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Using technology to improve students listening and speaking - Essay Example

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In the current advent of innovation and globalization, with shrinking distances and integrated economies, the world of education is also undergoing a paradigm shift. This paper focuses on the use of technology to improve EFL students’ listening and speaking skills. …
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Download file to see previous pages In the current advent of innovation and globalization, with shrinking distances and integrated economies, the world of education is also undergoing a paradigm shift. This paper focuses on the use of technology to improve EFL students’ listening and speaking skills. The mode of education and instructional methodologies are shifting from the conventional use of oral and print media, including lectures and textbooks to more modern forms such as the use of computers (including computer assisted language learning or CALL), internet (which provides access to online libraries, electronic journals, search engines, websites which allow audio and video streaming and email facilities) and multimedia (including audio tapes, videos, etc). Acquisition of a second language comprises of four main components viz. listening, speaking reading and writing. Technology can be used to enhance all of these aspects of learning via different modalities.In the modern era of innovation and globalization, with shrinking distances and integrated economies, the world of education is also undergoing a paradigm shift. The term technology refers to the formation of new ideas, products or tools that extend our natural abilities and bring about changes in our social environment. Technology is completely responsible for how structured our civilization has become. Modern technology has not just influenced the industrial and corporate world but also has a great impact on our personal lives. Many of the everyday items we use nowadays are a result of technology. These technological advancements have brought about improvements in our health, the clothes we wear, the way we travel and communicate and hence, revolutionized the way we live. Similarly, it has also influenced the mode of education and instructional methods and tools used in the classroom to facilitate learning amongst students. In this fast growing world of technology, people are continuously looking for new and innovative ways of communication. Research Question The research question discussed in this paper is whether the use of technology in the EFL/ESL classroom helps in enhancing students’ listening and speaking skills and in what ways is this achieved. Literature Review Effective learning results from a complex interplay of several factors including the mode of instruction, the communication skills of the instructors and the interest and the capability of the learners (Orellana, 2010). Thus, any interventions aimed at enhancing the learning process must target all these factors. The main aim of teaching any language to students in the classroom as a second or foreign language is to enhance their skills in four important aspects, viz. listening, speaking reading and writing in order to enable them to use that language fluently as a medium of communication (Xu, 2005). These are also the aims when English is taught to students as a foreign or second language, i.e. EFL or ESL, and can be achieved in a variety of ways. Listening is one of the most important tools in aiding and facilitating the learning process. Research as revealed that an average human being spends atleast 45% of his/her time in listening and approximately 85% of the knowledge that a person possesses throughout life has been acquired via listening (Xu, 2005). Moreover, while learning a new language, listening skills become more important as listening not only helps in facilitating comprehension but also aids in the acquisition of the proper accent, grammar and pronunciation. In a recent study carried out among Chinese students learning English as a second language, it was found that one of the most commonly encountered problems by EFL were in the listening aspect of learning (Yang, 2007). This problem can arise due to a variety of reasons including the fact that listening is a relatively neglected component while teaching a language and thus most teaching strategies fail to focus on this aspect ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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