A teacher writing English words on the whiteboard and asking the students to repeat it after the teacher or the plain reading and writing comprehension for improving the English proficiency of students cannot be regarded as student-centric or collaborative learning approaches.
The problem that arises in learning English by the secondary language learners is that they are not exposed to the language as a whole, but to merely extracts of it.
It is for this reason that the aspects of pronunciation, vocabulary power, and speaking and writing skills of the ESL learners often remain undeveloped. The use of improved technological measures in primary classrooms has proved to be beneficial in cultivating the English skills of the students, giving them more exposure to the different components of the language. Mark Scaffolding in his theory of ESL states that language learning is in many ways different than learning and understanding other subjects. It is due to the integrated nature of the language, which is not isolated with the external environment people live in. Thus, it should be noted that the teaching of language is not restricted to the classroom alone, but to everywhere the students go. This article will shed light to some of the technological resources that have been successfully ingrained into primary classrooms, and have been able to develop the language learning interests in students.
Spot and His Friends
An essential part in English learning is the audio or listening part of the language. It is my personal observation that many English teachers convey the lesson topic in English and then use their primary language to clarify the message. This is though a good practice to make the student comprehend the instructions nicely, it also makes them dependent on the primary language instructions. Spot and His Friends is a user-friendly software which improves the listening skills of students, giving them instructions in English and then comprehending the instructions in further simple English. The task given the software is to spot a particular object from a bunch of objects that appear on the screen. The students will be given points if they are able to spot the object within the given time, and extra points for instantaneous responses.
The use of interactive whiteboard has become an integral part in many ESL classrooms. It is apparent that if students are unable to make a connection of the word with their appropriate picture of the sentence, they won’t be able to remember the word for long. Furthermore, for deploying the student-centric learning, it is important to maximize the class participation of students, which does not reach to its full potential in the conventional two-way communication setting. Some students are too shy or introvert to talk freely to their teachers, and this often puts them on the back seat in classroom learning. However, their confidence and participation level can be expected to rise when they are interacting with a software-based program, in the guidance of the teacher. Interactive whiteboard implies the technique of virtual classrooms, images, and touch-learning programs through which each sentence of English can be seen in motion using the virtual learning plug-in, or can be drawn by the students themselves.
Issues in English
Another software that has received a prominent growth in the ESL classrooms, particularly in North America, is of Issues in English. This software can be used in the primary classrooms for boosting the English listening, writing, and reading skills of the students. There are both dialogues, reading comprehension, which engage students in a creative virtual environment, isolated from their present environment. Students are given the task to translate their primary language to the secondary one or vice versa. The creative thing about this software is that it creates a scenario to engage students and make them in charge of the message to be delivered, for which they have to demonstrate their English skills. Transforming the concept of points and ranks into “degrees”, it motivates students to play with the software more without getting disheartened.
These are some of the many software and other IT tools that can be integrated in the English teaching classroom. Not only it improves the lesson planners of teachers, they will also get more time for class evaluation, which they used to spend in material researching and planner designing.