THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TECHNOLOGY IN TEACHING STUDY SKILLS: CALL CLASSROOM

Computer Assisted Language Learning enhances the motivation level of students. Teachers can customise any CALL program to the syllabus or course design that they are using to increase the level of proficiency in students. Computers are useful in-group activities as well as in imparting individualised instruction, which is rarely possible in a traditional classroom. There are no limitations with regard to practice-sessions or time. Students can have as many practice-sessions as they wish, repeat the tasks any number of times to acquire mastery and select the material according to their individual requirements. Thus, the computer is an efficient learner-centred device. It has a powerful self-access facility and gives immense scope for self learning.

Teachers in language classes give students exercises to write. Students most often do not revise or correct the scripts immediately even though they are incorrect. The computer helps to reduce this handicap. CALL software has tutorial modes, which help the students explore the correct answers and learn from the errors they make. As computers can store, access and analyse more data than books, they create a technology enabled exciting learning environment. Technology maximizes learning opportunities for their students.

The immediate feedback given by computers helps the students to analyse patterns in the language. The novelty that is an integral part of CALL programmes increases the motivational level of students.(M Atkins 42) CALL programmes besides helping the learner to learn a foreign language or a second language, also provides some computer literacy which is becoming essential in a technological era, and could be of great help in the future training and career prospects. CALL programmes provide the information requested in a very short time, almost instantaneously.

By using CALL method the students will not only learn more number of words but also the usage of those words. The advantage of using CALL method is that they can do the entire study skill activity at their own pace and time using their own learning styles and strategies. Also, integrating CALL with language teaching provides the learner with an opportunity to become part of the skills. They are learning and address their subject related issues by the study skills approach. Having introduced to CALL method of learning at the tertiary level, the learners will continue the exercise of study skills approach and achieve distinctive mastery in their subjects when they come to their higher semesters.

The computer is a means of communication between the programmer and the user. However in this analogy, the author and the programmer do not mostly share similar concerns. While the author is bound to be a subject expert, the programmer is mostly a technician. This gap between the author and the programmer is responsible for inappropriate lesson content, poor documentation, errors in format and content, improper feedback etc. found in some CALL materials.

Likewise, in most of the software packages, there is little chance for the teacher to add or modify the existing programmes, even if he wishes to, since most of it is locked to prevent pirating. And for the few of those who develop their own material, the time spent on preparation and programming can be quite lengthy running to hours and days.

But, these limitations or problems should be seen in the backdrop of a development stage of computerisation. The next generation of teachers and learners will be part of a computer generation. They will take for granted the skills demanded by computer technology and handle them as coolly as switching on a tape recorder or watching a television.

The language teacher, who has the prime objective to develop study skills in learners, seeks to make an effective use of the technology. An analysis of the methods discussed so far leads the researcher to conclude that it is ultimately the teacher who has to be more innovative, more resourceful, and more thoughtful to create awareness in students about the importance of the study skills in English and to provide opportunities to practice the language by using Technology. Computers make excellent teaching tools, especially in teaching languages in any aspect, be it vocabulary, grammar, composition, pronunciation, or other linguistic, pragmatic-communicative skills and Soft Skills. The major benefits offered by technology in enhancing language acquisition apparently outweigh its limitations.

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