An asynchronous virtual space for contact-based oral work with Chinese students learning English

Abstract : This case study sets out to investigate the impact of the introduction of a computer-assisted language learning tool into an English-as-a-foreign-language course for Chinese students on a one-year university diploma programme at Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France. VoiceForum, an asynchronous platform for oral interaction, is currently being used in class with these students as a complement to face-to-face activities. In the study, student questionnaire data is used to describe the students' previous English-as-a-foreign-language background. We present why VoiceForum was introduced in response to student reticence and lack of confidence to participate in speaking activities, despite data showing student awareness of the importance of these for target language improvement. Using teacher questionnaire data, we describe the challenges teachers met in organising face-to-face speaking activities for this class and the necessary role of the teacher during these as a facilitator inciting peer interaction. After explaining the main functionality of VoiceForum's virtual web space for oral interaction, in response to two research questions concerning student motivation and the teacher's role, we describe and exemplify how the platform has helped both teachers and students with the challenges faced. Firstly, by increasing students' confidence concerning oral production because students do not perceive that they are communicating in front of everybody and, thus, are less concerned about projecting a good impression of themselves. We also discuss here the importance attributed by students to being able to review and prepare their productions. Secondly, we describe how VoiceForum provides the primary mediation between the students, encouraging peer-to-peer interaction without teacher intervention and how, on using this platform, students feel more receptive to teacher feedback.
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Contributor : Ciara R. Wigham <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 27, 2012 - 5:16:17 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 9:49:57 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00672695, version 1



Ciara R. Wigham, John Fynn. An asynchronous virtual space for contact-based oral work with Chinese students learning English. 2011. ⟨hal-00672695⟩



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