Conducted by Champion, Nicole, Shirley and Queenie

Not the building CMC (Creative Media Center) located in CityU, the CMC that we will talk about in the following passage is computer-mediated communication. Computer-mediated communication was defined as “a vehicle for the metaphorical construction of community, the crafting of multiple personae and collective identities, and the assumption of social roles in the temporal frame of on-line exchanges” in Lam’s (2000) case study. She walked through a teenager’s language learning journey based on her perception of this term.

Almon, a Chinese teenager, immigrated from Hong Kong to the United States with his parents and younger brother at the age of 12. He found it difficult to fit into his surroundings, which also aggravated his low language proficiency in the classroom. He was not good at expressing himself in English and worried about his future, wondering if he could ever find a job with his present language competence.

However, six months after he found out about the Internet and learned to make a personal home page and conduct online chat, he told Lam that “I can express myself much more easier now…it’s because of ICQ or email or other reasons…” (Lam, 2000). How did he do this?

  Image credit: Dejan Krsmanovic    CC-BY

During the interview, Almon said that he conducted a personal home page about a Japanese pop singer. Through this website, he could share the singer’s portfolio, pictures, songs, videos and even some other singers’ videos that he liked. At the same time, there were many netizens from all over the world visiting his home page and sharing their own opinions in English. They could chat online and write emails to one another, sharing not only about common hobbies but also their personal experiences and issues. They were like online pen pals talking in writing.

During this process, Almon found that ” it’s easier for me to write out something now…[to] express better.” Lam interpreted that “the qualitatively different relationship to English came with a newly discovered ability to express himself in writing via the electronic media…” (Lam, 2000).

In this case, the application of CMC with its affordances and constraints is described below:



  • A sense of belonging is generated during the process that Almon builds his home page. Although he was at a marginalized position in the US society, Almon realized that he has the ability to contribute to J-pop in a virtual community.
  •  Connectedness to a global English-speaking community can be regarded as the driving force for his huge progress in English proficiency. Computers and the Internet create a virtual space in which language learners have access to authentic communication with native speakers of the target language (Chun, 1994). In order to exchange ideas about J-pop worldwide, Almon wrote his home page in English. And in the process of communicating in English, he utilized his English competence into practice out of class and unconsciously improved his writing skills.
  • Low affective filter is the incentive in this case. According to Krashen (2009), motivation, self-confidence and anxiety are the most important elements in language acquisition or language learning. Almon found it easier to express himself in English online than face-to-face because it was less anxious and stressful. In this way, he felt more confident to communicate in English via emailing and texting. Moreover, sharing information to the J-pop community motivated him to get more exposure to English which in turn enhanced his English proficiency.


  • Blending into the US society leads to the surprising outcome of his writing in English online. At the very beginning, he viewed himself as an outsider due to his poor English compared with the native speakers around him. Accompanied by the J-pop community, he felt like an insider online and gradually gained confidence. Fortunately, with his enhancement of English proficiency via adequate practice in the target language, he could now share opinions with native speakers in his real life. Through CMC, the shift of identity of an insider from online to offline becomes achievable.


  •  Though writing on the Internet plays a big role in learning L2, there are still some constraints. By learning from the Internet, it requires students’ self-monitoring and self-regulation ability without teachers’ supervision. For those autonomic learners like Almon, the Internet does give access to a great mass of information for learning. However, it should be considered whether it is still feasible when applied to all students including those with lower self-regulation competence.


It was a beautiful coincidence when Almon noticed visible improvements in his English as he was engaging in CMC with his new identity. A lot of people are involved in online activities from different places in the world. Their English is more appropriate in the setting of modern society, and it is easier for Almon to have a sense of belonging which truly encourages his subsequent language learning.

In the cyber world, it might be the case that it is hard to apply what we have learned in class. However, the English skills taught in class laid a foundation for Almon’s online text-based communication. We have to admit that traditional education has its strengths. However, its drawback is also what we should never neglect. As is said in Lam’s (2000)  work, schools get the student prepared for the workplace and the civic involvement, while the internet provides students with opportunities to be a part of the modern English-speaking community. The two are a complement to each other. It may become a trend for SLL (Second language learner) to adopt the CMC in the SLA (Second language acquisition) class or to use it after class as a tool in the future. After all, having access to the authentic English speaking world is always attractive to English learners and it will be a desired state if they can talk in text and learn through the net!

