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Language learning with computers

Term Paper 2004 17 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics

Excerpt

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Pros and Cons for computers in school
2.1. Teacher interview
2.2. Pupils interview
2.3. Visit of a language lesson
2.3.1. Lesson structure
2.3.2. Pupils´ comments and reactions
2.3.3. Teacher comments

3. Pros and Cons for the frontal-teaching method

4. Comparison of computer usage and frontal-lessons as language teaching methods

5. Conclusion

1. Introduction

This paper is based on an oral report about `computers in school´. Since my group and I did a lot of research in schools including interviews and a visit in a language lesson I will use our results for developing this work.

The question I asked myself before I started researching is whether computers are a good alternative to frontal teaching in language lessons. I will compare both teaching methods after I write about research results about the two options. In the end an evaluation of the results will be made.

2. Pros and Cons for computers in school

First of all I have to say that Pro and Contra arguments of course slightly vary from person to person since everyone has different points of view. I start with listing up the Contra points.

The first point is the financial aspect of computers[1]. To afford the whole equipment for a whole school costs quite a lot and is much more of an investment than maybe some books. If the school does not have enough money it could be unaffordable to pay for the right amount of computers, screens, etc.

Another important aspect is that some teachers did not, like most of the recent pupils, grow up with computers and still do not know how to handle it. Some of them think they are too old for trying to get into this new type of media. And even if they would try it they think they are technically not as good as the pupils themselves and could look like a fool in front of the class[2].

„Hinzu kommt, dass die neuen Medien von vielen Schülern bereits selbstverständlich genutzt werden, doch ein Großteil der Lehrer nicht in der Lage ist, mit dem Computer kompetent umzugehen.“[3]

Another often used argument of the older generation of teachers is that computers were not at schools for the last years and it always worked without them. They do not see the necessity of this type of new media.

One contra argument you very often find in magazines, statistics or TV-Reports and is discussion topic for a lot of parents: Children would become isolated in front of the computer since they do not have any social interactions anymore but only work for themselves. They could get lonely when the act of talking to each other is missing and the `talk` to the computer is replacing it.[4]

„Schüler, die ohnehin schon durch häufigen Fernsehkonsum auch im Unterricht zu einem passiven Publikum werden, verfallen noch mehr in eine entsprechende Konsumhaltung. Die sachbezogene Arbeitseinstellung

nimmt dabei immer mehr ab.“[5]

This kind of includes the fourth Contra already. When the children do not talk to each other anymore a very important point of language learning is missing: the aspect of speaking.[6] To train vocabulary and mainly pronunciation of for the pupils unknown words the listening and `learning by doing` is indispensable.

It is also harder for the teacher to control the learning processes of the pupils when they hardly show any results of what they learned through for example talking.[7]

Teachers also say that children already spend a lot of their time with using the computer. Today usually every child has access to a computer at home and does games or uses the internet. So the question of many teachers is: why confronting the children with computers in school again?[8] They already spend a lot of time with using it during their free time. They could get bored and easily distracted.

Against all negative aspects concerning computers in language lessons there are some Pro arguments that have to be listed up for being able to compare and evaluate in the end.

One Aspect is the todays usage of computers in everyday life of the information society we live in.

„Da der Computer in der Gesellschaft nicht mehr wegzudenken ist, erhält die Schule durch die Computeranwendung einen Realitätsbezug. Das Wissen um die Umsetzbarkeit der in der Schule erworbenen Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten gibt dem Üben und Lernen am Gerät einen sinn- und zukunftsorientierten Aspekt.“[9]

That’s why it should and must be a concern of school to teach the pupils how to use it.[10] They have to be prepared for the implicitness of being able to use the technology of computers, of being able to format a text in a writing-program. At least the basics should be procured since later a lot of employers no matter in which area will require these .

„Kinder, die heute eingeschult werden, treten etwa im Jahr 2015 in das Berufsleben ein. Der souveräne Umgang mit den heutigen neuen Medien wird dann unverzichtbar sein.“[11]

A teacher´s problem of motivating the class is supposed to be solved with the next Pro argument. Through the variety of possibilities that computer-programmes offer, the interest of the pupils can be awakened.

