К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010
Автор: Соломина Ксения Петровна
One of the main principles of Kazakhstan public policy in the sphere of education is spreading of information
technologies in educational system . Due to this fact one of the main
objectives of educational system of KR is introduction of new educational
technologies, informatization of education, access to international global
communication chains . That’s why the strategies of education in KR nowadays
are mostly computer-oriented.
The President of Kazakhstan suggests all
educational establishments to provide usage of computers not only as isolated
science, but also in combination with other school subjects.
The variant of such combination in English
language classroom is Computer-Assisted
Language Learning or CALL, which can be interpreted as an approach to language teaching and learning in
which computer technology is used as an aid to the presentation, reinforcement
and assessment of material to be learned, usually including a substantial
interactive element .
of information technologies into the English language classroom provides an
increase in language comprehension, particularly in developing grammar skills,
because computer helps to form receptive grammar skills in reading and auding,
efficient grammar skills in writing, to control the formation level of grammar
skills on bases of test programs, to provide reference-information support
(computer-aided grammar reference manual, grammar error detecting system on
morphological and syntactical levels) .
There is the variety of approaches to define
term information technology, but the most appropriate for us is given by A.V.
Solovjev and sounds as following: information technology is the complex of
electronic aids (including hardware, software and informational components) and
ways of their functioning, used for teaching activity realization .
To the hardware we can refer personal
computer, modem, telephone; to the software – general-purpose programs (such as
text, tabular and graphics editors) and learning-purpose programs (electronic
multimedia textbooks (courses) on CD-ROM; computer courseware; networking
methodological materials; expert-consulting means; teaching means on the bases
of virtual reality) and system means (such as networking programs and packs,
which support net-controlling and net-learning); and finally to the
informational component we can refer databases, question-answering system,
Electronic textbooks and multimedia
programs play the most important part in the learning process, because they
provide significant opportunities for mastering the language aspects, forming
language skills and abilities. There are different methods of their application
- IT as trainer for student’s individual
work under teacher’s control (Computer Assisted Language learning). Ability to
be easily integrated into traditionally organized non-computerized teaching
process is an advantage of IT. Disadvantage is a lack of computers, lack of
qualitative teaching programs, difficulties in designing integral courses.
- IT as a system for delivering and storing
educational information (distant learning of foreign language). An advantage is
a provision of all the educational services; a disadvantage is a lack of
general approach to practical courses development.
- IT as a mean of information demonstration
for a group of students (Brain Storm). Non-communicativeness of IT is compensated,
but such type of work is designed for a group of students, the means of
automatic control are not involved, corrective functions are not used.
- IT as a mean of delivering messages for
intergroup teaching under tutor’s control in a project activity and in writing
compositions teaching. It can be easily integrated into traditional educational
system, students get opportunity to use their knowledge in practice, but they
strongly depend on their teacher.
- IT as a mean of educational information
delivering (telecommunicational informing of students). Students can
independently get necessary information, but the learning process is not
controlled by teacher.
- IT as a consultative mean (expert consultation
for students with a help of intellectual tutoring programs). Corrective and
education functions of IT are optimally used. Disadvantage is a smallness of
expert programs, lack of tasks models, needed for managing intellectual
- IT as a mean of foreign communication
imitation (stimulation of using foreign speech skills orally).
Students get opportunity to communicate
with computer using studied language. But the subject matter of existing
programs and amount of this programs are limited, therewith there is an absence
of conscious spontaneous speech generating and analyzing programs.
There is a variety of computer tasks and
methods of teaching a foreign language grammar, the most frequently used are
the following :
1) A question-and-answer dialogue. The
student should answer directly to the computer questions basing on the language
material given in this question;
2) A dialogue with multiple-choice. The
student should choose an appropriate answer from the list;
3) A dialogue with free-forming answers.
Program provides all the possible answers to the computer question;
4) Filling in gap tasks. Computer presents
to the students texts or sentences with gaps. Students should fill in the gaps,
using Russian word clues for translation into English and using in appropriate
tense form. Students may also take words or word combinations ordered by
5) Tasks for grammar self-control. The
following kinds of tasks are possible:
Computer suggests list of sentences/phrases for translation;
b) Computer suggests to match two lists of
sentences/phrases (Russian and English);
c) Computer suggests matching two lists of
foreign sentences/phrases and finding synonyms and antonyms;
d) Computer suggests a list of foreign
grammar phenomenon and a list of their definitions. Students should match them
1) Computer programs:
a) Match master (program for matching
grammar items). Students should correctly match the grammar units.
b) Choice master (program for choosing
variants). This is an easy program with multiple-choice and error indicator.
c) Clause master or Gap master (program for
filling in the gaps). Program presents texts or sentences with gaps.
d) Crossword master (program for filling in
crossword). Program allows creating and guessing crosswords on the computer
with casual or studied words.
e) Substitution master (program for substitution).
Students should substitute enhanced phrases with other ones.
f) Test master (test program in
question-and-answer form). Chains of “question-answer” pairs are given to the
students, and their task is to type a full answer.
2. Computer games.
J. Higgins  describes three different
models of grammar teaching: Instructional, Revelatory and Conjectural. In
Instructional grammar, explicit statements and formal exercises are consciously
learnt and presented in a systematically organised way. In Revelatory grammar,
the exchange of meaningful language is promoted; grammatical correctness is not
the goal and sometimes it is not even demanded from students. No systematic
progression of contents is followed and no memorisation is required.
