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Теория и методика обучения (из областей знаний)
E-learning use in teaching foreign languages in higher educational institutions
Автор: Литвинов Александр Николаевич, Луганский государственный университет внутренних дел имени Э.А. Дидоренко, старший преподаватель кафедры иностранных языков
Ukrainian universities put more and more efforts for integration into European educational space. Numerous changes in form and content of education are the result of the process which began in 1999 with signing of the Bologna declaration. The main purpose of this process is unification of national standards in higher education that will promote increase of mobility of students and teachers, adaptation to development of labor market and in particular to development of new skills necessary for continuous education and increase of competitiveness of employees.
Our system of higher education was based on classical methods of teaching where teacher was a key figure, and the number of hours planned for studying of this or that discipline was estimated by hours of lectures and seminars. It was a reflection the existing tradition under which a student was considered to be an object, and the feedback was not provided. The European system of the credits of ECTS shows total number of hours which each student should spend on a course and thus gives a better understanding about the work of a student. Another difference between the two paradigms of education is that for successful work in European educational the knowledge how to receive information or to use it for the solution of educational tasks is more important, than the knowledge of any subject. Respectively the technique of teaching demanded changes – concentration of attention on the student, his personality, specific features and requirements.
The new technologies possessing a big range of qualities, necessary for personal focused training have undoubtedly made an essential contribution to the development of a technique of teaching as whole and foreign languages in particular, approaching it to requirements of the European education.
First, these technologies, and in particular CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning – computer technologies in training) in itself are the element of an innovation increasing motivation of students and giving them the chance to use methods and tools, applied in their future profession. [1, 184]
Secondly, they develop ability of the staff for adaptation in quickly changing modern world. And most important, their use allows to individualize training process, to make it independent of a place, time and even presence of the student in a lecture room.
Therefore it seems quite natural that many researchers paid the attention to this new educational resource. Thus some of them regarded electronic technologies as a powerful tool for work with professional needs of students [2, 510], others saw possibility to make process of training of students almost independent, controlled by teachers on the Internet. [2, 526]
At the same time some authors doubt that certain tasks can be adopted for the system of electronic training. In addition new technologies are added to the training program generally as additional or option elements. [3, 71]
Therefore it is very important to define the strategy of use of CALL technologies in higher education. Their application can facilitate considerably the problem of teaching foreign languages for professional purposes. We can see a number of problems here; however within the frames of this work we will examine only some of them.
First, it is a large number of students in groups, even at those universities where academic groups are divided into two subgroups, that complicates the use of an individual approach. Secondly, not uniform level of language preparation of students. Some of them have hardly reached initial level, while the others are at quite high level. As a result the teacher is guided by requirements and the notorious "average" student which makes those who didn't get to this group suffer a lot. Thirdly, it is the problem of use of the native language. Within the group of students during the lesson communication in native language is much easier for them, but it is absolutely inefficient for training as interferes with creation of the language environment which is quite difficult to be creating artificially, but learning efficiency of a foreign language depends on it in many respects.
The modern level of development of technologies allows to solve the majority of these problems quite effectively. Effective introduction of CALL technologies in educational process allows to reduce expenses of time and preparation for classes and making didactic materials. E-learning is specific by its use of various types of programs: applied, tool and training. Their use along with possibility of computers to work practically with all types of video, audio, text and graphic formats allows to create a unique tutorial to a foreign language – «the computer language training environment». Its feature is the combination of functions of a teacher, a manual and actually computer system and clear advantages include interactivity and integrated approach to presentation of information (texts, graphics, animation, video and sound).
Learning of foreign language in higher educational institutions (except actually linguistic departments) can be referred to LSP (Language for Specific Purposes), ESP (English for Specific Purposes) more often is mentioned. There are some views on the content of the concept ESP/LSP. The first group of researchers is inclined to use ESP in relation to teaching and learning of foreign language for communicative requirements and to use in work, training or other professional context. [3, 77] Other group gives more attention of psychology and requirements to express already available professional knowledge means of a foreign language. [3, 82] One thing is obvious – as students belong to age category of over 18’s we definitely deal with adults training, so, all technique of training of LSP is focused on adults. It should consider such features of adult trainees as:
1. Personal growth of trainees and that they enter into a final phase of formation of the personality.
2. More developed feeling of prospect and ability to judgments (about him/herself and about others), based on the life experience. Adults are usually more serious about classes and want that them to be perceived seriously too.
3. Independence inherent in them makes them responsible for the decisions that make their motivation (extent of voluntary participation and personal interest) into one of the main factors of success in training.
LSP concept is rather new though has been in existence for a long time. Various definitions of LSP allocate its characteristic elements: special purpose, the age of the student, duration of a course. More often the special purpose is professional orientation of language preparation of future employees. Therefore the increasing attention is given to electronic training (e-learning) which considerably expands possibilities of development of the skills necessary for the professional purposes. Studying of foreign and domestic experience of e-learning use shows its advantages as against traditional training:
• Training with the native speaker
• Possibility not to miss classes
• Unlimited access to training resources
• Individual pace of training
• System of continuous communication – interaction with the teacher for increase of motivation of the student
• Use of the latest academic developments
• Decrease in administrative expenses
However the main advantage of e-learning when using it in professional language training is that it allows to intensify and individualize training, to expand the range of educational services in the sphere of foreign languages training. Due to means of e-learning, an environment in which a student can work at speed and in time convenient for him is created. Another advantage is that students don't feel discomfort because they fall behind their fellow students.
So e-learning makes it possible to:
• Individualize teaching process thanks to a free choice of tasks according to personal needs
• Develop an ability to study (search, selection and information transfer)
• Improve practical skills of using computer and uses of the latest communication technologies
• Develop speaking skills thanks to speech practice
• Stimulate and develop independence necessary for continuous training.
E-learning is a complex and creative process which should be based on the following principles: activity, independence, efficiency and motivation.
1.Chambers, Gary N. Motivating Language Learners, Modern Languages in Practice 12 - Multilingual Matters. 1999. - 276 p.
2.Handbook of research on e-learning methodologies for language acquisition / Rita de Cassia Veiga Marriott and Patricia Lupion Torres, editors – Hershey, New York, 2008. – 646 p.
3.Laurillard D. E-learning in higher education, Changing Higher Education. Edited by Paul Ashwin - Routledge Oxon, 2006. – 152p.
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