The Discourse of an English Teacher in a Cyber Writing Course: Roles and Autonomy

| March 25, 2008
The Discourse of an English Teacher in a Cyber Writing Course: Roles and Autonomy

Keywords: teacher roles, learner autonomy, computer-mediated communication, e- mail pal exchanges, EFL adult writers

Chi Yen Chiu
National Formosa (Huwei) University

Bio Data
Chi-Yen Chiu is an assistant professor in the department of Applied Foreign Languages at the National Formosa (Huwei) University in Taiwan. He gained his Doctorate of Applied Linguistics from the Pennsylvania State University. He currently teaches English pronunciation, Phonetics, TESL, and writing courses. His research interests include uses of technology, practices of feedback, and teacher roles for learner autonomy in teaching English writing.

The case study reported in this paper investigates the relationships of teacher roles and learner autonomy in the cyber teaching of two EFL adult writers. The discourse of the teacher and learners was constructed in the written e-mail text because e-mail was their only means of communication. A total of 362 e-mails were generated in the twenty-month period of the cyber writing course. The teacher as investigator used NVivo 1.1-3, a qualitative data analysis software to conduct a content analysis that identified his own discourse in terms of teaching and counseling roles in a sample of 90 teacher e-mails, spread equally among the beginning, middle and end phases of the instructional period. Linked to the content analysis, a follow-up discourse analysis further examined the ensuing learner-teacher interactions to see how the two learners reacted to the teaching and counseling roles of the teacher. The results suggested that teaching roles did not provide opportunities for promoting learner autonomy whereas counseling roles created a supportive learning environment for the development of autonomy in language learning. The results of the data analysis provided additional evidence in support of the connection between computer-mediated communication and autonomy in language learning. Implications were drawn to call into question the universality of established categories of teacher roles in autonomous language learning, suggesting that cultural context and experience need to be taken into consideration.

See page 79-110

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 10 Issue 1