TEFL St. AugustineCounty Seat Florida



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In the course of my research for this topic I discovered that some people and companies use ‘Computer Assisted Language Learning' as their definition so I am using the acronym CALL to communicate my understanding of the topic. I have a professional interest in reference to online learning, believing that technology can greatly enhance our curriculum and in turn, benefit our students' learning experience. I have not previously heard of the term ‘Computer Aided Language Learning' (CALL) so I was eager to learn more. Defined as “the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning (Levy, 1997, p. 1)”, CALL “has evolved out of early efforts to find ways of using the computer for teaching and for instructional purposes (Levy, 1997, p. 1).” “It refers not only to language learning software ... but to any software which is designed and used for languages-related purposes, including: • electronic dictionaries • concordancers • authoring tools • computer-aided assessment (CAA) • translation tools (Riley, 2006)” Past CALL programs “presented a stimulus to which the learner had to provide a response (Davies, © Professor Graham Davies)”. In early CALL programs, this stimulus “was in the form of text presented on screen, and the only way in which the learner could respond was by entering an answer at the keyboard (Davies, © Professor Graham Davies)”. Now, “approaches to CALL have favoured a learner-centred, explorative approach rather than a teacher-centred, drill-based approach (Davies, © Professor Graham Davies)”. Marta González-Lloret from the University of Hawaii, communicates that this revolution in CALL is part of the paradigm shift “in the way teaching and learning are perceived (González-Lloret, 2003, p. 86)” Many advantages are stemming from CALL programs – a list of these include: • “Multimodal practice with feedback; • Individualization in a large class; • Pair or small group work on projects; • The fun factor; • Variety in the resources available and learning styles used; • Exploratory learning with large amounts of language data (Gündüz, 2005, p. 206)” In addition to these varied advantages, CALL has the added benefit in helping to train tefl students in computer functions, which in today's technology-driven society is a life skill (Gündüz, 2005, p. 206). It is not surprising that some people have expressed their reservations about CALL application, concerned that “Working with computers normally means that the learners work in isolation. This obviously does not help in developing normal communication between the learners, which is a crucial aim in any language lesson (Gündüz, 2005, p. 208).” I would argue that if a tefl teacher is applying CALL activities in their classroom they would be in conjunction with other educational resources to enhance the curriculum - not as the only means of teaching. Like any other form of teaching equipment, it is the teacher's responsibility to select CALL programs that contain appropriate material for their students with streamlined learning outcomes in mind. The programs should be researched and tested before presenting them to a class. An exciting development, with this in mind, comes from ‘CALL Authoring Programs' which “offer a do-it-yourself approach to CALL (Davies, © Professor Graham Davies).” Better still, you do not have to have prior experience in computer programming to be able to design your own online activities for students (Davies, © Professor Graham Davies). I am a fan of any resource that will engage and stimulate the thought process of students therefore I believe that Computer Aided Language Learning, with considered and specific application, would absolutely enhance a tefl class environment. Bibliography Davies, G. (© Professor Graham Davies). CALL (computer assisted language learning). Retrieved August 7, 2011, from LLAS Centre For Languages Linguistics and Area Studies: http://www.llas.ac.uk/resources/gpg/61 González-Lloret, M. (2003). DESIGNING TASK-BASED CALL TO PROMOTE INTERACTION:EN BUSCA DE ESMERALDAS. Language Learning & Technology , 7 (1), 86-104. Gündüz, N. (2005). “Computer Assisted Language Learning” (CALL). Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies , 1 (2), 193-214. Levy, M. (1997). Google Books. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from Computer-assisted language learning: context and conceptualization: http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=RRGgrjteVjUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR8&dq=computer+aided+language+learning&ots=8p2eI6oGo9&sig=PGqP-aBcYwn4-JZHgu-ZR1JLDD4#v=onepage&q=computer%20aided%20language%20learning&f=false Riley, F. (2006, June 23 (Last updated)). CALL@Hull. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from CALL: http://www.fredriley.org.uk/call/call/index.htm