Inclusive Language Education and Digital Games: A Literature Review and EFL Students' Perceptions

Inclusive Language Education and Digital Games: A Literature Review and EFL Students' Perceptions

Ali Soyoof (Monash University, Australia), Boris Vazquez-Calvo (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and Katherine Frances McLay (The University of Queensland, Australia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2901-0.ch008

Abstract

Digital technologies play a significant role in language education. One of the most well-received technologies by language learners is digital games. These games facilitate connections between diverse language learners regardless of age, gender, sociocultural and educational background, and diversity. Since the concept of inclusive education is gaining momentum, the popularity of digital games presents new possibilities for inclusive practices in language learning. In research for this chapter, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 EFL students who had extensive experience playing video games. The objective was to discover whether digital games had the potential to drive inclusive language education forward and how this could be done. Student insights into the value of playing video games are presented based on interview data that were analyzed thematically. Finally, the implications and suggestions to use digital games for inclusive language education are discussed.
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Communicative Approach, Sociocultural Language Learning And Video Games

The authors’ stance on language education favors the contemporary communicative approach, that incorporates the tenets from sociocultural theories/social cognitive theory applied to language learning and teaching (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Suchy & Holdnack, 2013). Briefly, language learning is seen as a lifetime process that enables the learner to use language, for social practices, to act upon reality for a specific communicative purpose. The communicative purpose is as varied as the social practices required (Pennycook, 2010). There are learners that need to learn language for their job, to be desirable in the job market or interact with clients, patients, or even students if they are sellers, doctors, or teachers, respectively. There are learners who need to learn language to play or socialize with individuals and communities of their liking, such as video gamers. Language learning can happen formally, in instructed education contexts, and informally, outside instructional contexts. It can happen explicitly, being aware of the learning, or implicitly because of their interaction with content, products, and people through various engaging practices, such as consuming videos on YouTube or Netflix in a foreign language with subtitles. The sociocultural aspect of language learner influences learners, in their identities, and the construction of the self in connection with others. However, in language education, from a sociocultural perspective, there is —or there should be— a dialogue between self and others to make meaning, to find common ground as well as embrace difference and diversity in a positive, constructive manner.

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