„Der Computer ist für die heutigen Schüler ein in sich motivierendes Gerät. Nicht nur, weil man damit viel machen kann, sondern auch, weil das ein Gerät der Erwachsenenwelt ist und die Heranwachsenden sich durch ihre Kenntnisse Anerkennung und Akzeptanz bei Mitschülern sowie in der Welt der Erwachsenen erwerben können.“[12]

It offers a change of teaching methods. Through the pictures or even animated representations, learning seems to be easier and so awakens the curiosity of the pupils.[13]

„Medien verleihen bestimmten Inhalten eine ästhetisch- emotionale Qualität und beeinflussen mit dieser Eigenschaft lernpsychologische Faktoren wie Wahrnehmung, Motivation, Denken, Behalten u.a.m.”[14]

The `game character` of educational computer programs is very important. Children get motivated by the fact of playing in school and find it easy to learn this way. „…that made educational computer games fun for children: Challenge, curiosity, and fantasy.”[15]

„Spielerische Elemente in der Lernsoftware sind von großer Bedeutung. Spielerisches Lernen macht Spaß – und Spaß ist ein Lernverstärker. Wird die Motivation gesteigert, so kann auch die Lernaktivität des motivierten Schülers erhöht werden.“[16]

The next positive point is the big variety of methods the teacher can reach with the help of computers. Very often one talks about a methodical Monoculture which means the lesson-conversations between teacher and pupil which is developed through questions from teachers-side. Through computers this can be avoided, different working atmospheres can be created. Examples are group-work or partner-work. Not the single pupil is to be put in front of the screen but through team-work there can be created a conversation between pupils in front of the screen.[17] With a final evaluation of the results with the whole class teachers can get sure of learning processes.

This kind of lesson structure leads to the next Pro argument. Pupils often moan about them not being involved enough into the actual lesson happening. The reason could be that teachers usually fall back into their leading role in class. They ask/answer the questions, they create the groups for team-work, etc. In contrast to this class situation a pupil oriented lesson is to be created. This can happen with the help of computers.[18]

„Die Maus ist ein effektives Steuergerät in der Hand des Lerners. […] Der Lernende kann Orte im Lernprogramm aufsuchen, die ihn interessieren.“[19]

The role of the teacher automatically becomes a moderating and advising character. „Im idealen Falle sollte sich der Schüler das Ziel selber setzen.”[20]

Of course the teacher can not plan ahead anymore as much because the pupils will kind of leading the progression of the lesson. But this kind of lesson is the one pupils can get motivated the most with since they are able to direct the happenings themselves.

„Dabei hat er die Möglichkeit, seinen Interessen nachzugehen und Randgebiete des Themas hinzuzuziehen.”[21]

[...]


[1] See Christiane Kallenbach, Markus Ritter: Computerideen für den Englischunterricht. Anregungen und Beispiele für den Software- und Interneteinsatz Klassen 5-10. Berlin 2000, p. 11

[2] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note 1], page 11

[3] Sascha Busse: Neue Medien in der Schule. Widersprüche, Perspektiven, Konsequenzen. Essen 2002, p. 8

[4] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note1]

[5] Joseph Wandl: Computer und Lernen. Eine grundlegende Einführung für Lehrer und Schüler. Funktion, Programmiersprachen, pädagogische Theorie. München 1985, p. 19; c.f.: Kallenbach, Ritter, p. 246

[6] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note1], page 11

[7] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note1], page 11

[8] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note1], p. 11

[9] Wandl, [See note 5], p.183

[10] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note1], p. 12

[11] Busse, [See note 3], p. 121

[12] Wandl, [See note 5], p. 17f.

[13] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note 1], p. 15

[14] Dieter Euler: Computergestützter Unterricht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen. Braunschweig 1987, p. 109; c.f.: Karl-Ludwig Herné: Software zur Förderung der Lese-Rechtschreib-Fähigkeit, Übersicht, Bewertung und Perspektiven. In: Diskussion Deutsch, 1992, p. 530

[15] Peter Coburn: Practical guide to computers in education. Boston 1982, p. 186

[16] Iva Kamke-Martasek: Allgemeine Didaktik des Computer integrierenden Unterrichts. Bd.

9. Frankfurt am Main 2001, p. 247

[17] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note 1], p. 16/17

[18] See Kallenbach, Ritter, [See note 1], p. 19/20

[19] Bernd Weidenmann: Medien und Lernmotivation: Machen Medien hungrig oder satt? In: Schiefele, Ulrich Wild, Klaus-Peter (Eds.): Interesse und Lernmotivation. Untersuchungen zu Entwicklung, Förderung und Wirkung. Münster, New York, Berlin 2000, p. 121

[20] Kamke-Martasek, [See note 15], p. 268

[21] Kamke-Martasek, [See note 15], p. 268

Details

Pages
17
Year
2004
ISBN (eBook)
9783638304559
File size
469 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v28765
Institution / College
University of Duisburg-Essen
Grade
1,0 (A)
Tags
Language

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Title: Language learning with computers