Publication Details

Gao, X., & Shi, L. (2023). Interactions in Online versus face-to-face classes: Students’ and teachers’ perceptions. International Journal of Chinese Language Teaching, 4(3), 76-93.


The Interaction Hypothesis emphasizes the significance of face-to-face interactions in language proficiency development. However, the global transition to online education prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to education, including the teaching of Chinese as a second/foreign language (CSL/CFL). Anecdotal evidence indicates a decline in both the quality and opportunities for interactions in online classes compared to traditional face-to-face (F2F) classrooms. However, research on the differences in the perspectives of students and teachers regarding this issue is relatively limited. To fill this gap, this study compared the perspectives of students and teachers regarding teacher-student and peer-to-peer interactions in online versus F2F CFL classrooms. Participants were CFL learners and their teachers at a university in Australia. Thematic analysis of the data collected from online surveys and interviews revealed a consensus among students and teachers on the importance of promoting interactions regardless of the delivery mode. However, students expressed a preference for F2F interactions, citing reduced motivation and fewer opportunities for interaction in online classes. Notably, students indicated a preference for interacting with teachers rather than peers during synchronous online sessions. The differences were attributed to multiple factors including a sense of community, interaction opportunities, engagement strategies, individual differences, and technological constraints. The results underscore the pivotal role of building social connections in language learning. The findings provide valuable insights into technology-enhanced language education from the perspectives of both students and teachers. This study contributes to the field of interaction studies in second language education and offers practical implications for addressing the challenges posed by the transition to online learning.



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