Computer Assisted Language Learning and English Language Teaching in Thailand: Overview Attapol Khamkhien
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science, Kasetsart University E-mail: email@example.com
Abstract Currently, computer assisted language learning (CALL) is widely accepted to be a tool which can be used to facilitate the language learning process, particularly English language teaching (ELT). The use of CALL has provided a powerful medium for language learning from both teaching and learning perspectives. However, the integration of CALL programs in language instruction requires a certain level of sensitivity and understanding of how to use the programs appropriately. This paper focuses on using CALL in English classrooms in Thailand. It commences with an overview of the development of using computers in the English classroom. Then, advantages and disadvantages of integrating CALL in English instruction are discussed. Next, various types of learning activities that apply computer technology to English learning and instruction in the Thai context are presented. Previous studies on the use and careful integration of CALL, contributing to success of teaching English and facilitating English learning in the Thai context are explored. Pedagogical implications into teaching English with CALL as a tool are suggested. Keywords: English language teaching; Computer assisted language learning; CALL; Thai learners.
1. Introduction With the spread of English through information technology, trades, and education, English has become an international language and has played a crucial in the communications of every country. In Thailand, English is considered one of the major foreign languages taught in schools and academic institutions. All involved parties have put great efforts to improve Thai learners’ English competence; however, their English performance after being measured by national tests (e.g., Ordinary National Educational Test or ONET and General Aptitude Test or GAT) or by any of several standardized tests such as TOEFL and TOEIC has been far from satisfactory (Bolton, 2008; Bunnag, 2005; Prapphal & Opanon-amata, 2002; Wiriyachitra, 2001). This unsatisfactory performance of students in English across levels indicates that, despite efforts from all sectors concerned, English language teaching in Thailand has encountered slow progress. Therefore, educators, teachers, administrators and curriculum developers must immediately pay attention in order to improve ELT in Thailand. They must be keen to discern the most appropriate approach to teach English to Thai learners in order for their English performance to meet the international demands, and be able to fully and successfully participate in the international community. Because of the availability of computer and education technologies in today’s world, computers have entered and have strongly influenced our life in every domain of communication. These technologies have become powerful tools to communicate with people around the globe. They are faster, easier and more convenient to use than other older media. Specifically, the roles of computers in language education are increasing worldwide. This is because learners of language, with the use of the Internet, can simultaneously communicate with other learners or speakers of the target language all over the world. According to Warschauer (1996), technology and the Internet play a vital role in teaching the second and foreign language as an aid to the teacher. As is evident, a large amount of foreign language materials available nowadays e.g., textbooks, program courses and dictionaries are included with and supplemented by other media such as CDs, videos, which require computer and technologies. In Thailand, thanks to the availability of information technology, lesson...