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Bringing Foreign Language Learning into Students’ Real Lives: Building Facebook -based Online Community. By Li Jin, Ph.D. Department of Modern Languages. Foreign Languages Teaching Approaches. Grammar-Translation Approach Audio-lingual Approach Communicative Approach

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Bringing Foreign Language Learning into Students’ Real Lives: Building Facebook-based Online Community

By Li Jin, Ph.D.

Department of Modern Languages

foreign languages teaching approaches
Foreign Languages Teaching Approaches
  • Grammar-Translation Approach
  • Audio-lingual Approach
  • Communicative Approach
    • Total Physical Response
    • Task-based / Functional-Notional
    • Computer-assisted Language Learning

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

computer mediated communication foreign language learning
Computer-mediated Communication & Foreign Language Learning
  • CMC enhances second language acquisition: notice of form, participation and production, pragmatics, cultural sensitivity, learning strategies (Wauschauer, 1997, 2000);
  • CMC supports zone of proximal development (Thorne, 2002)
  • CMC provides a relaxing and flexible learning environment and supports real-time communication in the target language.

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

remaining issues in call
Remaining Issues in CALL
  • Class project-based
    • Lack of autonomy
    • Lack of authenticity
    • Limited exposure to language input
    • Limited chance to produce the target language
    • Limited teacher’s involvement & supervision
  • Free communication
    • Lack of structure
    • Lack of learning objectives

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

facebook phenomenon
Facebook Phenomenon
  • 175 million active users worldwide
  • Multiple language platforms
  • Support personal profiles, status, photos, messages, chat, various groups & events
  • Important social networking tool: keep connected, less formal than email and less intimate than phone and text, prompt responses

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

context of the project
Context of the Project
  • An urban university: students live on or off campus; most have part-time jobs and maintain a busy daily schedule;
  • Beginning-level Chinese classes: 5 out of 25 are Cantonese heritage speakers;
  • The majority of students are active Facebook users: 14/22 check Facebook at least once a day; all but one use Facebook to get connected with friends.
  • Majority of students have foreign friends on Facebook, but mainly use English to communicate

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

facebook project
Facebook Project
  • DePaul Chinese Learning Group on Facebook
  • Learning Tasks
    • Group wall posts (3~5 times/week)
    • Share videos, pictures, links
    • Events
    • Get feedback from the Instructor and revise
    • Peer revision
  • Rules
    • 10-week projects
    • All Chinese

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

project results
Project Results
  • Total group wall posts: 444
  • Videos posted: 6
  • Pictures posted: 65
  • Links posted: 4
  • Events announced: 3
  • Communication with the instructor & classmates: students added classmates & the instructor as friends, post Chinese on each other’s walls, Chinese status

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

facebook based learning community
Facebook-based Learning Community
  • formed the identity of Chinese learners through shared experience and interaction on the Facebook
    • Added friends and formed offline learning groups
  • Declared learning experience on Facebook status & posted status in Chinese, e.g. “Blas is 学中文”;
  • Commented on each other’s status in Chinese;
  • Posted learning resources in personal profiles

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

learners perception advantages
Learners’ Perception:Advantages
  • Used Chinese for practical purposes (update status, describe daily life);
  • Had to think of and use Chinese more frequently;
  • Prompt responses from classmates and the instructor;
  • Support from the instructor (message & chat)
  • Relaxing environment

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

learners perception disadvantage
Learners’ Perception:Disadvantage
  • Group wall posting was too artificial, lack of structure
  • Facebook is too distracting
  • No chance to practice speaking
  • Too few native speakers were involved
  • Anxiety about errors on the group wall

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

bringing chinese learning into students real life
Bringing Chinese Learning into Students’ Real Life
  • Authentic purpose: Learning Chinese by using it communicatively;
    • Updated status in Chinese
    • Communicated with each other & instructor in Chinese
    • Shared fun cultural resources with each other;
  • Authentic and Rich Language Input:
    • Exposed to larger vocabulary and more varieties of structures;
    • Exposed to more language learning resources;
  • Authentic Language Output:
    • Writing in Chinese (vocabulary & structure);
    • Fluency

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

pedagogical implications
Pedagogical Implications
  • Maintain the group and nurture the formation of identity
    • Synchronous (chat ) vs. asynchronous (status update, discussions, video contests) activities for different proficiency level
    • Encourage students to organize off-Facebook events
    • Integrate Facebook cooperation in various course projects
  • Invite native speakers to the online community

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

pedagogical implications14
Pedagogical Implications
  • Instructor’s roles
    • Moderator: create and organize events, maintain information flow, coach student group leaders
    • Resource: language and culture input, Q & A section
    • Friend: status update/comments, wall posting, pictures, chat

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Foreign language learning can be seamlessly integrated in students’ daily life through Facebook;
  • The existence of an online community provides great support for students with more learning difficulty and help students form the identity of Chinese learners/users and reduces the anxiety of learning a difficult foreign language;
  • The community members’ relationship is vital to maintain the community.

2009 DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference

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Thank you!

Should you have any question, please contact Dr. Li Jin at ljin2@depaul.edu.