The impact of individual learner characteristics and synchronous computer-mediated communication on language production in learners of English
Hyunok Ahn, The University of Arizona, United States
The University of Arizona . Awarded
As computer technology advances rapidly in the past decades, incorporating computer technology into classroom teaching has been popular, especially in the area of foreign language education because of its potential benefits. Among computer technology, computer mediated communication (henceforth, CMC) is widely used in language classrooms for its benefits, for example, more equal participation, a less stressful learning environment, and increased output (Chun, 1998; Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996). In addition, due to the hybrid nature of CMC, learners are allowed to have more time to process input, monitor and edit output (Kelm, 1992; Warschauer, 1996) resulting in more accurate and complex language production compared to face-to-face conversation. (Beauvois, 1992, 1995; Kern, 1995; Pellettieri, 2000; Sotillo, 2000; Warschauer, 1995, 1996). Several studies examined another benefits of CMC - the development of oral proficiency (Abrams, 2003; Beauvois, 1998b; Payne & Whitney, 2002; Kost, 2004); however, the results of these studies are consistent, suggesting that oral proficiency may be enhanced by synchronous online discussion.
Instead of investigating whether synchronous CMC is beneficial for all students, the present study aims to investigate the extent to which the factors such as personality types, amount of participation and previous experience using chat contribute most to the development of oral skills. That is, the present study focuses on individual, affective variables that could affect the effects of CMC on spoken language development among beginning learners of English. Employing a pre and post one-group comparison design, 16 students participated in the study and their oral skills were measure by two interviews and the interviews were scored by a native speaker informant and the researcher based on the scoring rubric that was adopted from the previous study (Payne & Whitney, 2002). The results of repeated measures ANOVA revealed none of factors identified in the study were statistically significant. The results, however, should be interpreted that the use of CMC in language classroom does not disservice any group of students with a specific personality type or previous experience using chat. With numerous benefits known, chatting remains a valuable pedagogical tool to promote second language learning.
Ahn, H. The impact of individual learner characteristics and synchronous computer-mediated communication on language production in learners of English. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Arizona.
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