Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Learning a Foreign Language Faster: Does Using the Internet Help Students?
The Internet Has Many Useful Aspects
Yes in fact, the internet has many useful aspects in English and foreign language teaching or learning. It’s a fine resource for those teachers and learners who like technology. So it definitely can help students to learn a foreign language faster when used properly and with discretion. Whether the internet is a viable option will depend a lot on the type of connection available to you, its reliability and your computer equipment and software itself.
Comic source: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/gerv/archives/2007/images/internet_dog.jpg
There is an introductory 3-part article of mine on this topic entitled “Effective Ways to Use the Internet for Learning English or a Foreign Language”. Here I give an overview of getting starting in foreign language learning on the world wide web. A great variety of language and other courses, teaching and learning aids, and tutorials are available online in scores if not hundreds of languages. There are also radio broadcasts, news, current events, sports, weather, documentary and cultural events regularly placed on the internet in multi-media formats, with a large number of these having free access.
Some EFL Teachers Have Opted-out of Using Technology
Actually though, there are quite a number of English and foreign language teachers who are “techno-phobes”, that is, those who have opted-out of using technology or the world wide web. The internet scares or repels them for any number of reasons, some of them quite valid, so they stay away from it. This is often a shame, since there is so much good information to be had online for little or frequently, no cost.
Overcoming Initial Fears
For “non-techies” and the technologically-challenged, I usually recommend an introductory course on using the worldwide web for teachers that includes word processing, e-mail basis, power point, uploading and downloading files and information along with a few other PC-use basics. Then they can try an online English grammar course or a short web quest. Once over their initial “fears” of using computers and the internet, many former “techno-phobes” come to grips with dealings online. This is more often than not to their ultimate benefit.
Language Learners Use Portable Digital Devices of All Kinds
Although I teach and use the internet extensively, there are many approaches to TEFL which do not. As technology advances and more and more of our learners use portable digital devices of all kinds as an every-day occurrence, we as ELT and foreign language teaching professionals need to “keep up” as it were, with what learners can use in their quests for competitive knowledge and skills. After all, it’s just another way of reaching our learners by “lowering their Affective Filters”.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, prolific writer, expert author and public speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: firstname.lastname@example.org Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.