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Fostering Interactions with Native Speakers in CEGEP Language Classes

Session régulière / Regular Session
3:30 PM, Tuesday 21 May 2019 (40 minutes)

Fostering Interactions with Native Speakers in CEGEP Language Classes

Our project, funded by Entente Canada-Québec, aims to create a virtual community of practice to assist CEGEP teachers in fostering interactions between students and native speakers. The first part of this project has involved a series of filmed group and individual interviews with language teachers in order to better understand how interactions with native speakers are incorporated into practice and how and why teachers developed these practices. The footage of these interviews will be edited into short, thematically organized web capsules, which will serve as the basis for the online community of practice.

The motivated, autonomous language learner can now hear and interact with native speakers from anywhere in the world through a variety of online platforms such as multiplayer online gaming, social media, language learning websites and mobile applications, online tutoring, streaming services for music, movies and series, etc. As language exposure becomes increasingly more accessible, learners rely less on teachers and classrooms for learning (Cole & Vanderplank, 2016; Stevens & Shield, 2010). Yet, while students are now able to learn on their own, they still benefit from the help of teachers to access and evaluate resources, to improve language learning strategies and to stay motivated (Bailly, 2011). In other words, the ideal situation may be one in which students benefit from a combination of formal, structured classroom learning as well as informal, autonomous, authentic outside-of-class interaction, particularly when each one informs and reinforces the other.

The research component of our project aims to understand CEGEP language teachers’ perceptions of practices that involve interactions between students and native speakers. Working with six different CEGEPs in the Montreal and Quebec City areas, we recruited 21 participants who engage students in learning activities that involve interaction with native speakers, including study abroad programs, English-language internships, community-based projects, volunteering, language monitors and guest speakers. Data, based on group interviews and individual interviews, was subjected to a complementary analysis (Maxwell & Miller, 2008) using constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006) and narrative restorying (Creswell, 2013).

Preliminary findings indicate that teachers develop and maintain opportunities for interaction with native speakers for a variety of reasons, including increasing their students’ motivation and engagement, as well as for the teachers’ own personal and professional fulfillment and growth. However, despite the perceived benefits of these teaching methods, on multiple occasions, our participants also criticized the need for interaction with native speakers and questioned the parameters of our study.

UQAM - École de langues
Maître de langue
Cegep Andre-Laurendeau
Cégep du Vieux Montréal
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