Heritage Spanish Speakers’ Writing Development: Online vs. In-Person Peer-Tutoring Interventions
Keywords:heritage spanish, peer-tutoring, academic writing, online tutoring, bilingual education
This article analyzes the writing development of heritage speakers (hs) of Spanish in an intermediate level composition course at the University of California, Davis. The data comprised 480 essays written by 80 students from two groups: one who received face-to-face peer tutoring before the covid-19 pandemic (Fall 2019), and one who received online tutoring during the pandemic (Fall 2020). These data were analyzed in terms of lexical richness as measured by (a) lexical density, (b) lexical sophistication, and (c) lexical variation in both in-person and online settings. Findings revealed that lexical density and lexical sophistication were similar in both groups. However, the online group had higher levels of lexical variation throughout their essays. We conclude that online tutoring is an effective alternative to face-to-face tutoring, showing no disadvantages in terms of students’ lexical richness and offering a significant advantage with respect to lexical variation. Finally, we offer suggestions for hs tutor training in an online setting.
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