Questions for discussion

  1. Could you share similar teaching or learning experiences via CMC?
  2. Do you think that CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching? Why or why not?

53 thoughts on “CMC–Talking in Text, Learning by Net

  1. I think the low affective filter is the most important one for me among the three listed above. I teach myself Japanese to junior level. Feeling shy to communicate to native speakers face to face, I seldom talk with them in reality. However, I feel less shy and stressful when I interact with native speakers online. I would say that CMC is helpful for me. In CMC, I initially express myself in Japanese to my utmost for idea exchanging and they are willing to help me with grammar and vocabulary. In this way, I not only enhance my Japanese proficiency but also build intimate relationships with friends that we only meet online.

    • I totally agree with you. I am really shy and uncomfortable with strangers. I feel like suffocating whenever I speak in public (can’t imagine I am going to be a teacher OMG). The truth is that interacting with complete strangers is impossible for me. However, I am such a different person online(QAQ I think I have provided you with evidence by typing these words). I can be out-going, humorous and talkative online because I know there is no one looking directly at me. I wish someday I can be myself- internet version of me.

  2. I don’t think that CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching. The use of CMC really depends on the personality and language level of learners. Just as mentioned above in the blog, studnets lacking self-regulation may not follow the teacher’s guidance of using CMC as a helpful method. Furthermore, it may not be a useful method for learners who are at the very beginning level. But I hold the positive attitude on using CMC as a supplementary method in after-class activities.

    • Thanks for your comment, Charlene. I agree with you that CMC approach may not be suitable for students who are lack of self-regulation capacity. But in the meantime, I am still wondering that if there are other help we can find to be the auxiliary methods in order to exert the best out of CMC. For example, help from other stakeholders like parents. As for beginners, I think students now are quite familiar with new technology from a really young age. They might perform beyond our imagination.

  3. Thank you for sharing Almon’s story! I suppose I do learn something about English from both the synchronous and asynchronous interaction with native speakers or advanced English users. For example, I acquire some authentic expressions when I text messages with British friends and I learn how to write a formal email in English when I communicate with my colleagues or superiors via emails. However, I am not quite sure whether I truly improve my linguistic competency because I rarely practice or use what I have learned from CMC.

    • Thanks for your comment, Amanda. I think it is widely agreed by us and teachers that acquiring the knowledge and skill does not mean that you already own it. We have to also know how to use it correctly and efficiently. I think in your case, maybe you can still practice the native expressions by sharing your peers like us(like what you are doing everyday in your Moments) or writing formal emails to our teachers. So you can own this knowledge better.

  4. Nice sharing, thank you for your group.
    Personally, I have similar learning experiences through using Instagram. As majoring in English, I really want some ways to communicate with others using English. When I use Instagram, I only use English to post, sharing my daily life and have got to know some friends who are from different countries. We can use English to communicate even though some of them are not native speakers of English. With CMC, we can participate in different speech communities which we can hardly achieve in daily life.
    However, I do not agree to use CMC as the main method to teach language. I think teacher should consider the age of the learners and the Internet communicative environment. When teaching some younger learners, they may still do not have good self-management and may become addicted to using the net. They cannot focus just on learning. Also, the information shown by netizens is pretty open to the public and it is of wide range, so some may have negative effect on children and teens.

    • Thanks for your sharing!
      I totally agree with you that nowadays the Internet environment is not friendly to young learners who are lack of self-regulation ability and couldn’t identify what they can benefit from and what not. So, do you agree that the activities under the regulation of teachers, like the blog Christoph created for us, are also good for young students?

    • Yes, I think if the digital activities will be monitored and facilitated by the teacher, then they can be much better for students to concentrate on the learning purpose.

