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 more on chats2


Like Don, I was surprised by Gareth's contention that:
>EFL and language learning is about learning a tongue, not a body

... especially as I spend much of my time teaching body language, the
structure of conversations, non-verbal communication and pragmatics in
general! As always, learners' needs are paramount -- in an ESL
situation, being able to use and recognize the non-verbal aspect of the
target language is highly valuable. Teachers on this list are working in
every possible area of our field, which is worth bearing in mind.

This relates to CALL, and to chat in particular, in very interesting
ways. As various community members have pointed out, the pragmatics of
synchronous CMC (Chat) are very different from those of face-to-face
(f2f) conversations. My own (rather less formal) research confirms that
turn-taking, questioning and adjacency do not operate in ways that would
be acceptable in f2f sitautions. For me, this reduces the usefulness of
chat *in my teaching situation*. There is no evidence to my knowledge
that competence in chat transfers to competence in f2f interactions.
(The question of the value of chat for second language acquisition is a
separate, but equally vexed one.)

I have the "luxury" of being able to dispense with chat because my
students (theoretically at least) have ample opportunity to interact
with real Americans and with each other in English. And for most of
them, f2f communication is a much higher priority than a form of
computer literacy which has relatively little application outside
personal contact (business don't chat, do they?). As I said at the
start, it's all about context -- horses for courses (or as my American
friends say: different strokes for different folks).

And a final note about my comments about off-topic messages. It was
never my intent to limit the scope of discussion on the list. However,
we are a TESOL workshop, and I really think that the intersection of
computers and English language teaching should give us ample range! I
maintain absolutely my exhortation to everyone to think before they post
- it can't hurt!

All best,

Hi James, Phil, Nigel, Daf, Susanne, Maria ... wrote:

> By the way, do any of you know the difference between MOOs and a virtual group like Yahoo? and... forums, listvers, newsgroups, etc...? If you could sent me a web site with a comparative chat or something like that I would be very greatful, because sometimes I think I have it clear, but others everything seems the same.

A MOO is a synchronous chat area that gives users some control over defining the space and the objects in it.  The objects can be robots, like our pets at Tapped In, or the robot greeter that meets each visitor, or the recorder that follows us around and emails us transcripts on logoff.  The space can be delimited and navigated, as when we create our offices with side rooms and so on.

The other places you mention are asynchronous, which means they are places for users to leave messages, but not interact online in conversation.

We have some web documents describing these tools: