Friday, October 26, 2012

Authentic Video Increases Language Output, Listening Comp, and Confidence

Weyers, Joseph. "The Effect of Authentic Video on Communicative Competence." 1999. 
This article was about an experiment done testing whether or not having students watch "authentic videos" increased their oral comprehension, communicative competence, and language output. The students were second semester college Spanish students. The rationale for the experiment was that students' language comprehension is dependent on the "quantity and quality of comprehensible input" (340). Telenovelas can be considered quality input because they are more authentic, meaningful, and affectively engaging to students than cookie-cutter educational programs. 
The experimental group improved in listening comprehension as a result of the intervention. The intervention also increased their language output and confidence speaking the language. It did not have a statistically significant effect on the style or quality of the output they produced.

I connected to this article immediately because when I took AP Spanish in high school our teacher had us watch telenovelas of our choosing at home every week. I think it would have been even more beneficial if she approached it the way these experimenters did and pre-taught some of the vocabulary in the telenovela ahead of time or provided an advanced organizer with an outline of the events and characters in the show. 
I also find it interesting that watching the telenovelas improved students' speaking confidence. It makes sense in terms of connectionist theory that watching, listening, and talking about the authentic video would improve language acquisition since they are receiving the input through multiple modalities. It also lowers the affective filter since telenovelas have simple, accessible story lines. 

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