Novice Language Teachers' Selection Criteria and Uses for Digital Voice Recording Software

Novice Language Teachers' Selection Criteria and Uses for Digital Voice Recording Software

Pete Swanson (Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijossp.2014010104
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Abstract

In order to address a lack of motivation to learn a second language, second/foreign language teachers must overcome a multitude of impediments in which to bring students to higher levels of language learning. Research on the integration of digital voice recording software into the language learning curriculum has focused primarily on the perceptions of veteran instructors and their students. However, there is a dearth of research on novice language educators and what influences their decisions to select such software. Following the literature review, the author discusses results from a study investigating novice language teachers' criteria and selection of digital voice recording software. The research has implications for language teachers as well as teachers in other content areas.
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Introduction

The narrowing of the curriculum due to the lingering effects from No Child Left Behind and now Race to the Top continues to prioritize instruction in and the allocation of resources to the core areas of science, mathematics, and reading. Fostering student motivation to learn in today's classroom regardless of content area continues to challenge teachers due to multiple obstacles such as student misconduct and a loss of time preparing for seemingly endless testing (Zellmer, Frontier, & Pheifer, 2006). The challenges novices educators face daily can be particularly unnerving because many times these neophytes are given the most challenging assignments with little to no professional support (Kalogrides, Loeb, & Teille, 2011). Additionally, they struggle with classroom management issues, are burdened by a lack of curricular freedom, and suffer from benign neglect in professionally unsupportive environments (Fry, 2007; Mathews, 2011; Melnick & Meister, 2008; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). While all novice educators must develop strategies to overcome such barriers to teaching and learning, newly-minted second/foreign language (S/FL) instructors must learn to rise above other obstacles such as student perceptions of the irrelevance of authentic language applications and lowering student anxiety about learning a second language.

Theoretically, as anxiety increases, learners may experience stress and a lack of self-efficacy, which tends to hinder second language acquisition. Conversely, as students begin to feel more comfortable in the learning environment, students demonstrate risk-taking behaviors when practicing and acquiring a new language (Krashen, 1981). In the area of S/FL learning, performance anxiety in the target language is often reported as one of the most influential factors impediments to language learning (Horwitz, 2001; Krashen, 1985; Swanson, 2013a). However, research suggests that the blending of technology and best practices in the teaching languages can foster a low-anxiety learning environment, improve student motivation, and foster innovative S/FL learning practices.

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