The Use of Synchronous Computer Networks in Second Language Instruction: A Preliminary Report


  • Orlando R. Kelm

    1. University of Texas, Austin
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      Orlando R. Kelm (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas, Austin.


ABSTRACT  This paper reports some personal observations regarding a second language teaching situation where non-native speakers of Portuguese participated in class discussions via real time computer networks. Synchronous computer networks have been utilized in university courses to improve group participation in writing and composition in L1 situations. This same process offers L2 an opportunity to participate in interlanguage discussions via computer. Preliminary observations from this experience suggest that computer assisted class discussions may promote increased participation from all members of a work group, allow students to speak without interruption, reduce anxiety which is frequently present in oral conversations, render honest and candid expression of emotion, provide personalized identification of target language errors and create substantial interlanguage communication among L2 learners.