Use of technology in ESL teaching
As they say “If it doesn’t challenge you, it can’t change you”, I started to become more aware of my weaknesses and strengths dealing with the classroom problems and tried to act with more wisdom and sympathy towards my students. The more respect I’ve earned, the more patient and competent I’ve become.
However, something was still missing and besides the management skills, I needed to take the advancement of technology into account as well. Using technology and blended model of teaching in language classes would not only help our students learn more effectively but also ease our work and help us save more time for classroom practice. Children could reach their full potential in shorter time and in a more enjoyable environment.
As we move to an age described as “the Information age”, we must accept that technology is an opportunity to improve the quality of both teaching and learning. As an illustration, today, students don’t tempt to search a word in a dictionary. They would rather consult their mobile apps to find the meaning. Moreover, we, as language teachers, must accept the fact that unless we give them an e-book homework, they won’t improve their reading skills. Furthermore, they prefer writing a journal on Seesaw, Penzu or Padlet App rather than on a diary or a piece of paper. Today, we even track their behavioural management through Classdojo or other digital software that enable us to get instant feedback. What’s more, collaborative whiteboard platforms and screencasting apps aid ESL teachers of today in meeting and teaching their learners online.
Therefore, blending methodology with technology, today the publishers, even the local ones, present us ESL books with I-tools and online practice in order to contribute on our students’ learning through Multiple Intelligences. The contents and the way they are presented mostly meet teacher’s and schools’ needs and reflect their language teaching approaches. Even the school heads prefer materials that are compatible with Smartboards.
Yet, technology itself is not the only case. This year, a Language Robot called Elias will be piloted by our school for assisting language teachers in classroom. (http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/video/robot-ogretmen-elias-turkiyede-40837257) However, we still believe that a language teacher or let’s say the facilitator is the only person that can encourage and inspire learners and make use of right technology and effective and necessary apps in class.
As Language teachers, we must also admit the important role of CLT (Communicative Language Teaching). Unless we provide the real environment for our students to practise the target language, they will always be complaining about not being able to use their communicative skills and keep saying “Even though I understand what speakers mean, I find it hard to respond.” for the rest of their lives. Thus, using real life situations and communicative resources, we try to enrich our lessons with as many communicative activities as possible. (Like those of Jane Hadfield’s or Andrew Wright’s etc.)
As a result, we can neither deny the expanding role of technology in learning and teaching nor can we underestimate our own teaching skills. In this respect, rather than leaving behind what we have all learned up to now, we must accept the great impact of technology on education during the past decade. Although some others find the rapid evolution of educational technologies challenging to determine what works best, I take technology as my panacea for both the management of my classroom and my teaching techniques.
To sum up, ESL teaching today requires not only management and methodological skills and knowing up-to-date teaching methods and new trends in education but also practising latest technological approaches in class which would create opportunities for K-12 school students.