Computer-assisted language instruction
The aim of this chapter is to present some observations on the use of computer-assisted material for independent study made in connection with the multimedia beginners’ course Think and Talk French. First of all, a short survey will give some information about the genesis and the structure of such a French class for beginners held at the Applied Languages Centre (ALC) at Münster University (Germany). The program Think and Talk French will then be described and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on the learners’ perspective which is being uncovered through an empirical study in which data have been collected through questionnaires and interviews. In this context, the importance of the combination of self-study periods and accompanying group sessions will be emphasized by presenting a case study. The investigation sheds light on possible innovative forms of language learning and teaching, and the results ultimately point to the efficiency brought to the learning process by the combination of independent study in the computer laboratory and group instruction.
The genesis and the structure of this French class
Since the 1994 summer semester, experimental French courses for beginners have been held at the ALC. For the duration of two semesters, participants from all academic fields with no prior knowledge of the French language engage in a ‘normal’ language class (in a ‘normal’ classroom). These group sessions, which usually take place every two weeks, alternate with periods of independent study in the computer laboratory.
After receiving a short introduction to working with the multimedia program Think and Talk French at the first meeting, students then proceed to prepare the following group sessions on their own. They work independently in the computer laboratory at the ALC and prepare an average of three or four scènes for the following group session.
Students have been asked to fill out two questionnaires during the course.