Author Topic: Condition 2: Learners Interact in the Target Language With an Authentic Audience  (Read 10017 times)

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Offline Penny

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    a.   On-line chatting with native speakers/ language learners.
         Weakness: typing message v.s oral communication
    b.   Exchange emails with native speakers, especially good between language learners who study each other’s native language as second language.
          But teachers might need to help students to get good learning partners. 
    c.   Discussion forums. Learners post their questions concerning language learning. Here is a good one:
 http://www.usingenglish.com/english_forum.html
        weakness: Some questions never get reply.
   
« Last Edit: January 30, 2006, 09:57:32 AM by Penny »

Julieta

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We agree that CMC would be the most beneficial in an EFL context, in which students and teachers share the same L1 and students are not as forced to negotiate for meaning as they would in an ESL context. According to Communicative Language Teaching theories, students learn more if they are using the L2 to participate in authentic social interaction (authentic being a key element, given that many activities in the classroom are contrived in the sense that many times they have been created with a specific teaching point in mind, mainly some grammatical structure or rule). However, the usefulness of CMC would depend on the target language skill being focused on(whether it is academic writing, speaking, grammar, etc). It is a well-known fact that even native speakers make mistakes when typing an emai, they have careless grammar and use a lot of abbreviations. Thus, the use of CMC would depend on what the teacher wants the students to accomplish. In addition, choosing "a good learning partner" is not always an easy task even if the teacher is extremely careful (445 memories of email exchange with Barcelona come back to haunt us  ;D).

Yesun and Julie

Lisa

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I thought this was one of the conditions that CMC would help the most.  Especially in an FL context when all of their classmates speak their L1 there is no truely authentic reason they should use the L2.  But by using CMC they can interact with people far away that do not speak their L1 (whether they are NS or just other learners) they will NEED to speak in the L2.  

Offline shanson1

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I agree with Lisa that this can be more authentic if the communication is with a native speaker.

Also, I am not so sure that typing vs. spoken language is a weakness.  It's good to practice all skills, so some writing and some speaking.

Stephanie

Offline chau2

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In orther word, luckily if the second language learners are communicating with native speakers because those L2 learners have chances to learn how native speakers use words to interpret the meaning they mention or L2 learners might get help from the natives speakers when they come across some term that they do not understand. At the same time L2 learners can be directly exposed to language in real norms of language from their dyads, which helps them understand the normal uses of language they are learning. 

Offline ssrun2

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Yes, CMC gives learners the opportunities to interact with the real audience but I wonder how much learners can learn from those real audiences for their language development.

Offline baburhan

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Hi...

I have just joined the forum and read most of the statements. I strongly believe that interaction in the target language with an authentic audience would enhance language proficiency. I have read an article from Michel Paradis (1977), a well-known neurolinguist. He affrims that language used beacuse of an urgent need would make permanent traces on brain and would be stored rather longer when compared to that of a fake situation (which might be a roleplay). Thus I agree with Lisa that interaction with the native speakers of the target language will provide the learner with an authentic 'objective' to communicate.
the mediocre teacher tells. the good teacher explains. the superior teacher strates. the GREAT teacher INSPIRES :)

Offline Mete

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Hi everyone!

One of the main advantages of CMC is, of course, the fact that you can really find authentic -speakers of English as L1 in case of ELT- audience. Via forums, or chat channels the learners can indeed find speakers of English, and practice their English. However, the English used in these mediums may not be the ideal English to teach, or the use of forums without a motive behind is of course so useless.

However, again, since unlike normal classroom environment, where the students find only their peers or the teacher with whom to interact, in CMC our students can really find authentic audience, and practice their English purposefully

This forum can be an example of this case. Here we- the users from Turkey- have a chance to practice our English as well.  :D

Offline isiltan

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I agree with Lisa here. In a class full of L1 speakers, CMC will provide the perfect opportunity to use L2 with authentic audience through chats, emails and video-chats.

Offline elcin

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Hello all,
I am new to this group as well and I hope we will learn from each other a lot as future (or some of us are already teaching) teachers. ;)

I would like to state that I strongly agree with what Lisa said in terms of L1 preference instead of L2 in a classical monolingual classroom setting. Even the learners in a multilingual classroom prefer using the common L2 known by everyone (English) in the class rather than the target L3 they are learning (as I witnessed). I am the one who believes that the ability to use a language exactly or nearly exactly (I mean what to say where) depends largely on communicating with the native speakers of that language. Here I  am not saying “learning of a language” because you can teach grammar perfectly to the learners but when it comes to real communication, realistic situations which tempt the individual to decide on the phrases or sentences s/he needs to able to express herself to a foreigner carry utmost importance. CMC provides a great chance for this through chats and emails (as Isıl stated as well). Therefore learners will be more willing to use the target language as they know that they are not using it “just to use!”  ::)

Offline Pelin

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While I was learning other languages and especially English, I always wanted to use it as a target language with authentic audience instead of learning the grammar in non-communicative methods in the first years. When I could use the stuff I learnt to talk to an American guy when I was 10, that have me a great pleasure and made me more interested in languages more.
Learners should be in social and purposeful interaction actively in target language with real authentic audience as much as they can. This will definitely foster language acquisition and will make them aware of what they are learning and how they can apply what they get at school into their lives and how they can use it. Then, I believe language learning will be more meaningful as language learning is not composed of only bunch of grammar rules, but there is also the best side of it, communication.

