Using blogs in the foreign language classroom: Encouraging learner independence
This small scale action research study explores how the author incorporated a blog project into an integrated-skills foreign language class in a Japanese university. This project was an out-of-class project aimed at motivating students to take advantage of authentic environments outside the classroom in order to practice language skills and communicate with others. This study seeks to determine the usefulness of using blogs in the foreign language classroom, and to assist foreign language professionals interested in developing learner independence in their own learners by using this relatively new computer-based learning forum. Data were collected from learners through questionnaires and interviews conducted at the end of the term. At this time, learners were asked to reflect on their attitudes about the blog project and how it aided them in practicing English out of the classroom. Findings suggest that learner-perceived benefits of using blogs included increased interest and motivation to use English because of interaction with, and feedback from, classmates and teachers. There is also indication, however, that although the project helped to improve reading and writing skills, some learners were more interested in developing oral communication skills not directly addressed in the blog project. The findings also suggest that learners who participated in the blog project were interested in continuing to blog even after the semester finished. Further research needs to focus on whether or not learners did indeed continue using this resource after the course ended, and in which foreign language courses this project is most suitable.
Pinkman, K. (2005). Using blogs in the foreign language classroom: Encouraging learner independence. The JALT CALL Journal, 1(1), 12-24.