is nowadays a crucial means for processing information,
and information is a key aspect in the present society.
More and more computer programs have been built for
education, and much has been developed on distance
learning. The Internet is also of central importance
for education nowadays.
Teachers can benefit from it through instant access
to research, curriculum sources, lesson plans, online
experts, discussion centers, and communication tools.
Students may have the opportunity to experience the
frequently mentioned globalization, having access to
physically distant information and through contact
with people from other countries. Multicultural issues
may be more easily approached and understood.
In the field of Teaching English as Foreign Language,
there seems to be even more room for excitement! I
would like to discuss in this paper four aspects of
language teaching that can be directly impacted and
improved by the adoption of computers in TEFL classes:
(a) the existence of real audiences for students writing;
(b) the authenticity and diversity of materials for
students reading; (c) the possibility of individualization
of lessons; and (d) the nurture of student self-direction
and personal efficacy .I also would like to discuss
an approach to the integration of computer technology
in classes, where educational values and the teacher
become crucial elements.
The use of
technology in general - and the Internet in particular
- can bring to the language classroom
authenticity and audience, two aspects hardly ever
created in the artificial environment of a school classroom.
A language is a tool for communication. Generally,
most students studying English as a foreign language
intend to use the language when travelling, studying,
to meet and communicate with foreigners, to understand
songs, watch television, etc… Although it may
sound obvious, this main purpose of using the English
language as tool or as a means for communication easily
gets lost in the process of learning a language in
a country where it is not spoken. Both teachers and
students overlook it, and activities such as grammar
and drills become a routine.
Missing the communicative purpose of learning a language
is as common as it is counter-productive. The need
for communication is a critical engine for foreign
language learning. That's why the Communicative Approach
is the number one methodology adopted in language schools
worldwide, and that is where the Internet becomes so
important for a monolingual class of language learners:
it has the power to offer real audiences for students
writing. According to Lafer (1997)
a genuine purpose for classroom writing remains
the most important aspects of the writing process.
Helping students to discover authentic purposes
of their own and act upon them may be the teacher's
most difficult task. The purpose of writing is
tied to the existence of a real audience or readership.”
It has been realized
by researchers that most students’ writing
is addressed to inauthentic audience: teachers.
Teachers usually have the role of an examiner -
or at least are perceived by students as such;
teachers read in order to evaluate students’ writing
skills, or to discover whether they possess an
understanding of specific subject areas. The result
is "dummy run", defined by Lafer as:
that fails to cause the writer to become engaged
dynamics of authentic writing process in which
one constantly evaluates and re-evaluates how
words come to building desired understandings
between writer and reader... The rhetorical tension
causes one to think like a writer is absent from
that provokes the writing.”