Chatting can be a useful method of writing
Nowadays, chatting is as familiar as talking face to face. And sometimes chatting is used for writing class. It can help students to talk easily. So it can improve students’ fluency. But there are some concerns about using chatting in writing class. Some say that even though using chatting can help to improve one’s writing skill, it cannot help to write in the right way. Especially young people who use blogs and messengers more have a problem. “The things that suffer most are spelling and punctuation. They put a comma, not a period, where there is a pause” (Weeks, 2008, Para. 36). Despite these problems, is it a good idea to use the chatting in writing class?
We know the pros and cons of chatting in writing class. It can help to improve writing fluency more easily than any other teaching materials, but students are likely to use words not imprecisely. Therefore we have to find the way to use chatting effectively. There are some conditions to using chatting effectively.
First of all, the students who use the chatting in writing class should not be native students but foreign students. It is a daily event that the native students use chatting with their friends. So the words that they use are easily transformed or shortened. But foreign students do not usually use chatting. They are familiar with using formal words and do not even know the words used online. So it is fine to use chatting in EFL/ESL classes. ”Integrating chat in EFL/ESL can be powerfully motivating and bring enormous excitement to what is generally in a difficult process – learning a language” (Almeida d’Eca, 2003, Para. 3).
Second, to use chatting in writing class one has to be with instructors or teachers, because it is easy for them to correct the words when students write down the wrong one. And instructors can help when students do not use the transformed or shortened words. So the role of instructor is very important. They have to be educated about teaching with chatting.
Third, there has to be feedback or self critique. Instructors have to let the students know about their mistakes and wrong words or grammar. And students have to do a self critique based on the instructor’s advice. Students have to know why they made mistakes and what they have to be careful about when they write. It can help to improve their writing fluency and to use correct words. Eventually students can gain writing skill and objective criticism.
“Traditional ways of thinking and learning are undergoing a sea change” (Guess, 2007, Para. 17). Even though using chatting has weaknesses, it is a very useful method to improve foreign students’ writing skill. When we keep the conditions that we are deaing with, chatting will be an effective way to learn English.
Guess, A. (2007, September 17). Students’ evolving use of technology. Inside Higher Ed, Retrieved June 16, 2008 from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/09/17/it
Weeks, L. (2008, June 15). The fate of the sentence: is the writing on the wall? Washington Post, Retrieved June 16, 2008 from http://tinyurl.com/6bp4kz
Almeida d’Eca, T. (2003, June). The use of chat in EFL/ESL, TESL-EJ, Retrieved June 16, 2008 from http://tesl-ej.org/ej25/int.html