  5. Thanks for your inspiring sharing. As we’re living in an era of internet, I believe everyone has experiences about using computer to learn something. Personally, I prefer TED and some social media like twitter, since I can see what’s happening over the world. But I don’t think it’s an effective way to learn languages. For me, I mainly focus on the information which conveyed through the language rather than the language itself. So, I’m not sure to what extent people treat themselves as “language learners” when using CMC.
    Therefore, I don’t think it should be a main teaching method, especially for teenagers. The first reason would be teenagers may don’t know how to choose right message from massive online information. And also, as an authentic way of communicating, language online always not that grammatically-formed which could lead to misunderstanding for students. However, I do agree all the benefits of CMC as the case showed. So teachers may use this as supplementary teaching activities for those elder students who possess higher ability to justify and manage themselves.

    • Hi Zoe – thanks for this. It sounds like you feel that teenagers may have a need to improve their literacy skills when consuming information on the internet (“they don’t know how to choose right message from massive online information”). But at the same time, you feel that using CMC in language education is only suitable for “elder students”. Is there a possible contradiction here?

  6. Personally,I don’t think it can be a main teaching method.

    I do admitted that the experience of Almon improve his language skills in a way but more focus on social purposes. Sometimes I will chat with my friend in another country online and also communicate with the netizens on Twitter and facebook. Through the internet, I can learn a lot of interesting abbreviations and expressions. But the use of language on the internet can be consider as informal in a way especially for social purposes.

    As for the academic purposes, CMC can’t fulfill all the needs of the students. If we truly want to acquire a language, what we need to use it not only for the social purposes but also need to know some grammatical rules and linguistics elements. These goals can not be achieved easily through CMC but need to be guided by the professions no matter from the traditional classrooms or the online professional courses. Also, CMC can easily distract the learners’ attention especially the teenagers. And i think when using CMC no matter in class or after class, it is hard to define what purposes we are focusing through this technique.

    • Thank you so much for you comment, Pat!
      I think CMC can fulfill the academic purposes better for elder learners, for instance, us. I think we are now communicating through computer and other electronic devices for exchanging our ideas.

      As to young learners, CMC might served as a auxiliary method for them to use what they have learned in the classroom like some authentic conversations, promote their interests in learning and build confidence in the early stage.

  7. Thanks for your sharing! Nice shot!👍

    Well, I myself will use some websites or some apps to find some native speakers who can help me improve my English, either about speaking skills or some text-message editing skills. And I found the function to some extent is quite good, cuz I can get familiar about the language itself and in addition, get to know some cultural background of this language or English-speaking countries. What’s more, chatting with native speakers online is less stressful when it comparing to face-to-face, for I do not necessary to know the appearance of the one who is talking to me.

    However, it is not deniable that the environment of the network is not always harmonious, there will always be someone who is not easy to communicate or the purpose of their communication is not that pure.

    Therefore, concerning this point, I do not think that CMC can be the main method to teach the language. Because there are a lot of uncontrollable factors online which would not easily be managed in the short term. But it can not limit my access to using online sources and some platforms which can rich my language learning. 😁

  8. Thanks a lot for your group’s post!

    I did not have any learning experience through CMC as internet was not as powerful as it is now when I was studying in secondary school.

    But as a teacher, I usually observe that there are some students who likes watching youtube video clips of different topics like science, programmes, buses and etc frequently share their opinions with native speakers with the same hobbies online. Those students usually have high proficiency in English listening and speaking. Their excellent performances really make me agree that CMC is a good way to learn English.

    However, there are two constraints if I want to utilize CMC as a main teaching means.

    The first one is that some of the students in my class are really weak in English. They do not have a foundation which affords them to conduct even simple conversations with native speakers. It makes learning language through CMC not feasible as effective communication is a key element in this method.

