Use of QQ Chatting to Practice English Patterns among New Oriental School Language Learners in China

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Using QQ Chatting to Practice English Patterns among New Oriental School Language Learners in China

Importance of using technology in promoting language learners’ ability to effectively use language can not be ignored. Nowadays there are numerous number of technology-based language materials that a language learner might use dependently or independently. One of the technologies which is widely used by language teachers is CALL. The area that we are discussing in this paper is the use of internet for the sake of language teaching and learning. The technology which specifically is used in this research is QQ. QQ is an IM, like MSN or Gtalk and is very popular in China. So far no study has been conducted among the primary students at private language schools in China using internet to evaluate the teachability and learnability. In the network classroom, teacher assumes the role of facilitator of learner activity (Harasim, 1986: p.65, referenced by Ken Beatty in his book Teaching and Researching CALL). In the following study, I tried to play the role of facilitator to help students communicate effectively and use their English to negotiate meaning as much as possible. As mentioned by Ken Beatty, one might use technology to establish a field of courseware known as edutainment. According to Bill Anderson, instructors must examine the affordances and features of the technologies of communication and use them to support the educational goals of students. Traditionally, much research on CALL has focused on whether or not students learn better with a computer. But, the question is no longer whether or not computers should be used in the classroom. Questions now include how computers should be used and for what purpose (Teaching and Researching CALL, Ken Beatty, P. 190). We might consider using technology-based teaching to improve students’ language abilities, and to use it effectively, we should think of how it can do the improvement. If any kind of technology is being used by a teacher, the teaching method should change accordingly. Besides, role of teacher is more significant and might be shifted from an instructor to a facilitator. Chapelle and Jamieson (1991) summarized ten studies from 1971 to 1986 and suggested that they do not provide strong empirical evidence for the superiority of CALL over classroom instruction (p. 37). However, a more recent review by Meich, Nave and Mosteller (1996) in an examination of 22 empirical CALL studies conducted between 1989 and 1994 concluded the opposite: CALL can “substantially improve achievement as compared with traditional instruction” (p. 1) (referenced by Ken Beatty, Teaching and Researching CALL, P. 197). In an experiment conducted by Hema Rosheny Mustafa, Noridah Sain and Noor ZainabAbdul Razak called “Using Internet for Learning Vocabulary among Second Language Learners in a Suburban School”, it has been investigated that whether using computer assists the learning of vocabulary among second language learners in a suburban secondary school in Malaysia. Their findings suggested that the experimental group showed great result in learning vocabulary using computer. In the following study, use of text-mode QQ will be assessed among the New Oriental School Language Learners in China.

At the time of doing the experiment I was in China, Wuhan city, and to do my experiment I asked one of the famous private language schools’ manager, to let me keep in touch with a number of students for a few sessions to practice what they have already been taught at school. It should be mentioned that my cooperation with the school was temporary and for the sake of the experiment. Actually, the students already had their own teacher. I explained to the responsible teacher that I want to use QQ to enhance students’ ability to communicate effectively; besides to work on one of the class weak points to see if I can facilitate teachability and learnability and make improvement....
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