College TEFL Course

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Z.Z - Canada said:
CALL (Computer Aided Language Learning) Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is a form of computer-based assisted learning of language, 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 student-centered accelerated learning material, which promotes self-paced accelerated learning. CALL is a program derived from CAL (Computer-Assisted Learning) which is implemented to language, but the use of computer here is mainly aimed at providing a language learning tutorial program. CALL includes a wide range of ICT applications and approaches to teaching and learning foreign languages, from the "traditional" drill-and-practice programs that characterized CALL in the 1970s to more recent manifestations of CALL, as used in a virtual learning environment and Web-based distance learning. It also extends to the use of interactive whiteboards, Computer-mediated communication (CMC), language learning in virtual worlds, and Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). CALL means students learn language in any context with, through, and around computer technologies. The current philosophy of CALL puts a strong emphasis on student-centered materials that allow learners to work on their own. Such materials may be structured or unstructured, but they normally embody two important features: interactive learning and individualized learning. CALL is essentially a tool that helps teachers to facilitate the language learning process. It can be used to reinforce what has been already been learned in the classroom or as a remedial tool to help learners who require additional support. CALL dates back to the 1960s, when it was first introduced on university mainframe computers. During the 1980s and 1990s several attempts were made to establish a CALL typology. These included gap-filling and Cloze programs, multiple-choice programs, free-format (text-entry) programs, adventures and simulations, action mazes, sentence-reordering programs, exploratory programs - and "total Cloze", a type of program in which the learner has to reconstruct a whole text. Most of these early programs still exist in modernized versions. Advantages of CALL Many educators specify that the current computer technology has many advantages for second language learning. The following are the advantages as stated by many experts: 1. Interest and motivation Classical language teaching in classroom can be monotonous, boring, and even frustrating, and students can lose interest and motivation in learning. CALL programs can provide student ways to learn English through computer games, animated graphics, and problem-solving techniques which can make drills more interesting. 2. Individualization CALL allows learners to have non-sequential learning habit; they can decide on their own, which skills to develop and which course to use, as well as the speed and level depending on their own needs. 3. A compatible learning style students have different style of learning, and an incompatible style for students will cause serious conflicts. Computer can provide an exciting ?fast? drill for one student and ?slow? for another. 4. Optimal use of learning time The time flexibility of using computer enables students to choose appropriate timing for learning. The web-based instruction and CALL allows flexible learning- anywhere, anytime, anyhow, and anything the learner wants. 5. Immediate feedback In traditional ways of learning, students receive benefit from feedback only if it is given immediately. A delayed positive feedback reduces the encouragement and reinforcement, and a delayed negative feedback affects the crucial knowledge that a student must master. Computer can give instant feedback and help the students ward off his misconception at the very first stage. The advantages of CALL include providing immediate feedback, allowing students work at their own pace, and causing less frustration. 6. Error analysis Computer database can be used by teacher to classify and differentiate errors. A computer can analyze the specific mistakes that students made and can react in different way from the usual teacher, which enables student to do self-correction and understand the principle behind the correct solution. 7. Guided and repetitive practice students have freedom of expression within certain bounds that programmers create, such as grammar, vocabulary, etc. They can repeat the course they want to master as many times as they wish. 8. Pre-determined to process syllabus Computer enhances the learning process from a pre-determined syllabus to an emerging or processed syllabus. For example, a monotonous paper exercise of ?fill-in-the-blanks? type can be made more exciting on the screen in the self-access mode, and students can select their own material. Therefore, CALL facilitates the synthesis of the pre-planned syllabus and learner syllabuses ?through a decision-making process undertaken by teacher and learners together?. Disadvantages of CALL Although there are many advantages of CALL, it still has its limitations. Some disadvantages of CALL are as follows: 1. Less-handy equipment: School computers or language laboratory can only be accessed in restricted hours, so CALL program only benefits people who have computers at home or personal notebook. 2. Increased educational costs: CALL increases the educational cost, since computers become a basic requirement for students to purchase, and low-budget school and low income students cannot afford them. 3. Lack of Trained teachers: It is necessary for teachers and students to have basic technology knowledge before applying CALL in second language learning. 4. Imperfect current CALL programs: At present, CALL mainly deals with reading, listening, and writing skills. There are some speaking programs have been developed recently, but their functions are still limited. 5. Inability to handle unexpected situations: The learning situations that second-language learners face are various and ever changing. Computers merely have any artificial intelligence, to deal with learners? unexpected learning problems or responding to questions spontaneously, as teachers do traditionally. CONCLUSION The purpose of this article was to discuss CALL, together with the advantages and disadvantages of CALL programs for applying in current ESL classrooms. With the modern technology development, although the application of CALL programs has become a new trend in recently globalized, second language learning instructions, application of computer technology still has its limitations and weaknesses. Therefore, when we try to apply CALL programs to enhance their teaching or to help student learning, we should realize what the advantages and disadvantages are in current CALL programs in order to avoid misemploying CALL programs and get maximum benefits for our ESL teaching and learning.