The Effect of Using Web-Cam Chat on Jordanian English Major Students' Paralinguistic Competence

By Bataineh, Ahmad Mousa; Al-Abdali, Ahmed Ibrahim | International Journal of Education, April 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Using Web-Cam Chat on Jordanian English Major Students' Paralinguistic Competence


Bataineh, Ahmad Mousa, Al-Abdali, Ahmed Ibrahim, International Journal of Education


Abstract

This action research project is an experimental study. It aims at investigating the effect of using web-cam chat on the development of university learners' paralinguistic competence. The population of the study included 460 students majoring in English language and literature at the University of Jordan in Amman. The sample of the study consisted of 32 students registered for a Debate course, in the first semester of the academic year 2013-2014. After reviewing the theoretical literature and the previous studies, the researchers identified the paralinguistic aspects of language to be studied, i.e. gestures, postures, facial expressions, gaze and eye contact, bodily movement, intonation, pauses, stress and rhythm, emotional tone of speech, and proximity. A pre-test was administrated to know the actual level of both groups: The control group and the experimental group before being exposed to the new experience of teaching. The control group was taught traditionally while the experimental group was taught via web-cam chat formally inside the lab and informally outside the classroom. Two months later, a post-test was administrated so as to find if any change occurred, if it occurred, to what extent, in what dimension, and in favor of which group. To be certain of the validity of the test, it was refereed by a group of specialists, and its reliability was calculated by Cronbach Alpha Coefficient to be (0.92). To treat the raw scores statistically, means and standard deviations were found. The results of study indicated significant differences in favor of the experimental group, which was taught via web-cam chat. This could be an indirect suggestion for methodologists and curricula designers to emphasize the role of web-cam chat on developing the learners' paralinguistic competence. Furthermore, it could be an invitation for textbooks writers, the time they sit to decide the content of foreign language activities and exercises to take the paralinguistic aspects of language into account because they vary from one language community to another. Finally, it could be wiser if researchers conduct studies at scholastic level to judge the effect of CMC on the paralinguistic competence of the EFL learners.

Keywords: CMC, non-verbal competence, paralinguistic competence, text chat, web-cam

1. Introduction

The new forms of communication is becoming an integral part of modern life finding their place in the language classroom, offering new exciting modes of communication for engaging learners in authentic language learning experiences. It has been reported that with computer-mediated communication (CMC), language learners can develop not only language skills but also intercultural communicative competence, lifelong learning skills and digital literacy, key competencies for becoming active participants of the Information Society. However, to what extent does the adoption of CMC in language learning environments promote these competencies and in what circumstances?

By using CMC tools such as e-mails, chat rooms, discussion rooms, video or audio conference, users worldwide can easily achieve communication, synchronously or asynchronously, without boundaries of time and space. It is, therefore, proposed that CMC can be used to compensate the deficiency of interaction both inside and outside EFL classrooms.

The major goal of foreign language teaching is to develop students' cross-cultural communicative competence (BI, 1999). Hence, non-verbal and prosodic communications become yet another element that one must understand to interact effectively with people from different cultures (Samovar & porter 2003). In this regard, teachers of English should continually improve their own level of cross-cultural awareness, be aware of its importance to develop students' para-linguistic competence, and take the teaching of the paralinguistic aspects into consideration in language teaching so as to improve the intercultural communication competence of the students. …

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