Although it is obvious that chatting can not teach the formal language a lot, I am still in favor of it as my students are learning some useful vocabulary, grammar rules and daily language through chats, which also means something for me. In addtion to that, it is also a contribution to them in that they are also learning something about the culture of the target language by communicating with authentic audience in the target language. E-mails and forums can also do the job to exchange information. I also would like to add that in CMC classroom settings, this interaction should go on under teacher's control and assistance. Otherwise, it can get out of control and becomes purposeless.

Offline hatime

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I have already observed that my students become proud of themselves when they are able to communicate with a native speaker. Since they feel that they are able to use what they have learned in L2,especially while communicating with a native speaker, it becomes more meaningful for them to learn. So, I believe CMC is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this...   

Offline Ali Fuad

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CON :
    a.   On-line chatting with native speakers/ language learners.
         Weakness: typing message v.s oral communication 

i agree with shanson1 about the type vs oral comm. typing message could be facilitating especially for the beginner-level students. they would have more time to produce the language. the only probable difficulty at this point could be upper level students with a beginner level typing skills.. :))

PRO/CON:
It is a well-known fact that even native speakers make mistakes when typing an emai, they have careless grammar and use a lot of abbreviations. Thus, the use of CMC would depend on what the teacher wants the students to accomplish.

you've a point here, that's for sure. however, i respectfully disagree becuase then things would get more complicated. i'm afraid we could ask participants to take a standardized language test in order to become a part on CMC. that does not sound plausible. all we could do is to raise the awareness of the "source" (i.e the native speakers in this sense) about this issue.

second, sometimes it is difficult to have a precise decision about the respondent's level of proficiency. for instance, you forgot the final 'l' in email in your response but it does not hinder the communication among us. it even might be regarded as a consciousness raising activity for upper level students.

that's a personal thought. as a FLL, i always loved the abbreviations that the NS used. for me, that was, is and will be fun all the time.. above all, how could the language be more authentic? :)

Julieta

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Hi Aligo, nice to meet you

Interesting comments! I think I wasn't very clear in my posting, so please let me explain  :).

I never meant for the keypals to have to take a test of register use or level of proficiency. When I refer to choosing a "good learning partner" I'm not talking about his/her language skills but attitude towards the whole exchange (I apologize, you lacked context; EIL 445 is a class that some of us took together and we discussed what happened in class and why some of us were frustrated)

In addition, I never meant to say that because NS or NNS have typos or careless grammar, e-mail shouldn't be used in the classroom. On the contrary, I also think that it is very useful. I guess my point was that the teacher should make the students aware of the fact that emails seem to have developed their own jargon and register, that would certainly be inappropriate in other contexts. And that's why I pointed out that its value depends on what the teacher wants to accomplish.  Based on previous experiences as an EFL teacher, I'm also concerned about the use of technology just for the sake of using technology. Let me give you an example. Last year, I was teaching grammar and, in one of the writing assignments, one of my students produced "wanna" and "dunno." When I pointed out that that was not appropriate, he said that he used it all the time when he exchanged emails with an American friend.

Julie
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 09:30:11 AM by Julieta »

Offline Ali Fuad

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Dear Julie,

Thanks for your quick response. Let me make myself clear.. I quite agree with you in the sense that the use of CMC would depend on what the teacher wants the students to accomplish. no objections to that, however, I still respectfully disagree that
different (or inappropriate or unwanted) jargon that people use would cause a problem. it might cause problem for the beginning level students but for the upper level students, there might be a class or two devoted to various authentic but non-standard usages of langauge. after all, they should know the when to use the standard just like they know in certain cases, they have to use "i need" whereas in the others "i would like to kindly request"..

about the anecdote you mentioned, i really sympathize that. it is nice that student could produce "wanna" or "dunno" or "ain't" etc, but the whole point is when that person learns these forms, s/he should learn that these forms do exist and practiced by native speakers but they are not appropriate in formal use of language therefore should be replaced by "want to" or "don't know" as well. that would be the ideal situation for an advanced learner of English..

kind regards,
ali fuad..

Offline banu

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I think authentic audience not only allows learners to come across an abundance of TL but also motivate them to learn the language better as they will use that language to its native speaker.So, they already have a purpose to learn that language-to make new friends... :)