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|Title:||Artificial versus Real Communication in Elementary Foreign Language Classes|
|Advisor:||Widmaier, F. T.|
|Keywords:||German;German Language and Literature;German Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>The purpose of this study was to investigate the types and amounts of speaking activities in which beginning foreign language students engage, in order to determine how and to what extent students practice the language artificially in drills, directed dialogues and other forms of pseudo-communication, and how and to what extent they use the foreign language as a real means of communication.</p> <p>Seventeen grade 10 and grade 11 German classes in Hamilton-Wentworth publicly supported secondary schools were observed, and teacher questionnaires were completed by twenty local German teachers to verify the accuracy of the observations.</p> <p>The results of the observations and the questionnaires reveal that student talk in elementary foreign language classes is largely in the foreign language (86%),<br />but that this talk falls almost exclusively in the artificial range (98%). Only 2% of everything spoken by the students in grade 10 classes was real communication in the target language. Further, the data indicate that real communication activities do not increase substantially at the grade 11 level.</p> <p>Student exposure to real uses of the foreign language occurred primarily in the form of listening comprehension, in that 75% of all real communication spoken in German in<br />the grade 10 classes was the teacher giving instructions or making explanations. Even in this category, teachers used more English than German (61% English). In general a tendency was shovm both by teachers and students to use English whenever real communication was intended.</p> <p>Real communication is believed to be essential both to student motivation and to student achievement at the earliest stages of foreign language learning. Yet real<br />communication activities rarely occurred in the beginning foreign language classes observed in this study. Teachers cited two major obstacles in achieving real communication with their first year students: their limited vocabulary and their limited knowledge of structure. Teachers who overcame these two obstacles in the observations achieved real communication via the following technique: by using the vocabulary and structure from a drill, text, or dialogue which the students had already mastered to ask the students personal questions. This technique may be utilized as a follow-up step to every practice activity from the beginning of foreign language study and needs only to be planned and practiced regularly for real communication in elementary foreign language classes to substantially increase.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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