Virtual for real: massively multiplayer online role playing game and the development of L2 communication skills in young learners
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This thesis explores a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and its positive effects on five young second language learners’ development of communicative skills in L2. These five 10-14 years old learners as the focus group (FG) belong to Bangla medium schools in urban setting of Chattagram city, Bangladesh. They play at home the popular online commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) game player unknown’s battle ground (PUBG) sixty minutes per day without any pedagogical intervention. From close studies, it is found that they transfer the online language experiences, i.e. new vocabularies, expressions, knowledge learnt and used with the co-players to the use of real life world. This ground supports the study also to concentrate on the use, development and transferring of these skills from in-game to out-ofgame contexts, that is, from informal to formal L2 environment. Multi player game helps one interact with other players as serving some needs by playing certain roles in a team. This is a target-based team playing game where exposure to use L2 in a social and contextual way happens. Although language focus is a secondary issue of most of the (COTS) games, playing requires a common language to communicate with the coplayers. Social and collaborative turns in this type of game makes a learner use the target language (English) as the lingua franca of the online players. These playing and interaction matters support the player to develop new L2 vocabularies and other communication skills to use them with the context of the game. As a result, L2 learning takes place out of classroom informally in a playful manner which is anxiety free and non-threatening. Knowledge gathered through fun and amusement exists for long which can go beyond the gaming contexts. The study helps discover the fact that a learner’s motivation, involvement and readiness to interact in the game to achieve some goal in informal scenario can effectively support him/her confidently learn and use L2 in the formal setting of classrooms. Also the study tries to make a ground that selective inclusion of game in the classroom L2 education can make young classrooms more effective, autonomous and goaloriented.