as well as on fostering student interest and motivation for language learning (Beauvois, 1998; Lee, 1997, 1999; Pelletieri, 2000). The research indicates three benefits of CMC: (1) it offers opportunities for more equal participation than face-to-face interaction, (2) it allows the learner sufficient time to process input and monitor and edit output through a self-paced process, and (3) it increases language production and complexity (Lee, 2002, p. 17). There is also evidence to suggest that online chat leads students to scaffold each other’s performance collaboratively and to pool each other’s resources in the face of uncertainty concerning language choice (Shekary & Tahririan, 2006). Additionally, students who engage in online chat have been found to notice TL forms and subsequently make changes to their interlanguage (Shekary & Tahririan). Lee (2002) describes the use of an online chat room and task-based instruction to create a learning environment in which third-year college Spanish students used the TL to discuss, exchange, and debate issues related to real life. Students accessed online communication tools through Blackboard (an e-learning environment) and then completed task-based online activities, wrote online essays, and participated in online discussions on real-world topics of interest.8 Lee proposes that “the combined use of online interaction and task-based instruction empowers students’ communication skills by creating a lively environment in which they respond to real-time conversation about topics relevant to their interests” (2002, p. 21). Lee (1999) also found that students who participate in online communication acknowledge the necessity of being prepared for the chats and the value of working collaboratively with their peers. In Chapter 12, you will explore further the use of technology such as this to promote language acquisition. In sum, strategies such as dialogue journals, pen pal/key pal letter exchanges, and synchronous electronic interaction are effective ways to engage students in written interpersonal communication while simultaneously addressing other goal areas.
Providing Feedback in Oral Interpersonal Contexts9
Language teachers have traditionally given students feedback in response to the correctness of language use. A “very good” awarded by the teacher undoubtedly means that the student used accurate grammar, vocabulary, and/or pronunciation, or used the designated linguistic pattern being practiced. See discussions of IRE in Chapter 3 and earlier in this chapter. Oral feedback given by the teacher in the classroom can generally be of two types: (1) error correction, and (2) response to the content of the student’s message, much as in natural conversation. In classrooms that focus on negotiation of meaning (as defined in Chapter 1), the teacher provides feedback that helps learners figure out meaning, make themselves understood, and develop strategies for interacting effectively in groups (Platt & Brooks, 1994). In Chapter 3, what did the discussion of IRE/IRF reveal about the nature of teacher feedback? ■ Types of Teacher Feedback. In the earlier section of this chapter dealing with student discourse in pair/group activities, you learned about conversational repair in interactive activities. As you learned, learners often experience trouble in an exchange, notice the problem, work to repair the problem, and have either a positive or negative outcome in terms of communicating the message. Another concept that is often a part of the discussion on repair is uptake, which refers to how the learner incorporates feedback (i.e., from the teacher) into subsequent utterances (Lyster & Ranta, 1997). There are two types of student uptake: (1) uptake that results in repair of the error, and (2) uptake that results Conceptual Orientation
in an utterance that is still in need of repair (Lyster & Ranta). Students might demonstrate uptake by repeating the teacher’s feedback that includes...