Student-Created Videos as a Language Acquisition Strategy for a Haitian Learner




Thomas, Sarah-Jane

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American schools are becoming increasingly diverse, with an estimated 17 million first- and second-generation refugee and immigrant children residing in the United States. English learners navigate the challenges of learning how to read, write, and speak a new language, all while being expected to stay on grade level. Classroom teachers nationwide are looking for engaging ways to meet the needs of their students, despite resource and budget deficits. The purpose of this study was to explore the role that student-created vodcasts, or video podcasts, may play in the English acquisition of a Haitian learner. This research question morphed to focus on the perceptions and practices of this student’s middle school teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in using vodcasting and other technologies to facilitate his English acquisition. A second research question explored the role of sociocultural learning regarding the learner’s creation of vodcasts. Guiding bodies of research in this work included second language acquisition research, particularly regarding identity formation involving brain-compatible teaching, sociocultural learning, and culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP). Data collection occurred between January 2015 and May 2015. The student and his teacher shared their perspectives in six interviews each during the data collection process. Other data sources included 2 student-created vodcasts, 1 created in a group and 1 created by the student alone, a writing sample, and results from the previous school year of the state English as a Second Language Achievement Test (ESLAT). The teacher found that the vodcasts, in combination with other factors, helped the student reflect on his writing, particularly regarding punctuation, and that he overcame an error with comma splices immediately after recording a vodcast. The student found that the practice of vodcasting, in combination with other factors, helped him practice academic language, as required by his teacher for the assignment. The teacher allowed the student to work individually for the second vodcast assignment, and stated that the result was of much higher quality overall, particularly noting an increase in the amount of time the student spent speaking. The data indicated that vodcasting, in conjunction with other strategies supporting language acquisition, might have played a positive role in the student’s progress in his ESOL class. Furthermore, according to both the student and the teacher, independent creation of the video was more effective for him than collaborative group work, which the teacher explained may have had causes rooted in the student’s home culture.



Education, Educational technology, English as a Second Language (ESL), ESOL, Haitian, Middle school, Video, Vodcast