When is an affordance really an affordance? Increasing L2 complexity through video postings CALICO 2015, Boulder, CO Robert Blake, [email protected] (many thanks to Kim Morris and Gabriel Guillén, hybrid instructors) What is a CALL affordance? the use of a technological tool that allows learners to engage with the L2 in new or more productive ways. Intermediate hybrid SPA SPA 21Y (150-200 contact hours) SPA 22Y (200-250 contact hours) three sources of production data: synchronous chats (1 hour/week) asynchronous video postings (1 hour/week) compositions (about 1 / week) CANVAS: “best recording” (Wood 2010) asynchronous video postings But tasks themselves affects student output! Schmidt (1990, p. 143) NOTICING HYPOTHESIS observes, “Task demands are a powerful determinant of what is noticed” in experimental settings “and provide one of the basic arguments that what is learned is what is noticed.” Skehan (1998, p. 97) LIMITED COMPLEXITY HYPOTHESIS suggests that tasks often “consume more attentional resources…with the result that less attention is available for focus on form.” Consequently, we have a trade-off: tasks can lead either to increased complexity or better accuracy, but not to both. Robinson (2011, p. 14) COGNITION HYPOTHESIS submits that if the tasks are sequenced correctly, “…increasing complexity is argued to promote more accurate , grammaticized production…” In particular, tasks involving intentional reasoning (beliefs and desires of others)that require L2 learners to make linguistic reference to the mental states of others, increasing complexity along these dimensions: Greater effort of conceptualization promotes complexity and accuracy. Asynchronous video postings appear to follow the COGNITION HYPOTHESIS because of the increased planning time— provided that the tasks are chosen wisely. Sample tasks: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. a description of the ideal job a memorable trip the most important human virtue ecological concerns internet use money management childhood experiences winning the lottery health care issues What students say (exit survey) about the video posting tasks: ACCURACY: “I was able to rehearse and correct myself beforehand.” (93%) COMPLEXITY:“I think the video recordings were helpful because they forced you to expand deeper into topics and explain why you held certain opinions, rather than just asking you to state certain facts.” (60%) ACCURACY:“I prepared more for the video recordings [than the oral chats] because you have total control over what will be said, you have the ability to think about how to say it and [to] look up anything you may need.” (87%) COMPLEXITY:They could produce more complex sentences because they had the “luxury of being able to pre-plan” what would be recorded making the final product “more like an essay rather than a conversation” (80%) case study: Janice discursive style of oral chats A string of tersely worded sentences, fragments, and run-ons Heavy use of paratactic pero (“but”) and other conjunctions such as y (“and”) and porque (“why”) Few complex sentences; only one repeated stock phrase/cliché: creo que… (“I believe/think that…”), used in a paratactic fashion. Janice: oral chats [non-contrastic, paratactic <pero>] Yo [sic] no me gusta mirar béisbol en la tele tampoco/ pero en persona sí/ pero me gusta mirar baloncesto mucho/ porque es muy rápido/ y por eso no es aburrido/ pero no tengo un equipo favorito/ pero mi papá es de Nueva York/ y por eso cuando era niña me gustaban los Yankees/ pero ahora me gustan los Giants. I don’t like to watch baseball on television either/ but I do in person./ But I like to watch baseball a lot /because it’s very fast /and that’s why it isn’t boring/ but I don’t have a favorite team /but my dad is from New York/ and that’s why when I was a little girl I liked the Yankees/ but now I like the Giants. Janice: video postings much more sophisticated Si me tocara [N.B. past subjunctive!] la lotería, creo que me pagaría por el resto de mi educación porque ahora mis padres lo pagan y me gustaría eliminar los [sic] responsabilidades del precio de mi educación de mis padres. If I were to win the lottery, I think that it would pay for the rest of my education because right now my parents pay it and I would like to eliminate the responsibility of the price of my education from my parents. Janice: writing He estudiado el español durante varios tiempos de mi vida pero no creo que defina bilingüe ahora, aunque me gustaría serlo. He aprendido mucho en los últimos tres años y por eso he avanzado a nuevos niveles en mi hablar. Ahora puedo comunicar en español en un