Warschauer M., E-Mail for English Teachers, TESOL Inc., Virgina, 1995.

Why should we use E-mail and Chat with our students?
For a busy teacher, it's a lot of hard work...takes a long time.

real, natural language (particularly for language learning)
(Students learn the technology and how to communicate-good for their own personal development as well as their professional development.)
enrich our experience as a teacher (There are so many resources out there for us to use and people to communicate with/solve problems and answer our questions.)

Teacher-Student Communication- takes place generally at high school level
Can take several forms-formal/informal consultation, exchange of dialogue journals and writing conferencing
Students are shy, so this type of communication makes it easier and less intimidating (overcome language and status difficulties ESL and other students have talking to a teacher)
students can send you an email anytime so it is more convenient
students consult more frequently and are more open
it's hard for teachers to respond to journals and papers when they are all received at one  time, using email allows teachers to give feedback more immediately-good motivator!
Research by Wang (1993) shows that students using email wrote more, asked more questions and used different language than students using the traditional pen/paper mode.
Writing as a Process is the general movement in composition theory. When using technology students are more apt to turn in more drafts, and  revise more globally. Teachers can give more feedback, the feedback is legible, and  teachers can keep all copies, so they can see all the revisions easily.
so students have more access to their teachers
it's more convenient
and students can develop a better idea of the whole writing process
Ideas for using email
Collective Journals(student-teacher or student to all students)
Pre-and Post discussion
English Circle/Science Circle(ask questions to other students)
Grammar Review
Collaborative Writing
Real-Time Instruction -Writing
The more students write the better they get.
Easy to write when you are only worrying about sharing ideas, not what is right or wrong.

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Much more participation with students in a chat activity:

Traditional Class Discussions (50% of the class participates0

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Electronic Class Discussions (100% Participation))
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Turn taking in the Classroom (85% Teacher/15% Students)

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Turn taking using chat or email for brainstorming (Students 65% and Teacher 35%)
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With younger children you can do email exchanges as a group with other classes-chat likewise.
Other benefits with chatting:
Students have faster paced interaction.
More language
And a greater variety of language
Levels the playing field for all personality types/
Other fun stuff: Simulations-Moos, Intercultural Exchanges
How do we do it? (Before class)
Make it students feel empowered/not frustrated!
Try to make sure your students have a lot of access.
Use computers and programs that are easy.
Make a handout for your students to follow.
Get assistants to help-particularly the first time.
Do a training with a couple of students first to see where the problems might be.
While training:
have students send messages to each other as a first step
have students send you a copy at first
have students send messages to themselves
have students forward messages to you or to others
print out messages
download messages they receive
prepare, save, upload messages from a word-processing program
Include regular discussions about how the students are using the system, what problems they are having, what suggestions they might have, and so forth.
Train the students how to use the more advanced features of the system.
For Classroom Activities:
Choose a team-teaching partner you know is reliable-answers email regularly.
Discuss the goals that you both have.
If more than two teachers are participating-then use a list serve or message board to post questions and ideas.
for team projects from other schools use more than email exchanges, think of a cultural box exchange or video, student photos, artwork, school newspapers,etc.
make sure your students introduce themselves to each other
do more than just talking-work on a collaborative, task-based project that is exciting and meaningful. (Can start out personal then building to other issues like pollution, ozone, animal rights, etc.)
Assessment-list of tasks, portfolios, self-reflection, projects






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This page was last modified May 29, 2000