    The second one is that the students only take the initiative to share their opinions if the interlocutors can share the topics which they are interested in. One time, I encouraged several students who are quite good at English to join a summer programme in which some foreign university students flew to Hong Kong to teach our local student for a month. After the programme, I asked them to keep contact with those foreign university students. However, I found that most of them could not keep contact with those university students. Their reasons are: 1. They did not have common interest / topics. So, gradually they have nothing to say to each other; 2. They did not have very sound friendship with those tutors. Gradually, they would not share their personal lives to each other. Only students who treasure the chance to communicate with native speakers / are eager to share their opinions on common hobbies or topics can keep contact with foreign tutors for a long time, even up to now. I do not want to become a teacher who compulsorily force students to do something they are not interested in because this teaching method may not be suitable for the whole class which has a great diversity on students’ English level, personalities and interests. But I will still encourage some of my students who have abilities and potentials to learn through CMC independently outside the classroom.

  9. Thanks for your post. It is very useful.

    As I noticed, the conclusion of your post has provided an answer to the second question. Traditional schooling and CMC are complementary; meanwhile, personally, a formal educational setting serves as the major method in language teaching for several reasons.

    One, the educational policies matter. Second, the majority of students from primary schools lack the abilities of self-discipline and self-control. Third, in reality, as I know, a small number of families are unable to support any electronic devices due to financial concerns. Even though CMC is supplementary in language teaching for teachers, schools/EDB have to figure out a way to help the students to solve the problem like providing them financial aids or offering a computer room for students in need.

    • I agree that the lack of self-discipline is one of the key reasons why most of the students cannot use CMC to learn English effectively in their free time. According to my observation, even though other teachers and I introduce most of my students some little mobile phone games about learning English vocabulary or other subject knowledge, they can’t control themselves. Once my students get their mobile phone in hand, they just use it for chatting, wathicng funny video clips or playing games but not for other functions at all.

    • @Ivory – that’s too bad. How old are the students you teach? Do you think any of them use the Internet for communication in their spare time? Have you ever tried involving them in projects to create something that they can share over the internet with a real audience? The blog that we saw in class seems like a good example of an engaging CMC project that could be used with primary school students.

  10. Thanks for your group’s nice post with an example of Almon to illustrate what is language learning through CMC!

    As for me, I find it difficult for CMC to be the main method for language teaching actually. For example, when student text or send message through wechat or WhatsApp with native speakers, through which they may have the opportunity to learn some local expressions, this type of language learning is not systematic at all. The knowledge the learners exposed to is odd and therefore, it is not conducive for their language learning.

    However, CMC can serve as an additional measure for learners to stimulate their interests towards language learning choosing whatever they want to learn.

    • Thanks for your sharing. Maybe in the traditional class, it is still a little difficult for CMC as the main method.

      But there are a lot of cases take CMC as the main method. for example, teaching online through Internet is one of the cases.

      My friend-Candy, she is learning oral English through Internet from a native speaker living in America. For on reason is that she is working and she is too busy to take the traditional class. For another reason is that she think learning from native speaker will be better for oral English improvement.

  11. Thanks for your sharing! It is hard to learn language or achieve learning goals only with CMC because this way acquires high demand for self-regulation. When I would like to learn language, i will have high efficiency of learning once I pay full attention to the process. But actually, that period can only last for one or two hours. So I think learning in CMC can be the way to learn language in the spare time and a formal educating method is also indispensable. combing these two ways can be the suitable way for learners to learn language.

    • Hi! Chelsey, I agree with you that using CMC requires students to be self-disciplined. And I think, sometimes, even for our grown-ups, it is a little bit hard to be fully concentrated on learning while using the CMC. I like the idea to combine CMC and formal classes. But I think it would also become a challenge for teachers since they have to take various things into consideration. For example, teachers need to include the activities in CMC as a part of their lesson plan, and they have to consider questions like how to evaluate the results (I wonder if teachers can set up a group account for students so that they can check the activities results). :)))

    • Thanks for your comment, I agree on your idea. The formal education is so important for the students that it can serve as a basement for their further studying and should not be neglected at all! Mean while, the CMC can provide more opportunities and can serve as a complimentary platform for their after-class study!

  12. I once signed up in a website for people from all over the world who want to learn language to make friends and improve language proficiency. Through this website, I knew a guy from Roma who want to improve his Chinese and we chatted a lot through Internet. After months, I found out I became good at and confident in typing text in English while my oral English was still at the same level. The content we discussed was not so varied or rich, and due to this reason, we chatted little by little. At last, we disconnected. I believe CMC will somewhat be beneficial for language learning but not in a comprehensive way. Most importantly, it’s quite hard for users to find the partner who hold the pure purpose of learning language and have the perseverance to practice.

