Russian-English Workshop:Research in task-based telecollaborationand strategic competence acquisitionKONSTANTIN SHESTAKOV, OMSK LAW ACADEMYLONNY HARRISON, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON
Intercultural Strategic Competence(ISC)A set of techniques that are consciouslyemployed by a speaker to overcomelinguistic and cultural breakdowns inintercultural communication.
Intercultural strategic competence (ISC)Metacognitive strategies planning, monitoring and evaluation of language learning activitiesCognitive strategies identification, retention, or retrieval of elements of the target languageSocial strategies interacting with other learners, a teacher, or with native speakersAffective strategies regulation of learner motivation, emotions, and attitudesCompensation (modification) strategies verbal and nonverbal actions taken to compensate for the gap ofknowledge of the target language
SLA Interaction hypothesisInput is provided by an expert, the learner’s output as alearning trigger is not taken into account. The learner’srole is passive at the ‘input stage’.
TBL as a condition to ‘activate’ the learnerAuthentic (real-world related) language learning tasksencourage the learner not to focus explicitly on the structureand the rules of the new language but rather on the meaningand context of communicated messages.
Traditional Communicative Approachvs. Task-Based Language LearningLearning stages Teacher-centered approach Learner-centered approachProduction Focus on form Focus on meaningInput salience HighlightingstructuresBecoming awareof rich pointsComprehension Input adaptation Compensationstrategies
Categories and structure of telecollaboration tasksInformation exchangeComparison and analysisCollaboration and product creation (O’Dowd & Waire 2009)planningAsynchronouscontact with thepartnerCognitive, metacognitivestrategiescollaborationSynchronousmeeting with thepartnerSocial, affectivestrategiesproductionPost meetingwork on the taskCognitive, metacognitivestrategiespresentationPresentation ofthe outcomeSocial, affectivestrategiesreflectionReflection ontaskaccomplishmentMetacognitivestrategies
Research on telecollaborationPrevious research shows that online telecollaboration contributes todevelopment of: Learner autonomy (Kessler and Bikowski, 2010) Linguistic competence (Ware and O’Dowd, 2008) Intercultural and sociocultural competence (Furstenberg et al., 2001, J.Belz, 2004) Online literacy skills (Guth and Helm 2011) Teachers awareness about online project management (Dooly, 2008) Translation skills (Chen, N.-S., & Ko, L. (2010) Confidence and motivation (Wu et al, 2011) Compensation and communicative strategies (Tavakoli et al. 2011, Íñigo Yanguas2010, Ahari et al. 2012, Lam 2006, Oxford, R.L. (1989)
Media richness theory (Daft & Lengel 1986)Decrease in effectiveness ofcommunication• Ability to handle multipleinformation cues simultaneously• Ability to facilitate rapid feedback• Ability to establish a personal focus• Ability to utilize natural languageFace to Face CommunicationVideoForumSynchronous AudioVideo ConferenceFace-to-Face CommunicationText ChatEmailForum
Interactive exercises on communication strategiesRequest torepeat/paraphraseExpress/evokepersonal interest
Omsk Law Academy/Drake UniversityCommunicating Abroad Project 2-3 synchronous carefully planned meetings per semester 12 Russian students, 8 American students 3-4 meetings per semester, 60 min each Information exchange tasks: talk about your university, your city;ask your partner questions about the same topics. Presentations: «My city» «Education», «Power distance», «Russian fatalism»
Conversations in a virtual classroomTriadsPairs
Research into the effect of international collaboration on studentsmetacognitive strategiesExperimental group (OmskLaw Academy students)Control group (students ofother Omsk universities)Language proficiency intermediate intermediateYear of studying 2nd 2ndLearning environment Blended(classroom + virtual)Traditional classroomPrevious experience ofcommunication with nativespeakers in a virtualenvironmentYes (2 semesters) NoNumber of participants in theexperiment13 8Virtual environment Moodle, email, WebexMeeting Centreemail, Webex Meeting Centre
Research Question 1:focus on metacognitive strategiesQuery: How do metacognitive strategies affect students’ performance incommunication with a native speaker?MethodStudents were given the following tasks:1) Write an email to your native speaker partner; suggest a topic you would like to discuss,◦ and schedule a meeting in WebEx.2) Converse with your partner in WebEx.3) Write a report about your conversation to a MOODLE forum.
