Integrating Technology-Enhanced Student Self-Regulated Tasks into University Chinese Language Course

Integrating Technology-Enhanced Student Self-Regulated Tasks into University Chinese Language Course

Irene Shidong An (Department of Chinese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcallt.2013010101
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This paper reports on the implementation of a semester-long task in a university lower intermediate Chinese language course. Web-based podcasting technology, ChinesePod, was utilized to assist this implementation. The first part of this paper focuses on the task design informed by frameworks proposed in the literature. The second half of the paper presents and analyses data collected from an end-of-course questionnaire, semi-structured student interviews, and the written scripts of student self-made plays and videos of their performance of the play. The results reveal that the students differ in their perceptions of the task and the ways they approach it. This in turn leads to a quality difference in their performance of the task. This study highlights the importance of careful task design, recognition of individual learning styles and constant rapport with students, especially when student self-regulated tasks are implemented.
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In the past 20 years, task-based language teaching (TBLT) has drawn the increasing attention of language researchers and classroom teachers. With its “analytic” syllabuses claimed to be more effective than traditional “synthetic” (Wilkins, 1976) lexical, structural and notional/functional syllabuses (Long & Crookes, 1992), TBLT focuses on experiential learning and is intended to result in more efficient, meaning-focused communication in language learning (Ellis, 2003; Long & Crookes, 1992; Nunan, 2004). However, the adoption of TBLT in classrooms, especially in foreign language (FL) education settings, has been slow and may take various forms not necessarily consistent with the conventional descriptions of syllabuses presented in the literature (Wette, 2009). The inflexible of curriculum and large class size in tertiary education make it difficult to implement a “strong version” (Skehan, 2009) of TBLT. The instability of language teaching staff, in addition to lack of funding and insufficient teaching hours, also adds to the difficulty.

The rapid integration of technology into language teaching seems to offer promise, but whether this promise can be fulfilled calls for empirical evidence. This paper reports on a study that investigates the implementation of a semester-long task supported by a web-based podcasting technology, ChinesePod, in a university lower intermediate Chinese language course. The paper starts with a discussion of the design and implementation considerations based on frameworks proposed in the literature. It then presents findings with regard to the effectiveness of the implementation of the task from the student point of view followed by a discussion about the implications of the task for FL pedagogy.

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