Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week 3: Using Technology To Enhance Aural/Oral Skills

How to analyze, evaluate, and create was an ultimate goal in mind before this course. I surfed the internet for more ways to develop these skills for me and my students. I’ve read an article about using blogging for enhancing HOTS (*). However, there is a big difference between something you read and something you see in a practical way.

These tasks we are asked to do in this course, especially the third task of this week provide me with many chances to analyze and evaluate the readings provided by Deborah and my colleagues’ posts, blogs and comments, then create my own. Before this course, I thought developing such skills are very difficult. Now I use them automatically as the proverb says “Practice makes perfect”. I’m so happy to achieve my goal and I promise to help my students to reach it.

The third task of this week is to read at least one of 3 articles recommended by Deborah about CALL for listening, speaking and pronunciation skills and then explain how technology could be helpful in improving my students’ aural/oral skills.

I’ve read the article written by Miller (2003) Developing listening skills with authentic materials: http://www.elthillside.com/up/files/article4.doc. She suggested a very good framework to develop students’ listening skills. She divided the lesson into 3 stages: Pre, While, Post. It is not a new approach as I have attended a training dealing with the same idea for all language skills not just listening. What makes it new is the involvement of technology tools that provides more authentic materials. Among these tools are the Radio, TV/Video and the Internet/CD ROM. These tools provide students with many opportunities to listen to native speakers. I know it is a good idea to do this, but I should adapt these tools first and then step by step students will be ready to these authentic materials.

In general, technology makes students’ learning process more easier and colorful. It creates a safe environment through which they succeed to get rid of anxiety when speaking or listening. It also provides them with many resources from which they can select according to their learning styles and needs.

However, when dealing with technology, we shouldn’t forget about our humanity. Although technology proved its utility in all areas, it failed in developing the emotional aspects. That’s why many researchers call for using blended learning as it combines two methods: the traditional face-to-face instruction and the technological one. This doesn’t mean I’m against using technology, but it is desirable to use more than one approach in your classroom. I like to be multi-approaches teacher. ……… What do you think?

Recommended Resource:
  • (*) Zawilinski, L. (2009). HOT Blogging: A Framework for Blogging to Promote Higher Order Thinking. The Reading Teacher, 62 (8), pp. 650-661.
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