Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL): the effect of ESL students' use of interactional modifications on listening comprehension

Hsu, Jing-Fong
Major Professor
A. Thompson
Committee Member
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Curriculum and Instruction

Theory and research on second language acquisition (SLA) indicates that modification in the interactions between second language (L2) students and native speakers may have a positive influence on their acquisition of language (Long, 1983; Allright, 1991; Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991). However, there is not enough opportunity for interactional modifications in the L2 classroom because there is only one native speaker for many students, making it impossible for teachers to engage in numerous interactional modifications with individual students.;CALL developers claim that CALL offers an environment in which an L2 student can participate in interactive learning (Ahmad, 1985; Kenning, 1990). In particular some computer software provides comprehension tools which allow L2 students to request modification of the input they receive in order to aid their comprehension. In theory, such tools are ideal for SLA; however, in practice, little is known about how students actually interact in such environments.;The purposes of this study were to examine (1) if L2 students request modifications of the input they hear while working on a computer-based listening exercise, and (2) if these interactional computerized modifications help L2 students' listening comprehension and language acquisition. Data were collected from 15 ESL students by using a one group pretest-posttest research design. Findings from this study suggested that L2 students used the tools made available by computer technology to make input comprehensible. This study also supported SLA researchers' hypotheses that modifications promote comprehensible input and language acquisition. In particular, this study found that the text reinforcement type modifications were effective for beginning level ESL students in listening comprehension.