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The aim of the research is to investigate the value of online enhanced corrective feedback for non-native speakers of English. It is studying in three areas which are the quality of their interaction online, their perceptions and the challengers encountered. The research is done as when the researcher found that many foreign students in many western universities having poor language skills and experienced culture shock. Due to this problem, they do not know what is appropriate and what is not. Hence, this investigation on the value of online enhanced corrective feedback (OECF) is to develop their language skills and get them to socialize positively with the hosting students while pursuing their academic courses.
The researcher used qualitative and quantitative tools to gather data in his study. The Conversation Analysis and end-project survey as the two main instruments used both for NNSs and NSs. Conversation Analysis takes into account of the three aspects of interaction in order to maintain the quality discourse. There are (1) initiations of topics, (2) requests for clarification and (3) elaborated answers to questions. To sustain the language awareness, the analysis included self-correction, approvals as preferred responses and incorporations of the corrected form or meaning. The data collected was from week one to week eight. As for the end-project survey, the researcher wants to know the insights on the value of OECF from both NNSs and NSs perspectives. By getting the subjects to interact, the researcher was selected MSN messenger for online interactive tools as it is practical to the users. However, participants were reminded not to use their private emails for this project. Due to this, participants were given an option to open new accounts on hotmail and activate new MSN messenger.
The participants were the international students from the Language Centre of the University of Dundee. They were ten students from diverse background; seven Chinese, one Italian, and two Indians. They were middle adolescent with little contact with NSs of English and had no friends as NSs to socialize with. Whereas, for the tutoring group or NS comprised of six students from the student community of the University of Dundee and four were from the university staff members. Most of the tutors were from Scotland and only two came from the non English speaking backgrounds, however according to their bio-data that they possessed a good command of English and understanding well of the British culture.
The procedures are used by the researcher is the peer tutoring technique in which tutors are matched with NNSs. Both are interacting using the online MSN messenger in turn-taking. They are presenting their ideas and perspectives like asking question, provide information and so on as though they are engaging in talking but in other way they are communicating by typing the message online. In a conversation analysis, participants are identified for their language awareness such as interlocutors are getting feedback for their grammatical and semantic inaccuracies. Furthermore, in this article, OECF is adopted few strategies from negotiated meaning when a social interaction emphasized negotiated meaning in a cognitive process (Long, 1996). NNSs have the effort to self-correct if they are recognizing any errors during the communication. These feedbacks could assist them in their academic achievements. NNSs would be able to practice their English of no fear to be embarrassed when there are mistakes because they are not speaking to the NS directly but by typing the messages. For the end-project survey, the researcher developed survey in a form of questionnaire with a five point Likert scale ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree to measure NNSsâ€™ and NSs perspectives and attitudes. In the question, they will indicate their level of satisfaction by ranking it from 1 to 5 in which 5 is the highest score.
The analysis is considered in the eight-week intervention. In the study of quality participation, it showed that conversation was not being monopolized by the NS when NNSs were contributing as much as their tutor peers; whereby they were given time to think, formulate and type their messages. NNSs were able to change the flow of their online conversation by initiating topics and asked for clarification if there was any misunderstanding occurred. However, it also indicated that NNSs were effortless to take initiatives in changing topics and asking questions due to their lack of self-confidence in communicating in English, hence they anticipated the tutors to do most of changing topics. Next, in language awareness study, results indicated that NNSs had time to read, reflect, memorize and expand their English language knowledge repertoire. NNSs were able to read their NS tutorsâ€™ postings, extract, generate, exchange and build meaning from the authentic environment. Finally, the results from the end-of-semester surveys showed that both NSs and NNSs had a positive experience while engaged in this project. NNSs feedback on this project had offered them a socially and linguistically rich environment to practice the target language. According to NNSs, the text-based communication provided a positive impact in improving both their writing and reading skills and also on their speaking skills. They perceived those as an effective way not only to exchange ideas and to ask for and clarify information but also to express and support their points of view. Indeed, their mistakes were noticed and they were able to be self-corrected.
With regards to the IT requirements in this century, the research does interest me. However, there are pros and cons to be considered to carry out this study. Talking about the benefits from this study, it is appropriate method for reducing anxiety in students learning English. NNSs especially will not feel shy or embarrass if they make mistakes in forming the syntactical sentences when they are not interact face to face with the NSs.
According to the findings, it was a positive feedback from NNSs on this research project. They said that it gave a good implication in their English learning and improving both their writing and reading skills so as their speaking skills. However, based from my opinion the research did not well conducted. The first reason is, by looking from the aspects of experimental validity, the findings were not valid. This is reported in this article that during the project has started, there were participants drop out from the project and leaving only five pairs to continue. The results from the findings were only based from the five pairs instead of ten pairs. The sampling drawing was ineffective to obtain the satisfaction analysis on this study. Second, the researcher indicated that he is using both qualitative and quantitative methods in his research study. Hence, the study should comply with two groups.1 group which is called the experimental group is given a treatment and 1 group which is called the control group does not receive any treatment. Then, the results of the findings can be acceptable of whether the OECF really meet it objectives. Third, the researcher should briefs the purposed outline of the study in order to get the good participation from the participants. The researcher should aware of the different backgrounds of the NNSs participants to be matched with NSs tutors. I suggested that age is to consider for selecting the NSs because according to the articles, there were four NS in their twenties and one in his late teens. Perhaps, the researcher should see on the maturity because I believe when younger NSs involves with the NNSs difficulties in initiate a conversation, thus NSs will be easily get bored and they have the tendency of initiating topics that are more relevant to their age. Hence, the conversation failed to converse effectively when NNSs will take a long time to think about the ideas that they need to bring out. According to the activities presented in the research article, I think the activities should be enriched with more authentic topics, produce more light readings to the NNSs which related to the current issues and reading passages that could provoke NNSs feedback instantly without delay. In addition, to obtain more concise results, the period of study analysis shall be extended to week 12 instead of week 8 therefore numerous activities could be planned.
In general this research provides an opportunity for the higher education students to enhance their communication skills especially in writing and speaking. Beforehand, the researcher should clearly determine his/her objectives and what sort of research method that is applicable and appropriate for the study. Often, we found that even though students had learnt English during a school time but they were still facing problems to acquire the language fluency and accuracy. Therefore, this research project is seen as the appropriate exercises for students to modify their flaws in English language when they are able to express their ideas and giving their thoughts from the activities designed. They are involving in two ways communication in which their mistakes are being corrected by the experts or so called the tutors.
On the hand of Malaysian contexts, in order to implement this activities, the teacher shall look closely on the learner interests whereby the topics to be discussed must be authentic, short and simple but is able to challenge their views and able to encourage them to make comments. As a result, they learn more, understand the grammatical course in the sentences and learn new vocabulary each time. Learning English should be fun.