As a research assistant, I have been involved in Dr Caws’ project for approximately a year now. As a student in literature, I can assert that I was playing out of my comfort zone. My roles in her research were split between my tasks as a research assistant and a teaching assistant.
As a RA*, I have basically been collecting and coding data collected from Twitter using Nvivo. The coding comprehends 3 main parts. Firstly, I am coding the students’ interaction with their peers, their teacher and the TAs. Secondly, I was also coding their production, and thirdly the themes. The popularity of certain categories varies from one year to another.
When I was a TA in Fall 2018, I interacted with the students on Twitter. We were mostly encouraging them to produce data using the new vocabulary learned in their French class. Our conversations revolved around what they learned in the French class with their teacher.
Thanks to this research, I have discovered the possibility to use social media to learn a new language by following and interacting with pages in French. Nevertheless, the students’ motivation drop after each term since their interactions ceased.
During this research, I am also learning to recognize the common mistakes of English-speaking people who are learning French.
*RA= Research assistant
TA= teaching assistant