Computer Mediated Communication: The Use of CMC to Develop EFL Learners’ Communicative Competence

| March 29, 2005
Computer Mediated Communication: The Use of CMC to Develop EFL Learners’ Communicative Competence

Keywords: communicative competence, computer-mediated communication (CMC), authentic and interactive learning tasks

Yu Hua Chen
Kang Hsuan Corporatio

Bio Data
Yu Hua Chen works in Taiwan as an English educator for Kang Hsuan Corporation as well as a part time evening evening instructor of English. She has an active blog site at to which she welcomes comments.

Moving from the ‘focus on form’ teaching approach such as Grammar Translation and Audiolingualism, recently more language teachers have noticed the failure of form focusing approach in developing learners’ communicative ability in real-life situations and shifted to adopt the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). The CLT approach highlights learners á ¦ communicative competence (Hymes, 1972), which is defined as learners á ¦ ability to efficiently express what they mean in the target language and successfully achieve communications in real-life situations (Lightbown & Spada, 1999; Power, 2003). In order to do so, learners not only need to acquire the linguistic but pragmatic knowledge of the TL (Hedgcock, 2002). It is suggested that competence, both linguistic and pragmatic, is the knowledge developed and acquired through exposure and use (Kasper, 1997). In other words, without sufficient exposure needed for learners to notice and acquire the language input and chances to use the knowledge, communicative competence is not likely to be promoted.

Unlike ESL learners, who need to use the target language in everyday life for surviving in the target culture, EFL learners generally do not have adequate access to the TL outside of the classrooms and practice what they have learned in the classroom. Learners normally return to the real world speaking their mother tongue as soon as they leave the classroom (Campbell, 2004). In classrooms, although teachers now have adopted approaches that focus on meaning and language use, due to the linier mode of face-to-face interaction, the learning outcome is still not efficient enough. EFL teachers now urgently need a solution to increase exposure and use of the target knowledge both inside and outside of the classroom.

The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the integration of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) into EFL learning can increase both input (exposure) and output (use) of the target language that is needed for learners to promote both their linguistic and pragmatic competence. This paper firstly presents:-
(1) The rationale of the CLT approach and limitations of traditional EFL classrooms to implement it.
(2) In the second part, pedagogical benefits of CMC in language learning are presented.
(3) Principles of using CMC tools in foreign language teaching are presented in the third part, which is followed by
(4) The conclusion.

[private] See pages: 167-182

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 7 Issue 1