Out of class learning: people, places and digital technology

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Date: 10th May 2018

Time: 11:30 – 12:15

Room: South Wharf

Presented By : Dr Phil Chappell and Professor Phil Benson

Recent research suggests that language use outside the classroom is vital for students who want to reach high levels of proficiency, and that a balance between classroom and out-of-class learning is important (Lai 2015). In Australia, there is often a strong expectation that students will be ‘immersed’ in English language environments outside the classroom (Kashiwa & Benson 2017). These environments involve traditional face-to-face interactions as well as digitally supported ones. However, out-of-class learning can be problematic for international students, who often experience difficulty in accessing opportunities to use English. Why do international language students find it difficult to access the opportunities for English language use and learning that study in Australia offers? What can we do to help improve students’ out-of-class language experiences?

In this presentation we will present some preliminary findings that begin to answer these questions. Our current research program is investigating whether the key to unlocking the problem of international students’ access to English may be found in their daily lives and language learning environments. Of significance for the theme of the conference is our finding that wherever students are physically, there is usually some digital technology (mobile phone, computer etc) that can transport them elsewhere in digital space. Both the physical setting and how the students use digital technology in the setting are crucial for out-of-class language learning.