The purpose of this study is to investigate whether chat room sessions can enhance vocabulary acquisition while learning the Spanish language. This quasi-experimental study took place in a Modern Languages department in a small university in mid-west U.S.A. Subjects included two identical classes of fourth semester Spanish. One class was the control group where no chat room sessions were used, while the experimental group used a chat session once a week. Both groups of students studied Spanish three days a week and they had the same instructor. Chat room sessions consisted of conversation on a previous topic selected by the instructor. The latter gave students in the experimental group reading selections on the topic a week before chat, so students could read and get prepared to chat a week later. The control group had the same reading selections, but instead of going to a computer, they chatted in the classroom.
Instructor video-taped these conversations for later transcription and analysis.
Chat logs from the experimental group were printed for later analysis as well.
Conversation topics included: the environment, health, the city, jobs,Spanish literature, Spanish singers,and marriage.
Results showed a significant difference in vocabulary acquisition and enhancement in the experimental group versus the control group. Accordingly,
the author concluded that students in the experimental group used a larger amount, and a higher variety of words during chat sessions. According to students' surveys, positive results in the experimental group were probably due to the freedom and spontaneity of the technological tool.
|Keywords:||Vocabulary, Chat, Traditional, Spanish, Learning|
Associate Professor of Methods and Spanish, Modern Languages and Literatures, Emporia State University, USA
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