Exploring Singapore Primary School Students' Perceptions of Chinese Asynchronous Online Discussions
New Horizons in Education Volume 56, Number 1, ISSN 1683-1381
Background: Asynchronous online discussion (AOD) has found widespread use in tertiary education and adult learning environment; however, there has been little research on its use in elementary school, especially in the context of the teaching of the Chinese Language. This study explores the use of AOD in a Chinese Language class in a primary school in Singapore. Aims: To investigate: (1) The perceptions of elementary students toward the use of AOD in the learning of the Chinese Language; (2) The factors perceived by students that would encourage them to participate more in the AOD; (3) If students perceived that using AOD could help them improve their Chinese writing and reading abilities; and (4) If students perceived that they thought more in AOD as compared to face-to-face interactions with their classmates, or classroom teaching by the teacher in the learning of the Chinese Language. Sample: A class of 29 primary four students (n=29, 8 boys and 21 girls) with ages between 9-10 years old in Singapore. Method: A qualitative case study methodology was employed. This approach was suitable given that the key purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of students' perceptions towards using AOD in an elementary school Chinese language lesson, rather than to make generalizations or prove/disprove underlying hypotheses. Data collection methods included the use of questionnaire and interviews. Results: Students were generally positive about the use of AOD in the learning of the Chinese Language and felt that their reading and writing abilities had improved. Students perceived that the following factors "if in existence" would encourage them to participate more in the online discussion activities: the posting of the messages (e.g., submitting the messages to the discussion board) is faster, the ability to access internet whenever they want, stronger Chinese language ability, and faster typing skills in Chinese. A majority of the students felt that they thought more in AOD as compared to face-to-face interactions with their peers or classroom teaching by their teacher. Conclusion: The findings revealed that AOD was useful in engaging the students in the learning of the Chinese Language in an elementary school. However, more research has to be done to validate this. Further research can also be done on students with lower ability in the Chinese language. (Contains 4 tables.)
Chin, W.W., Sum, C.W. & Foon, H.K. (2008). Exploring Singapore Primary School Students' Perceptions of Chinese Asynchronous Online Discussions. New Horizons in Education, 56(1), 1-13.