E-mail Activities in the ESL Writing Class
ronb [at] mfwi.org
Mukogawa Women's University
This article explores the student and teacher benefits of using electronic mail (e-mail) in an ESL writing class. It also explains several e-mail writing activities and sample assignments that have proven useful in a program with first and second year Japanese English majors at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute (MFWI) in Spokane, WA USA. MFWI is a branch campus for English majors at Mukogawa Daigakuin in Nishinomiya, Japan.
Research shows that by using computers, students become better problem solvers and better communicators. Over a network, using e-mail and sharing files, students have the chance to collaborate and work together with other classmates, peers, and teachers. Networking electronically can help learners create, analyze, and produce information and ideas more easily and efficiently. Networking people "puts an inspiring, enticing, and usable set of tools within reach of the mass of computer users, empowering them to go beyond simply processing information to repurpose, design, publish, and express" (Mello, 1996). Through this increased electronic access to the world around them, students' social awareness and confidence increases. Networking frees them from the limitations of traditional writing tools that often inhibit and restrict writing processes. Learning is then transformed from a traditional passive-listening exercise to an experience of discovery, exploration, and excitement. Students can begin to realize their full potential when they are empowered to contribute and collaborate as a team to accomplish their writing tasks more effectively.
What is electronic mail?
Electronic mail is a relatively new medium of communication that is experiencing exploding growth in the U.S. and around the world. E-mail messages can be sent across different kinds of networks, both locally and globally. Aside from the Internet...