For some reason, when we are learning a foreign language, we feel intimidated to speak it. We fear we will be laughed at, won’t say the right thing and won’t be understood or simply lack the confidence to put a voice to the words floating around in our brains forming utterances.
It is clear inhibition to speak is a common problem among language learners for whatever reason. So, I am investigating strategies to disinhibit learners, and to provide them with oral interaction confidence, by engaging with a computer to practice speaking, so they have the confidence to interact with humans.
Human computer interaction (HCI) to practise English conversation offers several advantages compared to practising with a human. The main motivations being:
- low inhibition because learners know are they are interacting with a machine that will not judge their performance unless asked to do so.
- a low-anxiety environment which promotes confidence because of the absence of a human waiting form the next turn.
- Interaction for as long as the learner wants to practice.
- Computers do not lose their patience, or tire of conversing or repeating the same conversation pattern.
I therefore strongly believe that HCI is a promising solution for learner disinhibitition.Updates on experiments carried out with chatbots to fulfil this research to follow…