Case study investigation of CMC with young language learners

Brigitte Gruson, Françoise Barnes

Abstract


By providing authentic experiences with the world outside the classroom, CMC seems to enhance the learning potential of conventional lessons (Pritchard et al., 2010, p. 211). The assumption underlying the use of videoconferencing to teach and learn a second language is that it will help learners develop their oral and socio-cultural skills. However, when using CMC with young language learners, primary teachers’ relatively limited expertise both in the linguistic and technological fields represents some of the challenges they have to face. Following Pritchard et al. (Ibidem), who show that students who have experienced video-conferenced lessons have more confidence to experiment with language and, in general, produce language of a higher quality, our work examines the impact of CMC on students' communicative skills and teachers' actions in primary education. In this paper, we analyse a bi-national session that involves videoconferencing between young learners of French and English as a foreign language as they play a well-known game Cluedo. In our analysis, we first examine some of the constraints teachers have to face when using videoconferencing to teach an L2. Secondly, we present a few extracts that aim to probe the impact of CMC on the way students use both L1 and L2 and on its possible effect on the development of their linguistic repertoires. 

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