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Computer Aided Language Learning Learning a new language can be a
Learning a new language can be a challenging task, especially for adult learners who might have missed the chance to pick up a new language when they were younger, and when it would have been much easier for them to do so. However, there are a wide variety of methodologies available for teaching language efficiently to students of all ages. Some argue that practice is the best way of inculcating language. Talking with the students and having the student talk back. Thus putting to practical use what they have learned in theory. Others believe that using aids such as audio or visual material are helpful in communicating and reinforcing the language too. Still others think that computers are important teaching tools that combine almost every form of teaching aid together into one. Since both of us work for a language school in China that present nearly all their formal classes on PPT, we think that computer aided language learning is a topic worth looking at. The following are just some of the advantages of using computers in language learning:
1.Great online information resource.
The Internet is an inexhaustible source for primary material and supplementary, that can be utilized in infinite ways. 'Google Image' is indispensable when searching for imagery for PPTs.
2.PowerPoint can be a wonderful medium for teaching English.
1)Catches the attention of the Student more effectively than a book.
2)Can be edited or customized to suit.
3)Conveniently combines written, audio, and visual material (if required).
3.Convenient visual and audio resources
. As previously stated, relevant material from online sources is limitless. Your computer can be used to play Music clips or TV or Movie excerpts from the net, from your school, or from your own collection at home.
4.Modern and professional image
This methodology appeals to contemporary Students, especially vocational students and business professionals, because it portrays a sophisticated image and, in the case of corporate types, employs tools and systems (PPT etc.), which they use professionally.
However, there are some disadvantages to computer based language learning.
1. The lack of a 'carry around' reference.
The Student may suffer from not having a point of reference readily available. Therefore it is important for the teacher to encourage diligent note taking and to provide a printed summary sheet/handout at the end of each class. 2. Information Overload
Since there is so much information online, the teacher needs to remain focused on requirements and not become distracted or overwhelmed by non-relevant or overly complicated material
3. Teacher Complacency
In instances where the material has been constructed elsewhere, such as with pre-prepared PPT packages, a teacher runs the risk of becoming complacent or lazy. A teacher should always prepare for such lessons well in advance. Personalize it where appropriate, and prepare his/her own supplementary to be inserted at the proper time.
To summarize, weighing up both the pros and cons, computer aided language learning is still an effective, attractive, Teacher/Student friendly option for modern ESL Institutions to consider implementing, either fully or partly. This is especially so for schools predominantly catering to career professionals, or to university students aspiring to be so in the future. Hands on computer learning has also been utilized by schools that serve children (such as Jordan English Language Schools) with a great deal of success. We predict the number of Learning Facilities operating in this way will continue to increase for a very long time to come.