    I don’t think CMC could be used as the main method, but it could be a complementation to traditional methods. If use CMC appropriately, users can meet with numerous learners who share the same interest. But as I mentioned above, CMC is not comprehensive enough for language learners on a long view. It may improve writing or vocabulary, but neglects the building of confidence and correctness of pronunciation during the speaking part.

  13. Thank you Champion, Nicole, Shirley and Queenie😉

    I would like to answer the first question.
    I am a shy person who are afraid of not performing well in front of others. Because of that, I seldom capture opportunities to talk in English actively till I made friends with a group of native speakers. We “talk” through WeChat message for several months. It reduced my speaking anxiety because I just got time to think and look up into the dictionary or revise my text. One day i started to make jokes with them and they all thought that was awesome (maybe just a compliment ) anyway I took it seriously and suddenly realized that… oh ! I am a humorous English user ! Then, the sense of achievement as being able to express myself gave me the courage to start a real talk.

    • Thanks for you comment,Sophia!
      Maybe someday you can also share with us your joke. hhhh
      Your case is exactly what Almon has been through. You both have built confidence through communicating in Internet which set a safe basement for you start your use of English.
      Personally, I am also a shy person who always want to start conversation with some native speakers but always dare not to. Maybe I will try to find some chances to practice. Anyway, I hope we both can build more confidence in real life and speak better English.

  14. Thanks for your group’s nice post!
    I realize that communication is a great way to improve English, but unfortunately i haven’t got so many chances to chat with people in English online so far. These kind of communications are usually causal and short. It do offer me confidence in chatting in English to some extent. But for most of time, i use internet to listen and learn from others through some websites like TED and YouTube but it is an one direction learning. I also feel a bit inconvenience is that i seldom practice my spoken English online…

    I haven’t got any teaching experiences so far, yet i may more prefer to traditional learning mode and CMC can be a supplementary out-of-class method.

    • Thank for your comments, Lucy. I have the same feeling for you. I also think I haven’t got so many chances to chat with the native speakers to learn English from the Internet.

      But if you really want to chat with native speakers to practice your English, I think you can use Facebook and add some friends. Maybe some of them are willing to tak with you.

  15. Thanks for your guys hard work!!! I would say that CMC can be used as a supplement for language teaching rather than a main method. Of course there are some advantages about CMC, just as you guys mentioned. However, online environment is much more complicated and teacher cant make sure that the input would be beneficial for students. As we know web context is more tolorent to language mistakes, there is also a risk that students learn much more informal and even incorrect expressions online. What’s more, even fast and convenient as internet is, it still needs some time to recieve other’s feedback. In this sense, it might not be that efficient as we think. But CMC is still a good method for teachers to use for their teaching to increase students’ interest to the class.

  16. Thanks for sharing! I do have the learning experience via CMC. When I prepared IELTS, I took some free online classes on Youdao. I did learn some strategies in doing listening and reading tests as well as some useful expressions in speaking and writing. However, I don’t think that CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching because we need to take age into consideration. Children and teenagers may not manage their learning and leisure time well, and they are likely to spend too much time on entertainment, such as playing digital games, watching online TV shows.

  17. I really feel for this article because I relate to it so much! That is how i started bettering English by approaching native speakers online who have similar interest with me. It is much easier than just talking to whoever. With common interest, you guys can relate to each other and vibe better! It is easier to make friends with them! CMC is really a good way to improve your language. I would recommend this goodie to anyone who is struggling with learning languages!

    • Thanks for your sharing. From the comment, I can see that you have the experience to chat with native speakers from the Internet. I also want to have more chances to approach to them. I am wondering how do you do that. Do you add friends from Facebook? Or what apps? It will be nice for your answer.

  18. Although nowadays CMC includes all kinds of ways of communication via computer-mediated formats (emails, instant messaging, email, chat rooms, online forums, social network services), I do not rely on the on-line communication to improve my language proficiency. I only browse the websites and watch Youtube videos, but seldom leave a comment on after reading the articles or watching the videos.

