Dr.S.Mercy Gnana Gandhi, M.A.M.Phil.B.Ed.Ph.D, works as as Associate Professor in English-ELT at Sathyabama University,Chennai, INDIA.
This research paper highlights the methodology of teaching English language to the Engineering students and the problems faced by the language teachers. The present day engineering students are not giving enough importance to English language and they give prior preference to their specialized subjects. So they lack basic language skills, in particular, vocabulary, spoken skills and usage of grammar. As a result, they are unable to satisfy the interviewers in job interviews. So, there is a need to develop their language through the most scientific methods of teaching especially through the newly advanced methods of using the multimedia and the Web.
The English teachers of technical institutions face different and difficult problems either academically or non- academically. First of all, the time duration for the completion of the given tasks is not sufficient .The researcher finds few students completing the given task, before the time set, while the slow learners find it difficult to complete it and so expect the teacher to provide answers. The slower students spend three times as much time as the faster students. This is not conducive to learning. Secondly each class has a variety of levels of English proficiency, a variety of interests and a variety of paces of studying. So, it is impossible to lead the students through varied levels of learning, which make the students passive. For these reasons, we need to individualize the study of English in order to get more effective results.
No change can be brought without a change in the teaching methodology. Presently, our teachers seem to have exhausted with the methods and techniques of teaching. Today our teachers and students want a totally novel methodology. They want a methodology that is modern and effective. Considering these demands, the only way out seems to be the computer. Already, attempts have been made to teach language and literature through the computer. This new field is called Computer Assisted Language Learning and Computer Assisted Literature Learning. The researcher herself went through many articles in these areas. And at this point, she feels that language ought to be taught with the help of the computer. Already a variety of ideas and pictures are represented through the computer for those who use them. The internet is an effective source of ideas and picture display. Thus the hypothesis that language can be taught through the computers is put forwards here.
This study discusses the nature of interaction and the definition of CALL and its applications. The researcher highlights the method of promoting qualitative interaction amongst students, teachers and computer software. This project evidences the fact that computer pair work enhances interaction.
“The complexity of teaching and learning – is a systematic
research .The technical details of the mouse are simple
but the teaching principles are complicated;
for that reason we need to consider the effectiveness
of learning through multimedia”
(An extract from: Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)–www. Monografias.com)
Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL):
It is a relatively new and rapidly evolving academic field that explores the role of information and communication technologies in language learning and teaching. It provides fertile ground for leading edge, innovative and highly creative thinking and scholarly work. Because of the multiplicities and changeability of the field which include the emergence of new theoretical, methodological and learning paradigms, special understanding and expertise is required to assess the quality and the depth of such scholarly activities.
Today, CALL activities exploit improved technology to produce highly interactive learning environments, providing effective support for the acquisition of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. High- speed networks allow access to authentic cultural materials and link learners to speakers around the world. When integrated into pedagogical plan, these new technologies enhance learning opportunities beyond anything previously possible.The number of variables associated with language learning and the difficulty in controlling those variables, in a second language learning setting is not so tedious, but it is to be designed according to the students attitude.
Individualization is not a method or technique, but a philosophy of education. Here, learning is student-centered and the teacher assists the students in pursuing their goals. As a result, students feel secure and get satisfaction in learning. In a class with one teacher, it is impossible for the teacher to respond to each student, to give feedback immediately and to be aware of each student’s progress, problems and weaknesses. Here the computer plays a vital role in giving information and teaching the students. It is reasonable to say that it is difficult to concentrate on each student in all the three activities in the writing session. So using e-mail is more advantageous in a writing class. Teachers often find it difficult to correct files, assignments, answer sheets either in the class, college or at home. This is totally eliminated. Just with the click of a mouse, the teacher monitors and analyses everything effectively and logically and grading efficiently.
It can be used in the class session, if there are adequate work stations and rooms. Since students rarely use the capacity of media, they feel uneasy about the recorded answers on a cassette and they are forced to listen to these, unaware of the usage of recording head to delete previous user’s voices. The stability of students’ tape recorders might be affected by signal fluctuation. Finally certain mistakes from improper operation of high speed duplicators are inevitable. Usually these language labs separate the student and teacher and thus encourage teachers and less motivated students to day-dream in the class time.
So, multimedia computers have to be adopted as a better option, which are configured with the right software, permitting the students to view websites, to listen to T.V. or Radio programmes, to read the world’s great literature to facilitate person to person communication through e-mail, chat, moos, internet phone, low- end video conferencing and many more. Voice recognition software allows the students to choose and to practise better idea of their accuracy. If an institution has electronic classrooms, the instructor with a laptop, demonstrates the orientation features and a good instruction sheet will take care of the rest. If the students have not finished at the class time, they can continue their work at home.
Role of the teacher:
A language teacher may not know the definitions and descriptions of technical terms and the processes related to Technology. She is expected to be familiar with those matters, before she enters into the class. As the blooming generation is efficient in gathering new ideas on science and facts, they try to cross- check the teacher, whether she/he knows about the latest technology. So, the language teacher in technical institution needs to be efficient and confident while responding to the students. At this point, the researcher concludes that students tend to enjoy using computers and the teachers need much more work, to identify the factors involved in using software efficiently, for language teaching. Teachers will continue to refine their techniques with CALL over time and, it is hoped, continue to contribute to research being done in this area.
The researcher believes that computers should be used to make classes more effective. There are two ways to use them. One way is for the teacher to present pictures, videos and written text with or without sound. The presentation can be programmed in advance or handled manually. The other way to use computers is to have students use the computers themselves. The researchers find the second method of using computers which lead the students a better understanding of computers as well as language learning. In this method, the students work individually on their own interest. The computer provides materials to study and students can interact with the computer as if they are doing with a tutor or a library. The students here are encouraged to do the work either in groups or in pairs, so that they can get a spirit of cooperation and confidence in finding the answers. Interaction among the students is as important as that with a computer in learning. The researcher suggests that students work at a computer during the class, can do assignments drills, tutorials, games, simulations and even reviewing and preparing for the class. Using computers give way to their knowledge and promotes the nature of independence. The researcher is of the view that the computer education is a beneficial one for both the slow workers and the advanced students, as it encourages to work at their own pace. Slower workers can catch up, and advanced students can do extra assignments.
Presently, many students are tired of traditional English classes and are interested in a new style of learning. The researcher rightly accepts the suggestions of Kitao (1993)
“ Students think materials are new and fresh,
if they are presented on computers, and
they are often interested even in
routine tasks such as learning to type.
They seem to be willing to spend more
hours and do more exercises
on a computer than by hand”.
(An extract from: Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)–www. Monografias.com)
Learning can be individualized using computers .Students can study materials related to their individual goals and interests, with the appropriate difficulty level and at their own pace.
“ Computers can analyze the problems of each student
and the teacher can help individual students
with their problems based on the analysis”
concludes the researcher.
2. CALICO Journal The Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium South West Texas State University 317 Liberal Arts, San Marcos, TX 78666 http://calico.org
4. Internet TESL Journal http://www.aitech.ac.jp/-iteslj
5. Language Learning and Technology http://polyglot.cal.msu.edu.llt