Communicative strategies & online literacy skills used by studentse- experimental, c- control group e cExplanation of cultural realia + +Code switching (use of the native language) + +Simplification and/or generalization + +Paraphrasing + +Checking comprehension + +Repeat and request to repeat + +Asking partner for clarification + +Evoking partners personal interest + +Establishing common interests + +Use of pre-planned presentations, videos, pictures + -Use of the chat box (and other online literacy skills) + -Use of online resources (dictionaries, links, web pages) + -compensation social-affective metacognitive cognitive
DiscussionExperimental Group (EG) used metacognitive strategies (planning themeeting, preparing materials) 90% of students reported feeling confident and comfortablewhile communicating with a NSControl Group (CG)o no direct evidence of students using metacognitive strategieso only 30% of students felt comfortable while talking to a NSo 70% felt anxiety, fear, lack of confidence
ConclusionsFactors that made a positive impact: students’ familiarity with technology previous experience in collaboration with native speakers use of metacognitive strategiesStrategic competence and online literacy skills decreasedifficulties in communication in the target language.Regular collaboration with NS’s in a virtual environmentdecreases anxiety and fear during intercultural communication.Students who have experience in communicating with NS’suse a wider range of communication strategies.
UTA-Omsk Law Academy TranslationWorkshop Description 8 Russian and 7 American students 12 group meetings and 3 individual meetings duringinterpretation classes Met in virtual classroom and Second Life Role play translating tasks Students played roles of:1) situational dialogue—in a souvenir shop, business meetings, virtualexcursions etc.2) interpreters for these negotiations
Role play in Second LifeOral translation classesin a video conference
Query: Is there a correlation between students’ use of social and collaborationstrategies and the quality of translation output?MethodEG: 13 participants (2 semesters of translation studies)CG1: 7 participants (6 semesters)СG2: 8 participants (2 semesters)1) students of EG and CGs translated a Wikipedia article, Russian to English2) EG students contacted NS partners, received corrective feedback3) EG also worked collaboratively in Google Translator ToolkitStudents of CGs translated on their own; neither had contact with NS’sResearch Question 2:focus on social strategies
Research dataGroups Number of language &translation study hoursbefore the experimentAverage score oftranslation quality ineach groupEG 366 59CG 1 1058 55CG 2 366 21
Discussion EG outperformed CG2 EG achieved similar results to CG1Explanationo EG students discussed translations with NS’sasynchronously and synchronouslyo NS’s pointed out linguistic mistakes and provided clarificationsEG students shared translation memory in Google Translator Toolkit
Conclusions Translations by the EG were not better than those of CG2Thus:The collaborative project does not lead to significant gains in linguisticcompetences in the short term.However, students acquired social strategies that were usedto accomplish the linguistic task effectively.
UTA-Omsk joint course descriptionStudents enrolled in separate courses:at OLA a class studying Englishat UTA a class studying RussianOne hour-long session per week consisted of a professor-ledvirtual meeting via videoconference between students at OLAand UTA to practice spoken Russian and English and to share incultural experience. Two other synchronous classes were spentat each school preparing for the virtual meeting.
Asynchronous meetings between partner pairs were assigned forcross-linguistic and cross-cultural practice.Partners conversed in a virtual meeting space and sharedmultimedia technology to work on assigned translations and otheractive learning tasks.UTA-Omsk joint course description
Research Question 3:focus on the affective componentQuery: How does regular collaboration with native speakers affectstudents’ motivation as part of their social affective strategy?MethodA survey was distributed, which included the following questions:1) On a scale of 1 - 10 how likely are you toa) take a similar language course in the future?b) recommend this course to others?
Survey results, cont.2) Did you feel that you had more or less opportunity to practice your languageskills in this course, compared to other language courses you’ve taken?3) How did you feel about interactions with your classmates and overseaspartners during group and private meetingsa) at the beginning of the course; b) at the end of the course?4) What was the most challenging aspect of the course and how did you copewith it?5) What were the most and the least usefu----l assignments?
