Teaching Writing Today Writing is a Process Reading and writing skills are connected Technology has redefined TEXT Computer-Mediated Communication tools are reshaping the idea of reading and writing texts
Goals of Writing Instruction in English as L1 To express ideas To write clear and coherent sentences, paragraphs, essays, and other texts To write effectively for multiple audiences To contribute to a greater community of writers
L1 Writing And Second Language Writing Process Writing to express Writing to read Reading to write Audience Purpose Occasion
So what’s the difference? Writing in the L2 is not as natural as writing in the L1 It can be intimidating for many students It requires attention at all levels: vocabulary, sentence structure, spelling, grammar It takes more practice to create meaningful chunks
Collaboration and SLA * “Interaction not only facilitates language learning but it is a causative force in acquisition” (Saville-Troike 2006) “From a social constructivist perspective, learners should be encouraged to participate in activities which foster interaction and co-construction” (Storch 2005) * Through CMC, “learners provide each other with knowledge about language and that the opportunity to exteriorize their thoughts allows students to reinforce and reconstruct their knowledge of the target language.” Keiko Kitade (2007)
What Can CMC Do for Our L2 Writers? * CONNECT L2 writers * BREAK DOWN affective filters * ENCOURAGE RISK-FREE L2 output without the fear of grades * INCREASE L2 output * INCORPORATE L2 writing in the daily practice routine
Research Questions Do synchronous and asynchronous, risk-free collaborative communication sessions help to break down affective filters in L2 learners and increase comprehensible output? Can CMC prepare learners for more reflective tasks such as computer-mediated peer reviews?
Experiment/Purpose Use of multiple synchronous and asynchronous computer-mediated tools such as Discussion Threads, Blogs, and Chats Observation of the level and volume of output in each session
Findings Learners like the asynchronous format of the Discussion Thread and seem to take more calculated risks as they attempt more complex sentence structures and ideas Learners are less comfortable with a chat initially but quickly forget to worry about writing in real time. They just do it. Regular online interactions through CMC pave the way to productive, substantial, and candid peer reviews
Computer-Mediated Peer Review Using MS Word Reviewing Tools Observations of online collaboration among Intermediate learners of French over a period of 18 months When students have frequent and diverse opportunities to use the L2 in CMC tools, transitioning to peer review is easier L2 learners respond to their peers’ writing samples through pointed questions or helpful suggestions Students enter their feedback using the Comment Box in the Reviewing Tools
Resources Saville-Troike, Muriel. (2006) Introduction to Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge, UK. Cambridge University P. Storch, Neomy. (2005) Collaborative Writing: Product, Process, and Students’ Reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing 14 153-173. Kitade, Keiko. (2007) The role of Offline Metalanguage Talk in Asynchronous Computer- Mediated Communication. Language Learning and Technology February 2008, 12(1), 64-84
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