increases in Michigan Test and CELT test scores using the Spearman and Pearson correlation statistics. The results indicated that there was a significant positive correlation (Spearman correlation coefficient= 0.758568, p < 0.004) between use of interaction modifications and increase in CELT test scores, whereas there was no significant correlation between use of interaction modifications and increase in Michigan Test scores. Furthermore, no correlation was found between type of response to interaction modifications and increase in either Michigan Test or CELT test scores. Discussion of these findings centers on the roles that classroom style and Japanese socio-cultural values play in Japanese ESL students' use of interaction modifications and length of response to clarification requests and confirmation checks.


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