Every language class uses some form of technology today. New technology has been used to assist language learning and teaching. There are various forms of technology which support teaching and engage students in the learning process. Some such tools enable teachers to differentiate instruction and adapt classroom activities and homework assignments. They, consequently, enhance the language learning experience. Technology continues to grow as a tool to assist teachers of languages in facilitating and mediating language learning for students.
A large proportion of the world’s population speaks two or more languages. But the psychological study of second or foreign language learning is not very common. Very few psychologists have developed a special interest in learning and teaching a second language.
Many methods of teaching a new language have evolved over the years. The method that has been most heavily influenced by psychologists is the Audio-Lingual method. The focus of this method is on learning the target language through communicative drills directed by the teacher. In this method new vocabulary and grammatical structures are presented through teacher-directed dialogue drills. In the present day context of technology-centered education, students can listen to the drills played on laptops. A language lab almost replaces a teacher in this method of language learning. This method emphasizes proper pronunciation, simple everyday dialogues and correct grammar.
Language learning through technology:
There are several guided exercises. They help students assimilate grammatical and lexical structures as well as phonetics. They consist of repetition exercises namely word pronunciation and sentence pronunciation, substitution or transformation exercises namely sentence practice and grammar practice. There are umpteen language exercises online which help students do a rigorous practice to master a language. There is yet another set of exercises which deals with the organization of sentence components. The use of vocabulary and grammar in fill-in-the-blanks exercises requires students to analyze a sentence in its entirety in order to fill the correct word in the blank. The third set of exercises helps students to put the acquired knowledge into practice through written expression.
Language lab can be used for teaching and learning a language. Language learning software can also be used for the same purpose. It is a very good platform for learning, practicing and producing language skills through interactive lessons and communicative mode of teaching. The greatest advantage of such a lab is that learners can learn and respond at their own pace.
The major objectives of a language lab are given below:
- Linguistic competence with accuracy in grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.
- Pragmatic competence in order to understand the grammatical form and function.
- Discourse competence to make the learner able to contextualize written text and speech.
- Strategic competence to use both written and spoken language in a wide range of communication strategies.
Accurate perception of the sounds of a language is necessary for learning that particular language. Earphones and head phones deliver undistorted sound directly to the ears. A well equipped language lab with the acoustic features enables the learners to learn the sounds of languages. Once the first stage of becoming familiar with the speech sounds is done, remaining levels of language study becomes easier. Technology has made the learning and teaching of languages smoother and more effective.
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