Author Topic: Condition 7: Learners Work in an Atmosphere with an Ideal Stress/Anxiety Level  (Read 8255 times)

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Julieta

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In this area, we believe that the use of CMC could have both negative and positive consequences.

Where technology is involved, some level of frustration/anxiety can be expected for two main reasons. First, it is a well known fact that technology seems to malfunction at the worst possible moment, frustration and anger for the user being inevitable (who hasn’t had a strong desire to bang the keyboard against the desk when a twenty-some-page paper suddenly vanishes into thin cyberspace >:(). Second, technology could create tensions among classmates, between those who are more tech-savvy and those (like us) who are still struggling to understand what the heck is going on :o  ???. Moreover, in many countries, access to technology –and thus previous exposure to technologies used in the classroom –is in direct relation to the economic status of the student's family, with subsequent embarrassment for those who do not know how to use the technology in the classroom.

On the other hand, depending on the type of technology being used, CMC could have a very positive effect in terms of reducing students' nervousness when having to hold a one to one, face to face conversation. Students might find that they are holding a more "private," and individualized conversation :-[.   

Yesun and Julie

Offline shanson1

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I also thought that computers could encourage students to be too relaxed, particularly if the technology is not new to them.  A lot of people become sloppy in their typing (like not using punctuation, not capitalizing words, using lots of acronyms and abbreviations), so in some situations the use of technology might have a stress/anxiety level that is too low or casual.
Stephanie

Offline Penny

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I think most of the programs used for CMC are not so hard to learn. As far as I am concerned, I feel more comfortable and relaxed in a computer-mediated instruction class.  :)

jinongster

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Thank you gals for your posting. However, I "respectfully disagree" with what you said about the "anxiety" level of using technology. Well, it's true that the tech can go wrong at the worst moment (I'm speaking from experience!) and not all countries have optimal infrastructure for implementing CMC. However, some students' not being computer-savvy doesn't really have to be a problemt in terms of creating tenstions among students. A lot of researchers are saying that there are generally two main problems that learners face in CMC environment; teachnology-related problems (like you are concerned with), and linguistic challenge. Very interestingly, both of these problems turned out to generate more negotiation for meaning among students. Learners were found to be helping each other to go through their mutual trouble and this is the very moment when the learners are engaged in the "real" communication. Morever, the kinds of technology used in CMC classes are not that sophisticated in general. They are emails, instant messages, and surfing on the web, at best, which are done pretty often in everyday life of the students.  ;D

Lisa

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Agreeing with all the above,
I would like to add to the pro side
that even though they could get sloppy with their typing, punctuation, spelling, etc.
if they are involved in chatting the pressure would be on to communicate quickly.  sometimes I can't keep up with chatting in my L1!!! so I know it would be challenging and have a good amount of anxiety in an L2 but I would categorize that as helpful anxiety that would push the learner to perform.
plus chats can be saved and reviewed later either by the teacher to check for accuracy or by the student to follow up on parts they didn't understand

Offline Pelin

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I agree with Yesun and Julie about the positive and negative consequences of CMC learning environments. However, I believe that the teacher can be really helpful to reduce the negative sides and dominate the positiveness of it as much as possible. If a student  has not been encountered with computer or any kind of technology used in the classroom yet, she can be guided by the teacher or somebody else at the school in a group or personally if necessary so that the debilitative level of anxiety or stress, due to the lack of literacy in technology, can be controlled. I have the experience in that as I am teaching in a technology university. When I help the students learn about the programmes, mailgrroups or everything we use on our laptops in the classroom, they get more relaxed in our CMC classroom environment.
On the other hand, I also believe that some anxiety or stress in a facilitative level is really necessary in language learning environment in order to make students more motivated, alert and ready to study and work on tasks.
This is valid for CMC teaching and learning environment as well to push the students to receive what is being taught. In short, the level of anxiety and stress should be balanced.

Pelin

Offline elcin

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Actually the term “ideal” for stress/anxiety level is closely related to the conditiones which you are in. It is clear that there are both negative and positive sides of communicating with people through the internet. On one side some people may feel relaxed as they refrain from making mistakes which they think to be embrassing in face to face interaction; so high anxiety will not be a challenging problem for them. On the other hand, some others may feel more stressed when they are not able to convey the picture which they draw in their minds to the receiver. This will cause high anxiety/stress in these kind of people who are more successful in transfering what they want to with the help of “body language”. Can the role of body language in communication be ignored ? ???

Offline Mete

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Technology can   fail sometimes, but the amount of which is up to the users. That is to say, with proper backups it is not a nightmare if you lose your data at that moment. So, this can overcome some bit of the technology apprehension.

However, while i agree with Julieta where she says that tech-savy students do have better chances to put up good works and create a tension on other students -for example like the slow typers - I feel jinongster's point in saying that these tech-savy students can help the others suits my opinions more.

The computer infrastucture is of course a big problem to mention. So, when we all talk about these matters, we are all aware of the fact that not every country has the same opportunities of having the same amount of technology, and writing our opinions about CMC keeping this fact in mind, and considering ideal situations where computers and the internet are readily available.

And of course we know that some stress is necessary for learning. CMC cannot remove all the anxiety from our students, but can remove some bits of the undesired stress -like face-to-face communication apprehension- from our students.

Offline hatime

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Although it is a fact that technology isn't the same in all countries or all the learners don't have the familiarity with it, I think having basic knowledge of technology is enough for CMC, as jinongster mentioned. That's why, the leraners won't have a high level of anxiety or stress. Moreover, because of the ease by technology, I think the learners will feel more eager to do the task. It seems nice to learn through videos, internet, e-mails, chatrooms which will serve the learners with different abilities.... ;)

Hatime

Offline Ali Fuad

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... and god created the undo button!!

i believe that thru successfully designed and implemented CMC, learners' anxiety level especially the debilitating factors anxiety could be minimized to a managable level. however, as mentioned above, the computer and computer applications could itself be a source of debiliating anxiety for some and at that point, the teacher/instructor has a prominent role in both designing a learner-centered teaching-learining environment and close interaction with technology that would both help students to limit their stress in optimal level.

in terms of learners' work in a CMC setting, the aspect of reproducibility is the crux. there is always a new beginning, there is always an ongoing editing (self-correction) process and so forth. such a perspective should be viewed as a PLUS on the side of learners. and of course, it is the teacher/instructor's responsibility to help students to gain awareness about these points.

Offline banu

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Hi Everyone,

I am also quite experienced with tech-driven anxiety :( but they can never keep me back from dealing with it ;D. By the way, the tools that we want to use for our students are not likely to cause such stress themselves. Because most of them designed userfriendly.
I think the most stressful event in using CMC would be the situation of communicating with the speaker of target language though which cannot be called  stressful but exciting.and this excitement cannot be preferred to the monotonous pace of the classroom just because of some (less) possible technical problems which can be prevented, I think.

P.S.Maybe this insecure side of technology may help learners to be more cautious persons.