HOLDING A BASIC ENGLISH CONVERSATION IN A CHAT ROOM TO MAKE A FRIEND FROM AROUND THE WORLD: A CLASSROOM PROJECT
Universidad Veracruzana (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:In an attempt to respond to the continuous changes in society, the University of Veracruz, Mexico has implemented a new model of education called “Classroom Project” (Proyecto Aula) based on a competence-based approach and task-based learning. The rationale behind this model prioritizes the promotion of learner autonomy, collaboration, complex thinking, research, and the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). This paper presents the design and application of a classroom project aimed at having beginning EFL learners hold a basic English conversation on their own in one of the most popular forms of internet-based communication: Chat Rooms. The project progressed through ten activities in order to achieve the students’ competence in communicating in English at a basic level so as to make a friend from around the world in the context of a chat room. The relevance of action research as a valid methodology for the aims of conducting and evaluating the implementation of this project constituted the best alternative to do it. A multiple perspective approach to collect and analyze data was employed: 1) submitted activities; 2) consolidating activity; 3) video taping; 4) a questionnaire. The overall results mainly indicated students’ better performance in the development of projects, a significant movement towards autonomy, as well as an increase in their intrinsic motivation to learn the target language. Students were successful in chatting to make a new friend from around the world by using the required language contents, interacting skills, and texting language. Moreover, the development of this classroom project mirrored changes in my teaching practice. Nevertheless, a second application of the project appears to be feasible since chat room issues such as opening an account in the chat rooms suggested by the teacher as well as finding someone who to chat with a basic English level were problematic. Besides, less controlled use of language contents during the conversation is another possible focus of attention to improve the implementation of the project.
Keywords: Classroom project, chat room, consolidating activity.