nivel relativamente alto y tengo la confiencia [sic] a hablar con personas españoles, pero a veces es difícil hablar con los habladores nativos. I have studied Spanish for several years of my life but I don´t think that I define [meet the definition of a] bilingual right now, although I would love to be one. I have learned much in the last three years and for that reason, I have advanced to new levels in talking. Now I can communicate in Spanish on a relatively high level and I have confidence talking with Spanish-speaking people, but sometimes it´s hard speaking to native speakers. Case study: Janice JANICE Oral Chats Video Postings Compositions pero “but” 44% 28% 33% y “and” 35% 45% 58% porque (“cuz”) 10.5% 26% 8% Coordinate Ss 61 (77%) 25 25 Embedded Ss 18 (22% > creo que*) 33 27 # of Words/T unit 4 9 9 * creo que is being used as a paratactic conjunction just like paratactic pero What do the video postings provide the researcher? The added planning time helps make the case that what is produced is what the learner can do under the best of circumstances: In Janice´s case, more embedded clauses separated by a complementizer with fully conjugated verbs (± change of subject). So, what about the Spanish subjunctive? Complex clauses mean mood choices are inevitable. Janice´s mood choices? GOOD NEWS ABOUT JANICE´S CHOICES: •Spanish doesn´t have infinitive complements like in English: “I want you Ø to go the store” and Janice did NOT transfer this structure over from the L1 •It´s rare to find Janice eliminating the complementizer <que> as in English BAD NEWS: Correct mood choices lie beyond Janice´s linguistic competence at the intermediate level. •Janice repeatedly failed use the subjunctive in all but 2/11 eleven cases •More planning time afforded by writing compositions did not improve her performance on mood choices either. JANICE IS ONLY AT A2 LEVEL NOT B1/B2 These difficulties with mood choices should not be surprising if careful note is taken of when the Common European Framework of Reference suggests that the subjunctive be introduced into the curriculum: at the B1/B2 level or after a minimal of 480 contact hours with the target language. Students in Janice´s cohort had only logged a maximum of 250 contact hours by the end of the two hybrid courses—too little time to reach proficiency with this tricky part of Spanish grammar, while also juggling the structural challenges of complex sentences. Collentine (2010) Learners need to be at a point in their development where they reliably produce subordinate clauses instead of depending on paratactic strategies or being heavily dependent on coordination for relating ideas such as cause-effect and stance. N.B.: Janice´s last oral chat VIDEO POSTINGS: NO SILVER BULLET Yo tampoco/ no tengo algunos exámenes esta semana/ pero tengo un proyecto que debo entregar el viernes/ pero no me importa mucho/ pero creo que no va a ser bastante difícil. Me neither…/ I don´t have any exams this week/ but I have a project that I have to turn in on Friday/ but I´m not worried much/ but I believe that it´s not going to be very hard. Yes, real affordance! • In oral chats, students still relie on paratactic strategies (i.e. infrequent embedded clauses), but Janice surely benefits from the additional practice afforded by the asynchronous recordings WITH MANY COMPLEX SENTENCES. Basic structures are correct. • This is good! • More practice and more language study will gradually reshape Janice´s interlanguage; the subjunctive will come also. • For the researcher, this tool allows us to follow the learning process under the best of conditions, which is also a very good thing because it gives us a more complete picture of proficiency (i.e., what the L2 students can do). References --Blake, R. (2013). Brave new digital classroom. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. --Collentine, J. 2010. The Acquisition and Teaching of the Spanish Subjunctive: An Update on Current Findings. Hispania 93(1): 39-51. --Larsen-Freeman, D. 1983. Assessing global second language proficiency. In H. Seliger and M. Long (eds), Classroom Oriented Research in Second Language Acquisition. Rowley, MA: Newbury House Publishers, Inc. --Nation, P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. --Robinson, P. (2011). Task-based language learning: A review of issues. Language Learning, 61: 1-36. --Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11, 127–158. --Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. --Wood, D. (2010). Formulaic language and second language speech fluency: Background, evidence, and classroom applications. London/New York: Continuum.