Li, Yunong (Cameron): Incidental focus-on-form in video-based synchronous computer mediated communication: negotiation and output (working title)

At this changing time, English language instruction requires innovative media and teaching methods to cater to new challenges and needs in language learning. This study investigates a specific language teaching method, incidental focus-on-form (Ellis, 2001), in the setting of synchronous computer mediated communication (SCMC). Filling the gap between previous research focusing on text-based SCMC and the mainly video-based online exchanges of today, the empirical section of the study will recruit teenage participants from Germany and China in several rounds of a seven-week online cultural exchange/English learning project. They will engage in meaning-focused tasks while incidental focus-on-form episodes are also triggered in their negotiation of meaning (Long, 1996) and pushed output (Swain & Lapkin, 1985; 1995), potentially yielding to the acquisition of the language forms. The results of the individualized tests on the episodes and analysis on the participants portfolio will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of incidental focus-on-form in SCMC. Moreover, within the discussion on intercultural communication and student-centered learning, suggestions for constructing a more efficient and accessible SCMC language learning environment will be given.