A theoretical rationale for the application of computer mediated communication (CMC) in English for specific purposes (ESP) setting.

Year: 2001

Author: Hamzah, Masputeriah

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The paper reports on a theoretical framework underpinning the application of CMC in English for Civil Engineering learning environment. The study is based on the premise that no matter how advanced the capabilities of the present computer technology, they should not determine language-teaching practices. The application of technology in language learning should be guided by sound pedagogical principles and methodological approaches informed by second language acquisition theory. For the purpose of this study, the Interactionist Theory of language acquisition is adopted. Proponents of the interactionist perspective of second language acquisition (SLA) assert that in order for interlanguage development to occur, learners need to interact in order to give them the opportunity to negotiate meaning for comprehensible input, test hypotheses related to their developing interlanguage system and have access to feedback related to their output. Various studies have shown that computers are changing the way that learners can use language in interaction, which can be facilitative for language acquisition.

The theoretical framework adopted will thus provide the basis for examining the nature of language, learning and interaction fostered in the CMC environment.