Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students

listening as the receptive mode and speaking as the expressive mode. Emphasis on reading
longer text sections generally begins in the second semester, and within the basic or first-year
language sequence, writing is mostly at the word and sentence levels; creating any extended
piece of text is rarely attempted. In the third semester, students continue learning grammar and
vocabulary, and it is only in the fourth semester that learners read and begin to write more
cohesive pieces of text. While such a progression seems logical, there is a large body of research
that indicates that the language arts (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) are reciprocal
processes that inform each other and are best learned in conjunction with each other as opposed
to being taught as separate entities (Fletcher, 1993; Smith, 1982; Weaver, 1994). Today, within
current foreign language methodology and pedagogy, this theory-based integrated four-skills
approach addressing listening, speaking, reading and writing in concert is promoted as most
beneficial and desirable to language learning.
Swain's comprehensible output hypothesis (1985) maintains that the development of a
learner's communicative competence does not merely depend upon comprehensible input: the
learner's output has an independent and indispensable role to play. Swain's thesis has proved to
be of relevance to the writer's experience in learning a second language and the writer as a self-
directed learner. She argues that comprehensible output is a necessary mechanism of acquisition
independent of the role of comprehensible input. Swain points out that producing the target
language may be the trigger that forces the learner to pay attention to the means of expression
needed in order to successfully convey his or her own intended meaning. This will move the
learner from a purely semantic analysis of the language to a syntactic analysis of it. Swain and
Lapkin (1995) further argue that the noticing/triggering function of output can prompt L2
learners to recognize consciously some of their linguistic problems. It may make them aware of

Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta. Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4688/. Accessed September 20, 2014.