Were the course expectations met?How did you feel about interactions with your classmates andoverseas partners during group and private meetingsa) at the beginning of the course; b) at the end of the course?
Challenges reported by students• Connecting with partners (time difference)• Communication (undeveloped language skills)• Technology (connectivity problems)• Homework (preparation time)• Motivation mismatch (different educationalstandards in organization and evaluation)
Tasks and opportunity to practice language skillsWhat were the most usefu----l assignments ? 55% students reported communicating with native speakers 45% mentioned presentations (especially on ‘History’ and ‘Student life’)Wh--at were the least useful and why?o the chapters in the book and writing in the blog received the most controversialevaluations, for example:‘The Wordpress blog was the most effective because everyone was able to use itand you could read their blogs to see what they talked about with their partners. Iliked that the most, but it was also the least effective because not everyone postedon their blog, thus making it pointless.’Did you feel that you had more or less opportunity to practice your language skillsin this course, compared to other language courses you’ve taken? 85% reported they had more opportunity to practice language skills in thiscourse than in other language courses.
Online affective strategiesOnline affective strategies included:• using humor for topic discussions and in presentations (reducing anxiety)• structured tasks (reducing anxiety)• choosing topics relevant to students life (relevance/motivation)• getting in contact with a NS partner via email and videoconference(self-confidence, motivation)• blogging, reporting on communication with a NS partner (self-confidence)• collaborating with overseas partner in a shared multimedia workplace—blog, whiteboard, chat (attention/motivation)• goal orientation through creating a product (relevance/motivation)
Discussion 40% of students felt anxious and nervous before the group meetingsstarted; at the end of the course all of them overcame their fear 80% of students were very excited before one-to-one meetings and about 40% felt frustration at the end of the courseExplanationo The main obstacle for one-to-one meeting was matching students’schedules, while group meetings had a fixed meeting time.o Second, students were able to prepare better for group discussions (usuallypresentations).o Third, group meetings were better structured than one-to-one meetings, whichseemed a safer format for low-language-proficiency students.o Finally, group meetings had more potential for ‘psychological arousal’. There weremore opportunities for interaction: with the Russian and American teacher, thegroups, the one-to-one partner. This environment offered diverse and non-standard emotional exchange.
ConclusionsThe majority of students were satisfied with the course.The essential components for students satisfaction (and as a result,motivation to learn the language) with the course were:a) topic relevance to students interestsb) opportunity to communicate with NS partnersc) opportunity to work and present a product
Conclusions, cont.The collaborative project contributed to studentsself confidence but with limitations: more opportunitiesshould be afforded for creating an environment forgroup work and a sense of belonging to a community.Failure of one of the partners to cooperatediminishes personal control and reduces confidence.Level of anxiety decreases significantly whenstudents are afforded regular and fixed meetings with amore structured task.
Research Question 4:focus on cognitive strategiesQuery: How does students’ employment of cognitive strategies in collaboration with nativespeakers affect text interpretation?MethodStudents were given the following text interpretation task:1. Translate the poem and describe the cultural references on your own or from consulting theWeb.2. Hand in the preliminary work to your professor.3. Meet with your partner(s) and ask them to help you with the translation and the culturalreferences.4. Complete the translation and fill in the missing cultural references with the help of yourpartner.5. Hand in or publish in the blog the edited version of your translation and cultural comments.
Preliminary resultsBefore the meeting After the meetingStudent 1 8 22Student 2 9 24Student 3 12 19Student 4 8 15Student 5 7 20Student 6 8 20Student 7 11 21Student 8 15 19Student 9 16 20Student 10 15 20mean 11 20Number of culture references students were aware of before and aftermeeting with a native speaker
ConclusionsStudents who employed a set of cognitive and social strategies:o experienced decrease in the cognitive load involved in referencing,searching, and analyzing information necessary for text interpretation.o provided significantly more cultural references than the studentswho either didn’t meet with native speakers or than themselves,before they met with their partners.