English Language Teaching:
Will the Internet make a difference?
Socio-Political Settings of English Language Teaching
14 November 2003
Sake Jager
University of Groningen
Introduction
 Effectiveness
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Comparisons between teaching with and teaching without computers
are impossible
Technology does not make a difference, but practices of use
Evaluation is not categorical, but situation-specific
 Presentation
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Potential of web-based learning
Two examples: Digitalenklas and GlobalEnglish
Effectiveness from an SLA perspective
Future directions
Accessibility
Potential of Internet for learning
 Restructuring technology in society
 Shapes society as well as education
 Changing work patterns: workers learn
 Changing learning patterns: students work
 Facilitates flexible and individual learning
Potential for language learning
 Expose students to new forms of communication:
“A pedagogy of networked computers must therefore take a broad view, examining not
only the role of information technology in language learning, but the role of language
learning in an information technology society” (Kern and Warschauer, 2000:12-13).
 Shift to interaction with other humans through computers
 Sociocognitive framework:
“To provide alternative contexts for social interaction; to facilitate access to
existing discourse communities and the creation of new ones.”(ibid: 13).
 Typical forms:
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Email, online discussion, chat, web quests, web publishing
Tutor-tool distinction
 Computer-as-tool paradigm
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Interaction with humans through computers
General technologies for language learning
 Computer-as-tutor paradigm:
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Interaction with computer
Specific tutoring functions for language learning
Provide exercises, feedback, corrections and explanations
 CALL applications typically use either or both of
these paradigms
Case 1: Digitalenklas
 Virtual Learning Environment: Blackboard
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Generic tool for language learning
Email, chat, discussion, whiteboard
Online information, tests and surveys
 Main uses:
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Organization of course
Open-ended language learning task, e.g.
Webquests
Language quest Dutch L2
Web quest Dutch L2 (cont’d)
 Exploratory learning in authentic tasks
 Group collaboration, discussion, selfassessment
 Oral presentation at end
Ellips
Ellips (cont’d)
 Computer-as-tutor model
 Closed-typed exercises
 Adjustment to student performance
 Extensive feedback
 Specific support for audio and video
General characteristics
Digitalenklas
 Combines computer-as-tool and computeras-tutor paradigms
 Authoring by teachers
 Adaptation to teaching requirements
 Time consuming
 Often used together with classroom teaching
Case 2: Global English
 Commercial web-based language learning system
 Advisory board: Nunan, McCloskey
 Pedagogic features:
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Individual study plan
Different levels, different skills
Communication practice in simulations
Vocabulary consolidation
Online teacher
Community of learners
Global English: Study plan
Your current study plan will include these goals:
Learning goals:
improve all of my English
skills
Current English Level:
Intermediate
Desired English level:
Advanced
Time goal:
6 Months
Hours per week you
will need to study:
11 Hours
With this schedule, you will have to study more than
10 hours each week. That pace may be too difficult for
you. To change the schedule, you can lower your
target or increase the amount of time to reach your
goal.
Do you want to change your plan, or do you want to
continue with this plan?
NS Recast and Learner Clarification Request
Global English
Global English: General
characteristics
 One of most sophisticated web-based programs
 Computer-as-tutor predominant
 Communication:
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Online teacher (24 hrs a day)
Online peers
Community building rather than communication-based
tasks
 No modification of content possible
 “Schools and universities programme”
Principles for evaluation

Chapelle’s principles for evaluation:
1.
2.
Evaluation of CALL is a situation-specific argument.
CALL should be evaluated through two perspectives: judgemental
analysis of software and planned tasks, and empirical analysis of
learners’ performance.
Criteria for CALL task quality should come from theory and research
on instructed SLA.
Criteria should be applied in view of the purpose of the task.
Language learning potential should be the central criterion in
evaluation of CALL.
3.
4.
5.
(Chapelle 2001:52)
Criteria from SLA
SLA Criteria for CALL
Appropriateness
Language learning potential
Learner fit
Meaning focus
Authenticity
Positive impact
Practicality
Description
The degree of opportunity present for beneficial focus
on form.
