Guide > Pedagogical Questions >
Use of Language
Use of Language
Several experiments have made it clear that both the target language and the native
language need to be used.
- Rationale for the use of the native language on the Web:
The choice of which language to use and in what context, was easily made.
It was clear to us, from the very beginning, that the responses to the questionnaires
and the forums had to be written in the students' native language (or rather
- since all students at MIT are not American and all students at INT are not
French) in the language of the country where the students are studying, namely
English for the MIT students, French for the INT students. Word associations,
for instance, only have value if they are made in the speaker's "native" language.
Only then can one hope to access the hidden cultural values, which are intrinsically
language-bound. To have students write in the forums in their "native" language
was also a deliberate choice. We wanted to make sure that students were able
to express their thoughts in all their complexity as fully and as naturally
as possible. This often surprises other foreign language teachers who have
always thought of Web-based exchanges as a way for students to test their
linguistic abilities. But this was not our purpose. And what students may
"lose", by not writing in the target language, is largely offset by the gains
they make by getting access to a rich, dynamic and totally authentic language.
- When to use the target language:
Students use the target language in very circumstance and context other than
the Web. They use it:
- in class
- in all their writings (class assignments, essays, etc..)
- When to use both:
Depending on the level of your class and your own wishes, both French and
English can be used for portions of the student journals and the Videoconferences.