Computer-Assisted Language Learning in Current Esl Class Rooms

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COMPUTER-ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING IN CUREENT ESL CLASS ROOMS

S.Rajaram
Associate Professor in English
Thiagarajar College of engineering
Madurai-625 015
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ABSTRACT
Amidst the phenomenal developments in the context of science and technology, education for the 21st century needs a lot of rethinking on modernization and creation of hi-tech educational tools. An important feature of education has been its use of physical and intellectual tools. Computers, no doubt, represent a truly generic tool. This article throws light on the advantages and disadvantages of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in current ESL classrooms. Research findings indicate that the use of computer has positive effects on the achievement levels of second language learners such as learners’ autonomy, individualized phase of learning, interactive ability of computer, and learners’ involvement. However, it still has its limitations and weaknesses, such as financial, isolated, and knowledge required issues. The paper emphasizes that language educators must recognize both the benefits and limitations of using computers so that they can try their best to overcome the barriers and get the maximum effectiveness of technology to enhance second language learning.

Key words : CALL – Computer assisted language learning. ESL- English as a second language , ELT- English language teaching

Introduction

Like industry, commerce and public administration education has also accepted an inevitable concomitant, since teaching has come a long way from its dependence on chalk and black board, passing through the ages of using overhead projectors, tape recorders and video cassette players to the use of computers, Though the computer looks like an idiot box it is actually an intelligent box., when properly programmed to suit the purpose of teaching. With the great development of computers and Internet, more and more second language teachers and learners are using computers for foreign language teaching and learning today.(Wang Han,2008). Educators recognize that utilizing computer technology and its attached language learning programs can be convenient to create both independent and collaborative learning environments and provide students with language experiences as they move through the various stages of second language acquisition (Kung, 2002).

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is a form of computer-based learning which carries two important features: bidirectional learning and individualized learning. It is not a method. CALL materials are tools for learning. The focus of CALL is learning, and not teaching . CALL materials are used in teaching to facilitate the language learning process. It is a form of student-centered learning materials, which promote self-paced accelerated learning. CALL is not a software application, but rather courseware that is designed specifically for language learning for a specific group of learners.

1.Advantages of CALL Programmes

The computers have proved to be very effective and result-oriented in the areas of language teaching, especially in the case of ELT. It is not envisaged to make language teaching completely machine-oriented but, it is emphasized that computer-assisted language learning is a computer application to be exploited for the for the benefit of language learning

1.1. Learner Autonomy and Individualized Learning Process

Traditionally, learners must go to a class themselves at a fixed time and in a fixed classroom. If the place has a network of computer laboratories, learners can use the same materials wherever they are. They can even study at home if their personal computers have a link to their school’s system or network. In addition, the teachers and students can not only get materials and information from the websites of their own country, but also from those of foreign...
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