    Well, for me, CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching in certain circumstances, such as online long-distance education where teacher and students log on to online chatrooms for language learning. It would be better if everyone has a webcam, so that they can communicate both orally and in written form when language form is emphasized.

    • Thanks for your interesting comment. When talking about whether CMC can be the main method, most students in our class hold a negative opinion. But you think sometimes it can be the main method and also give an example, which I think it is quite good, for I never think of that.

      Besides, you mentioned you once learned English by CMC. Have you used CMC to improve your spoken English. Actually I am quite admire your spoken English. How do you practice your oral English? Can you share for us? Thanks

  19. Thank you so much for your post and sharing! Computer mediated communication can actually provide a safe and relaxing environment for learners to practice both their spoken and written English. In the past I usually chatted with foreigners through some social websites. However, when I met foreign people in my daily life, I still felt a bit of nervous and could not express my thoughts fluently as online communication always allowed me to have a while to type what I think. Also, when using CMC I cannot practice my pronunciation and listening. At this stage, do you have any suggestions to overcome these difficulties from virtual world to physical world?

  20. Thanks for your group work^^ The example of Almon is typical and clear. Learning language through popular culture is always a good way for teenagers.I have only learnt English via CMC for less than 1 year, and my learning and teaching methods are quite traditional.

    In my opinion, CMC is welcomed by advanced learners after class, for language itself won’t impede the process of communication and their common interests could be focused. For other learners, however, they could be less confident of their language skills and they probably find it impossible to use CMC to improve without strong motivation. What’s worse, corrective feedback and correction of students could be absent via CMC, so that learning outcomes are questioned.Teachers have to balance traditional teaching activities and CMC.

    • Thank you for sharing your idea on CMC, Evelyn^^ I agree with you that it is more effective for advanced learners. But for the learners who are at the beginning level, I think it also can be a way to enhance their language proficiency and confidence as well. Maybe they can start with sharing the vocabulary they have learned. During the process of self-expressing and input-processing, I think it might be the case that a sense of achievement might genrates gradually and learners might become more confident and motivated to learn English.

      I think that teachers could also give students corrective feedback on grammar, word choice and something like that in CMC. The corrective feedback in CMC can be asynchronous (e.g. a comment on student’s home page) or synchronous (e.g. instant online communication). So I might say that corrective feedback exists in CMC but I am not sure about the learning outcomes, whether it is effective or not to give corrective feedback in these way.

    • Thanks for your sharing! I understand the feeling of the shy people, because I am also facing the similar situation. The CMC provides a platform for us to actively participate in the communication and gives us more opportunities to practice what we have learned in class! Although there maybe some limitations, I still find it uesful!

  21. Well. I agree with the idea that CMC cannot be the main method for language teaching. However, just as you’ve mentioned in the post that there are many affordances of using CMC as a method or technique to support teaching. I think the Canvas system that we are using now can be seen as a good example. Since we can share our own thoughts on the Discuss Section, and to some extents, the content we share is formal, though it may not be considered as academic. Anyway, it offers both teachers and students a place to share their ideas and views, as they can interact with each other online. However, these kinds of activities are all on the base of in-class learning and teaching, by which I mean there is a requirement for students’ language proficiency. Therefore, my opinion is, of course, CMC can be regarded as a useful tool for facilitating teaching and learning. The matter is how to combine such tool with activities that can be beneficial to teaching and learning.

  22. Thanks for your sharing! ^▽^
    I don’t think CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching since traditional print-based tools are still playing the dominant role in language teaching and learning.

    Besides, CMC practices are supported by both language proficiency and computer skills, which may pose difficulty to language teachers and learners.

    However, the function and the importance of CMC in language education should not be ignored, so a proper combination of formal language education and CMC is necessary.

    • Hi Joyce. I think teacher should combine traditional language teaching and CMC as well. However, as you said it may pose difficulty to teachers and learner, I consider this can also be a chance for both teachers and students to learn more professional skills and make them upgrade themselves regularly.

