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Communication Technologies: Education And Virtual Learning (Essay Sample)


Assessment #2 - Critical Reflection on a specific teaching context

(70% = 3,000 words)

Write an essay that analyses the educational practices of an EAL/D (Students for whom English is an additional language) classroom, based on your own teaching or learning experience,in relation to a current debate in TESOL. 

    •       Select one of the debates presented in the course(already selected as follows), and examine it at some depth.

    •       Present the key arguments from the academic literature of the extremities of the debate.

    •       Foreground the language and culture issues of the debate and discuss how they relate specifically to the educational practices of the selected teaaching and learning context.

    •       Argue a personal position on the debate that you would recommend for the selected teaching context based on your analysis of the educational practices.

    •       Draw on relevant readings to support your case.


Position A 

VLEs(virtual learning environments) bring rich immersive experientially-situated context-specific environments to the English language learning endeavour for purposeful meaning-making contextually- informed communication that is not available in a regular language classroom.

Position B 

Computer-mediated communication loses the richness of communicative characteristics apparently in real-world contexts, such a non-verbal communicative features that aid in accurate interpretation of a speaker’s intent. The fantasy and fictional aspects of communication deter from purposeful communicative intent and notions of personal space and safety can be compromised.

How do you position yourself in relation to the debate?

What issues arise from the debate for you, or a teacher/students, in your context?

When would VLEs (virtual learning environments)be helpful for language and culture learning, if at all?

Exploration of debates : Language, culture and social participation in virtual environments

There is a diversity of virtual environments in which people can socialise on the internet. Two popular examples are IMVU and Second Life.






With new communication technologies, life in western cultures now seems anachronistic. Even though the technological infrastructures have been adopted, its usage varies across several cultures. Virtual learning brought about the rich environment to learn English language, making meaning within contextually informed communication that is not available in a regular language classroom (Giovanelli and Clayton, 2016, p 103). On the other hand, many people have condemned the emergence of new technology, arguing that computer-based communication has eroded the traditional forms of communication characteristics. Nonverbal communicative features that help in the accurate interpretation of the speakers' intent, these are some of the important features in communication that no longer exist. New technologies are considered more of fantasy with unrealistic aspects that deter the purposeful communicative intent. New technology is associated with negative effects like the invasion of personal spaces and compromises individual safety (Geesin & Gilroy, 2010, p 247).
The virtual environment is more of hybrid forms of communication that require specific skills for learners to realize its benefits. Accordingly, the tools and skills learners use in a specific situation are important factors that will determine the learner's practice. Factors like location and physical structures influence how learners interact with others. Learning is also about social context or culture, learning with a social practice focus on how individual learners relate to people (Goddard, 2011, p 184).
Within a community, a group of people shares concerns, set of problem and passion about a topic and have the need to interact on an ongoing basis when interacting with other members using certain tools. Within community’s settings, learning process involves acquiring your identity as a member. Accordingly, adult education is more of an experience-oriented learning, therefore learning is not an individual activity, learning occurs naturally out of natural experiences within a particular situation. Such situation occurs not only based on the background the influence learning, but the situation forms part of learning. We normally interact with others using different tools which can be in physical form or virtual process. However, certain factors can influence the interaction process like physical infrastructure and cultural norms of society (Higgs, Miller, and Pearson, 2013, p 239).
Learning within a community work in three dimensions, that is, mutual engagement, joint activity, and shared collection. Learning cannot be significant if those involved are not fully engaged, interaction is the key process of learning. Learning is mutually engaging learners where learners agree and share common processes like routine, tools, concepts and stories mutual engagement will foster learning (Kim & Merriam, 2010, p 439).
This means that older adults within long-term care facilities can greatly benefit from computer instruction even with physical limitation and different identities as compared to older adults living in their homes. Since older adult’s computer learning process takes place within face-to-face context, it is important to understand the social nature of such learning to gain more insight on how learning occurs (Kim & Merriam, 2010, p 448).
In different cultures, certain factors might influence learning process, for example, in Asian countries like South Korea, older people and teachers have powers compared to students and young people. Teachers and older people are more of authority figures in these cultures; their levels of learning can be affected by the power relations, these power relations are rooted in computer learning process. The role of older adults ...
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