Areas of expertise
My inspiration is to bridge pragmatism and research through RALL at school. How does the interaction between the child and the social robot (CHI) affect the learning of the French language and the willingness to communicate?
Robot-assisted language learning (RALL) is attracting growing attention among researchers and teachers. Social robots have only recently (in 2018) been adopted in a few Finnish primary schools in pioneering L2 learning projects. These robots are running on applications specially designed for foreign language learning. Although RALL is suggested to have a positive impact on children’s motivation and concentration, findings on its effectiveness and actual learning outcomes are controversial, and the implementation in real classroom situations has not yet been widely investigated. Researchers suggest that many digital projects fail because they have been brought to educational settings outside schools. This research addresses these gaps and explores interaction and the learning of French with the help of a social robot. It emerges from living everyday life with a robot in a French class. While most recent studies have focused more extensively on young children’s vocabulary learning, my study explores the interactive experience and pronunciation learning outcomes without the presence of a teacher. In addition to being pre-programmed communication partners, social robots can be programmed by the children themselves, thus allowing them to have an even more active role in the communication. Willingness to communicate and the effects of content production on learning are also in the focus of my study. Considering the influence of L1 on L2 learning, the study gives a unique insight into Finnish primary school French lessons. This is especially interesting when considering the start of early L2 learning. Native-like French is otherwise rare in the Finnish context.