  23. Thanks for sharing.
    I’d like to share my own working experience. The students in the place I worked performed better when using the online system to acquire new knowledge, like oral English. They felt at ease and were more confident to speak out. Also, the online programs provided attractive images and flashes which would get students attention and interest, giving them motivation to know more. So CMC has quite a lot of benefits.
    Just like what you mentioned, this method requires great self-regulation, so using it as a main method is not suitable for the existing educational system and the environment. The students are not that mature to control themselves and it is hard to regulate their behaviour.
    In summary, CMC is a good method to facilitate language acquisition, while it should not be the main one.

    • Thanks for your sharing. You mentioned in the comment that your students learned oral English from the Internet. I tried many ways to practice my oral English by CMC like watching American movies and soap opera. But I don’t think it works. My oral English is still poor. So can you share what may be a good way to improve spoken English through Internet?

  24. Thank you for sharing Almon’s story! He is a good example of learning English by CMC.

    However, using informal English online and speaking English in real life are two different things, it’s possible that someone has a high English proficiency communicating online but has a low speaking proficiency. Although the communication online can compensate a lot for kids like Almon, I think the most important thing is the communication in real life. Learning English by CMC can indeed improve students’ written English or ‘silent English’, but there maybe a tendency that students addict to this kind of silent expression which makes them feel comfortable but ignore authentic communication and speaking skills.

    Therefore, I will not use CMC as the main method in language teaching, instead, I’d like to use it as an auxiliary.

    • Thanks for this interesting comment. Your observation that “using informal English online and speaking English in real life are two different things” is what scholars refer to as ‘multiliteracies’ – that is, the idea that we need to learn different ways of reading, writing, and communicating for the different kinds of activities we are engaged in. But you go on to make a distinction between CMC and “communication in real life”. Is CMC somehow not real and authentic?

    • Thank you for sharing ideas on CMC, Bella. I think communicating online is also authentic. People exchange ideas via language in face-to-face talk and online as well. The difference between them is the physical distance.You are worrying that maybe CMC might lead to “Silent English”, aren’t you? But I think it at an different angle. It is beneficial for people who are shy to have face-to-face communication with other English speakers at the very beginning. The low affective filter makes it possible for them to learn more effective. The more progress they make, the more confident they might become. And once they are confident enough, they are willing to communicate with others face-to-face (maybe it is what you mean by “authentic communication).

      And CMC enables them to have a virtual face-to-face talk via FaceTime, Skype and the like. They can not only hear the intonation, the stress of the speakers but also see the body language as well as the facial expressions, which is like a real face-to-face talk though they are in a distance.

      Moreover, CMC is not just for chatting. It can be broader. Take Almon as an example. He publishes his home page about J-pop. Before writing something on his home page, he has to get a lot of input of J-pop in English. After getting adequate input he is writing for information sharing and communiacting with people who have shared interests as well. During this process, he not only improve his English proficiency (both written and oral) but also his confidence. He even takes part in the speech contest. So I dont think that you have to worry that CMC will lead to “Silent English”.

      (Open to your reply^^)

  25. Thanks for the summary for CMC.

    Ostensibly, the benefit of applying CMC in learners’ daily study of language is to help them involve in the practice of language. The more they use, the better their language skills become. Just like the case shows that it also provides people who are shy or less confident with an opportunity to express them. Through the unconscious process, they can really improve their language skills in use. During my college study, one of my roommate was pretty interested in playing net games, but the game platforms usually only use English as the communication tool. For better cooperation and communication with other game members from overseas, he must constantly polish his speaking ability as well as other relevant language abilities. The amazing sideproduct is that he became the top student in speaking with good pronunciation and fluency. I think CMC can be regarded as an initial incentive and a tunnel to use English, and the importance of that is your own willingness to learn and practice.

    Additionally, apart from the constraint that your guys mentioned above, CMC, I believe, can not replace the real face-to-face communication and language teaching. Because unlike face-to-face communication, nonverbal cues like tone and physical gestures, which also contribute to message conveying, are lost through CMC. This could create a psycholgical sense of detachment, which might result in a negative influence on people fitting into the real society.