Conjectural grammar implies working with the target language in an inductive
way. Thus, students work out rules from data, form hypotheses and test them. By
this kind of grammar is also understood when students arrange their partial
knowledge of a language into a system that they can share it with someone else.
Most of the functions that are undertaken
in an English language classroom where Instructional grammar is followed are
easy enough to computerise. These functions would be presenting students’
statements in the form of rules and ask them to memorise those rules; using
some examples to explain students the theoretical points and assigning
mechanical tasks. Besides, attention to error correction is also considered to
be quite relevant.
The task of judging the different reasons
why students commit different kinds of errors is better fulfilled by teachers
than by computers, since they have more channels of communication open to their
students. Besides, teachers know every one of their students as individual
beings; and this enables them to distinguish, on many occasions, between errors
due to carelessness, those due to round misunderstanding of a grammar principle,
and those which consist on some kind of students experimenting with the target
language (i.e. an attempt to see if a principle applied in one context also
works in another different context). Nevertheless, this capacity of teachers to
discriminate the different reasons why their students make some mistakes or
others is somewhat instinctive; and this instinctive quality
of the capacity results in a hindrance for teachers to transfer their skills to
a machine. In sum, the teacher’s knowledge about their students cannot be
systematised and turned into a language that computers can understand. There
are some experts, though, that have achieved some important advances through
the creation of intelligent tutoring systems.
In Revelatory grammar computers play a much more
relevant role. Here, computers are not only used to give traditional exercises
a new format, but they directly help to enhance acquisition by means of the
many resources they offer and thanks to their motivating power. In Revelatory
grammar any language item is used to potentiate the target language; then, any
text shown by the computer is considered to be meaningful language; and this
obviously includes, for example, the instructions given by the computer to
install a program-given the fact, obviously, that these instructions are
written in English. If the programs that have to be installed by the students
are the latest version of a game or simply one that they really like, we can
imagine the interest that they are going to put in order to quickly understand
the instructions for the installation. If the teacher wants to potentiate group
work, then s/he just will have to arrange groups of students working with the
same computer (it has been advised that no more than three students should work
with the same computer). Soon, the teacher will witness how enthusiastically
students collaborate in order to achieve the desired goal.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the
more interesting the task is, the highest motivation students will show. Some
of the tasks that student prefer are branching stories, adventures, puzzles, or
logic problems in which the computer has the role of providing an attractive
context for the use of language. Many teachers may think that, although highly
motivating for students, these tasks do not help students to improve their
grammar knowledge. A more optimistic eye, though, will discover that many
Revelatory tasks can be slanted towards particular forms. Thus, for example, an
adventure game in which an enquiry to a witness has to take place can serve to
potentate the practice of past tenses.
One disadvantage of these kinds of activities,
according to Higgins  is that little systematic progress can be perceived,
and this may depress learners as much as teachers. Nevertheless, this
disadvantage exists when a given syllabus is tried to be covered through the
above-mentioned tasks. We have to take into account that not every task can be
slanted towards a concrete linguistic feature and that some of these tasks are
extremely time-consuming so that on many occasions it turns out to be that too
much time has been spent for the student to practice an extremely simple aspect
of the language. We cannot forget, though, that the attitude with which a
person faces a learning process is determinant for that learning process to be
successful. In this sense, the motivating power that computers have for
students guarantees that they are going to face English with a positive
attitude; and this increases the possibility of the learning/acquisition
process to be a successful one.
Information technologies suggest one more
way to learn foreign language grammar. It’s the Internet .
Through the Internet people could pick any language
they wanted to learn and learn it right there in their own homes, at their own
pace, any time of day. There are now countless such products on the market,
most of them available on the online forum.
five main reasons to use the Internet for teaching English grammar. Taken
together, these reasons help bring English teaching ALIVE (see Picture 1):
learning is most successful when it takes place in authentic, meaningful
is a low-cost method of making language learning meaningful; it gives students
24-hour access to vast amounts of authentic material on any topic they are
interested in and allows opportunities for authentic communication and
2. Literacy: The
ability to read, write, communicate, research, and publish on the Internet
represents important new forms of literacy needed in the 21st century. By
combining English and technology in the classroom, you will help your students
master the skills they will need for academic and occupational success.
Interaction is the major means of acquiring a language and gaining fluency. All
effective English reaching incorporates some kind of interactive communication
in the curriculum. The Internet provides opportunities for students to interact
24 hours a day with native and nonnative speakers from around the world.
4. Vitality: Too
often, classrooms are reflective of T.E.N.Q.R as students get bogged down in
memorizing grammar rules or decontextualized vocabulary. The Internet can
inject an element of vitality into teaching and motivate students as they
communicate in a medium that is flexible, multimodal, constantly changing, and
connected to their real life needs.
Mastery of the Internet increases the personal power of teachers and students.
It allows them to become autonomous lifelong learners who can find what they
need when they need it and collaborate with others to help construct new
knowledge. By mastering the Internet, teachers and students can become shapers
of the multimedia future.
Though the Internet provides a valuable medium for helping bring classrooms
alive, successful results depend on how the Internet is used. Just as students
won’t learn simply by being brought to a classroom, neither will they learn by
being sat down in front of a networked computer. In the end, it is not the
technology itself but the teaching that makes the difference. In fact, because
of the complexity of the medium, using the Internet well is especially
important. So don’t look to the Internet as a quick fix for all the problems
that your students face. Do be prepared for a lot of hard work and frustration
that come from trying to use a new and evolving medium. But also be prepared
for the rewards of helping your students to master new technologies to
communicate with peers around the world .
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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010