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From refugee to student - language learning via group app

This classroom-based study explored whether synchronous computer-mediated practice through a series of interactive narrative tasks can influence second language (L2) oral development by transferring skills across modalities. It also investigated the relationship between learners’ affective variables and synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) task perception. The participants consisted of 15 low-intermediate adolescent refugee learners of English, who were enrolled in an English foreign language (ΕFL) class at a vocational training center in the Netherlands.

In this study, a within-subject design was used. To improve ecological validity, the oral and chat data collection was completed during the students’ regular English classes. After the administration of the posttest, the participants filled out a language motivation and anxiety questionnaire (Kormos et al., 2011) containing items on language learning anxiety, and motivation. Further questions were also addressed to the learners and the English classroom teacher in order to evaluate deeper their perceptions regarding the use of SCMC in the FL classroom.

The participants’ chat logs and speech samples were coded manually for general accuracy, task-specific accuracy, fluency, and functional language use (FLU) measures. Descriptive statistics and multiple comparisons of means were performed for the different linguistic variables for both SCMC and face-to-face (F2F) pretests and posttests. Correlation matrix analyses based on ranks were performed to investigate how the constructs of anxiety, motivation, and task perception were related to each other. The results showed that this task-based SCMC instructional treatment had a statistically significant, and strong effect on most of the linguistic measures used to gauge chat and oral performance. The similar gains in chat and oral interaction further supported the potential transferability of SCMC learning outcomes to F2F communication. The findings also revealed that on average the participants hold positive attitudes towards the use of SCMC in the classroom. Overall, this study highlights the benefits and challenges of text-chat interaction as a learning environment for L2 development and discusses the implications for further research and FL pedagogy.

Last modified:30 November 2021 5.09 p.m.
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