    • Thank you for sharing ^^, Miles. I want to say some about the constraint part you mentioned above. Though the example in the post is more like a text-based communication, I think CMC is far more flexible. Nowadays, people would like to have a video call like FaceTime or skype. Though they communicate with each other in a distance, they can listen to the tone of the counterparties and see their physical gestures as well. So in this point, I don’t think CMC will generate a psychological sense of detachment. Maybe at the very beginning, the shy people would tend to communicate via typing. But just as like Almon, after he got the confidence, he is willing to go out of his comfort zone and open his mouth to talk with people. And I think CMC also benefits for him to have distant video talk with native speakers. (Just my interpretation Hahahahah)

  26. Thank you for sharing! I don’t think it is a good idea to use CMC as the main method in language teaching though it is a good way for language learners to practice. As we know, the language we used in online communication can be very different from what we learn in traditional English class. Mostly the language we used in online communication is more informal and not standard. To teach standard English, the teachers should not mainly depend on CMC. Besides, the resources and materials students can gain from the CMC is not structured, teachers should still focus on the structured teaching materials. Therefore, I don’t think CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching.

  27. Nice sharing, guys!
    I remember that I have used all kinds of computer-related media for language communication and learning since I have contacted International friends. To be honest, I still feel cowardice to have a voice call with them because I have accustomed to chatting with them in typing words. And you can judge that this chatting way seems to be a kind of writing rather than speaking language. Except it has improved my words spelling and speeded up my reaction towards some conversations, it did not help a lot to my speaking. Similarly, I have registered some online courses on MOOCs, which my professors have uploaded some reading materials and assignments without any verbal lectures or online audiovisual discussions. Therefore, the drillings facilitate my reading skills, but it is not a comprehensive practice for my language learning. These drawbacks I have found from my personal experiences support that the CMC needs a large space for improvement.

    From the perspective of the environment of the traditional class, it is impossible to take CMC as the main teaching method. As many students have mentioned that there are many merits of the traditional class cannot be replaced and ignored. Such as the coordinating ability, time management as well as interpersonal relationship which be built through compromising and coordinating, all of these advantages prove CMC has not attained. And I agree with your points in the conclusion part, the traditional teaching methods and CMC should be mutually assisted. I hope I can take a shot in the future. Anyway, pretty awesome job!

  28. Thanks so much for your wonderful sharing! Well, personally speaking, I don’t think CMC can be used as the main method in language teaching.

    I think there’s no obvious link between communicating efficiently online and in real life. Although nowadays we’ve come into the age of Internet, the essence of communication is to interact with others face to face, otherwise people will get alienated from society. In the text, Almon does make progress in using CMC to improve his language skills, but he may be a particular case. There are many other variable factors, like different self control of learners. Learners who can’t control themselves well can have difficulty in managing time well, as a result they may be easily attracted by the novelty of CMC and can’t pay attention to improve their language skills. Also, there are a lot of learners who prefer a realistic communication instead of interacting with others in a virtual space. So whether CMC is a good way to help students’ learning really varies from person to person. Therefore it can’t be used as the main method in language learning.

  29. Thank you for your sharing! But I don’t think CMC can be the main method in language teaching or learning. I feel that CMC is more related to a casual and informal context that helps learners develop interest in language learning. But for beginners, it’s better for them to receive systematic language knowledge which helps build a solid foundation for their language learning. CMC can be considered as a supplementary teaching method and applied under the guidance of teachers.

    And I always think that there exist risks when communicating via computer because the internet environment is too complicated. I tried to find an English native speaker online and chat with him to learn English. But since I didn’t know his background, I didn’t know what to talk about and at the same time I didn’t want to reveal too much information about myself. Anyway, learners would better pay attention and learn to protect their privacy when using CMC.

  30. There are many advantages when students are using CMC in there language learning. According to my own experience, because of my poor ability on electronic competence, I need to ask for help when I first use these tools. But as time goes by, I found not only my skills on languge upgraded but also the skills to handle the electronic devices in proved. It is right, practice makes perfect!

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