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Paula Cardoso - My Dream: Learning specific second language skills in an immersive environment

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Paula Cardoso
16 January 2013

Paula Cardoso: Learning specific second language skills in an immersive environment

Tags: virtual world, second language, language skills

Your situation (context)

I teach English as Foreign Language to several Tourism-related degrees in a Higher Education Institution in Portugal. Although most students have 5 to 7 years of English learning, their overall skills are lower than expected for the level of education. After graduation, students will work in Tourism-related jobs and the use of English will be essential to perform well on their jobs. I would like to set up a virtual learning environment where the real working conditions could be simulated, so they could learn specific vocabulary and language functions, while performing on-the-job tasks. ExampleOne of the degrees I’m teaching is Restaurant and Catering Industry. Students of this degree usually don’t perform (in general) as well as students of other degrees. There are several factors involved and motivation to learn English is one of them. By creating, for example, a hotel where they could perform specific jobs, they would have the chance to practice specific skills, which would (hopefully) motivate them, by experiencing, first-hand, the importance of learning English. By completing specific tasks, they would also have a better notion of their difficulties and know exactly what to improve.

The change you would like to see (challenge)

I hope to increase students’ motivation and consequently their (sometimes negative) attitude towards learning English, as well as their achievements. Example

How you might go about bringing that change

Constructivism, as it would be an extremely collaborative process, among other features.In terms if technology, probably OpenSim or similar. I don’t know a lot about other options, so I would really appreciate some hints. Example

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