The amount of opportunity for engagement with
language under appropriate conditions given learner
characteristics.
The extent to which learners’attention is directed
toward the meaning of the language.
The degree of correspondence between the CALL
activity and target language activities of interest to
learners out of the classroom.
The positive effects of the CALL activity on those who
participate in it.
The adequacy of resources to support the use of CALL
Interactionist approaches to online
communication
 Interaction studies of online discourse:
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Breakdown in communication
Attention to form
Explicit and implicit feedback
Modification of input and output
 Outcomes:
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Processes beneficial for language learning do occur
Higher participation of reticent learners
Less teacher control
Criticisms
 Ellis (2003):
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Limited use for teaching
Hardly evidence of grammatical development
Interactionally modified input not better than premodified input
 Doughty and Long (2003):
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Task authenticity, not text authenticity
Web searches ill-advised, teacher intervention needed
Online provision of feedback is too restricted
Multi-learner communication not good for language learning
Commercial vendors not interested in providing individualized taskbased language learning materials
Discussion
 Webquest:
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Clearly stated purpose
Meaning focus
Authentic
No adjustment to individual learners
Beneficial focus to form in offline discussions
 Ellips:
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Exercises rather than tasks
Link with rest of syllabus important
May favour structural/functional approaches
Adaptive
Discussion (cont’d)
 Global English:
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Learner fit: specific skills, specific learner
characteristics
Communication as add-on
Not one-size-fits-all solution
Not fully task-based either
Future directions
 Spoken interaction:
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Online communication is written; new technologies for
spoken communication should be studied
 Focus on purpose:
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Use e.g. CEF to identify linguistic targets
 Data collection:
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Potential for large-scale data collection; new research
possibilities
 Research in learning conditions:
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Live collection of data, longer-term studies
Access and control
 Commercial vs academic control of online
language learning
 Access:
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Digital Divide, computer literacy vs illiteracy
Internet access restricted in many areas that face
teaching problems today
No mention of E-learning in recent Common
Wealth of Learning Action Plan
Some references
Chapelle, Carol A. Computer Applications in Second Language Acquisition: Foundations for Teaching,
Testing and Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Doughty, Catherine and Michael Long. "Optimal psycholinguistic environments for distance foreign
learning." Language Learning and Technology 7.3 (2003): 50-80.
Ellis, Rod. Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Felix, Uschi ed. Language Learning Online: Towards Best Practice. Lisse: Swets and Zeitlinger, 2003.
González-Lloret, Marta. "Designing Task-Based CALL to Promote Interaction: En Busca de
Esmeraldas." Language Learning and Technology 7.1 (2003): 86-104.
Kitade, Keiko. "L2 Learners' Discourse and SLA Theories in CMC: Collaborative Interaction in Internet
Chat." Computer Assisted Language Learning: An International Journal 13.2 (2000): 143-66.
Nunan, David. "A Foot in the World of Ideas: Graduate Study through the Internet." Language Learning
and Technology 3.1 (1999): 52-74.
References (cont’d)
Pellettieri, L. "Why-Talk? Investigating the Role of Task-Based Interaction through Synchronous Network-Based
Communication among Classroom Learners of Spanish." DISSERTATION ABSTRACTS INTERNATIONAL
SECTION A HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES 60.7 (2000): 2469.
Pica, T. "Tradition and transition in English language teaching methodology." System 28 (2000): 1-18.
Rosenberg, Marc J. E-Learning, Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age. New York: McGraw-Hill,
2001.
Salaberry, M. Rafael. "The Use of Technology for Second Language Learning and Teaching: A Retrospective."
The Modern Language Journal 85.i (2001): 39-56.
Tudini, Vincenza. "Using Native Speakers in Chat." Language Learning and Technology 7.3 (2003): 141-59.
Warschauer, M and R. Kern. Network-Based Language Teaching. Ed. M Warschauer and R. Kern. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Weasenforth, Donald, Sigrun Biesenbach-Lucas, and Christine Meloni. "Realizing Constructivist Objectives
Through Collaborative Technologies: Threaded Discussions." Language Learning and Technology 6.3 (2002): 5886.
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