The development of grammatical competence through synchronous computer-mediated communication
Melissa L. Fiori-Agoren, The Pennsylvania State University, United States
The Pennsylvania State University . Awarded
This study examined whether consciousness-raising (C-R) in synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) fosters grammatical development; specifically, development of por/para and ser/estar .
In order to determine the efficacy of C-R in SCMC, two groups were analyzed; one group was designated as form-and-meaning focused while the other was meaning-focused. Each group engaged in weekly chats and addressed the same discussion topics. Three pre- and post-tests (Elicited Imitation/Sentence Repetition Testing, Grammaticality Preferences Component, and oral examinations) were administered.
It was determined that: (1) there were statistically significant differences on the outcomes of the EI/SRT and GPC post-tests in favor of the FFMF group, (2) the FFMF group produced greater quantities and more accurate quantities of language, (3) the FFMF group demonstrated higher levels of syntactic maturity with statistically significant results, did not employ a default form of the copular verb, and actively engaged in corrective feedback strategies, (4) the FFMF and MF groups performed equally well, statistically, on both the post-test orals and in terms of semantic range but the social dynamic that surfaced in each group were distinct, (5) the MF group did not ignore form but employed ser as a default, (6) the instructor exercised the same feedback practices for both groups.
It was concluded that C-R on por/para, ser/estar in SCMC most likely fostered the development of those grammatical features to a greater degree than in chat without specific instructions to focus on form. When held responsible for its own C-R in SCMC, consciousness was raised for the FFMF group but students were unable to limit the scope of their focus to por/para, ser/estar alone. Overt evidence reveals that they did focus on ser/estar but there is no such evidence for por/para. However, the global approach to C-R assumed by the FFMF positively impacted development, por/para included. In terms of the MF group, it is concluded that the lack of focusing on por/para, ser/estar did not impede upon development, and that unintentional focus on form was insufficient to facilitate growth to the same degree as deliberate focus, although the MF participants demonstrated awareness to form in SCMC.
Fiori-Agoren, M.L. The development of grammatical competence through synchronous computer-mediated communication. Ph.D. thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
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