К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №1 - 2011
Автор: Толстикова Юлия Сергеевна
constant progress in information and communications technology nowadays
necessitates the use of modern educational technological support. Devices,
which in the past seemed to be impossible to implement into the foreign
language learning procedure, in the present gradually replace traditional
learning equipment. Multimedia computing and the Internet have provided
incredible boost to Computer-assisted Language learning applications.
are in the best position to identify their students’ needs, and to evaluate
what role, if any, computers might play in helping their students to learn
some English language courses contain specific, analytical study of vocabulary,
there is still a widespread feeling among teachers that vocabulary is somehow
best left to be ‘picked up naturally’. The general preference is for vocabulary
to be learned ‘in context’. But if one starts from the position that the
foreign language learner needs a range of entertaining, relevant, and
meaningful inputs, and then it can be argued that vocabulary can be usefully
studied both in and out of context. There are two ways of learning vocabulary,
one-word forms of practice, uncontextualized vocabulary learning and
contextualized or global forms of practice. The target words can be picked up
without any context, but with using exercises for example, matching synonyms or
antonyms with the target notion, and such activities like matching two columns
of the target word and its synonym or antonym.
advantage of exercises of this type is the comparative ease with which they can
be programmed, particularly if one of the various authoring systems (or
teachers' ‘toolkits’) available is used. (In essence, these are programs that
ask the teacher what questions he or she wants to ask, and then produce CALL -
computer- assisted language learning - programs.)
the point of view of language learning, an interesting feature of this sort of
practice is that, in order to work out the relationships between the pairs of
antonyms and synonyms, students need to put them into some sort of sentence
framework in their minds. In other words, they have to work out their own
contexts. This sort of mental processing of language can be expected to make
subsequent recall more likely.
effect of the contextualised form of practice is that grammar and vocabulary
are generally being worked with at the same time, so that the exercises cease
to be exclusively concerned with vocabulary.
major category of contextualized exercises derives from the computer to
generate study material by manipulating texts according to instructions in the
programs. A popular application of this idea, which has appeared in several
different versions, such as John Higgins’s ‘Storyboard’, shows a passage to the
students for a few seconds, so they can get a general idea of its contents, and
then puts it up on the screen in the form of dashes, with one dash for each
students’ job is to rebuild the text word by word by guessing the missing
words. If they guess a word correctly, the word replaces the dashes everywhere
that it occurs, so that the text is gradually reconstituted in mosaic fashion.
If students get stuck, they can ask for two kinds of help, either a ‘free’ word
(the next missing word and any occurrences of the same word), or else all
occurrences of a specified prefix or suffix (e.g. all the –ing endings).
Experience with both students has shown that this sort of practice, involving
intense concentration on a short text, can be highly intriguing and motivating,
both for individuals and groups.
flexibility of the computer makes it an intriguing medium to work with, and new
applications are being thought up all the time. Games and simulations, for
example, show considerable possibilities for the language learner.
exercises of both types encourage students to treat the computer not so much as
a drillmaster but more as an information source, which offers hints or clues to
help them complete their tasks, and which positively encourages guessing. Such
an approach implies the need for a flexibility of structure so as to accommodate
the varying needs, preferences, and learning styles of different students. Some
like to get as many clues as possible, while others make an immediate guess.
Some like to see the text first, while others prefer to work ‘blind’. Some like
‘gambling’ options, or having their score displayed, while others find such
the computer provides a convenient test-bed for research into learning styles,
as it can record, and subsequently analyze, students’ response histories.
way in which the computer is used relates to a central problem of CALL, namely
how best to integrate computer work into the overall teaching program. Indeed,
the introduction of CALL into the curriculum has been described as more a
pedagogical problem than a computing one. Exercises of the uncontextualized
type can be closely related to the class syllabus, for the teacher can decide,
for example, on what opposites are to be drilled, or which analogies should be
the text manipulation exercises described do not lend themselves so easily to
close teacher control, particularly since the computer’s ‘randomizing’ facility
is sometimes used in the production of materials, which makes it impossible to
predict which words will be deleted and therefore the form which the exercise
text manipulation practices in particular have the advantage of offering
students a considerable degree of control over how their learning takes place,
and intriguing problems for them to solve, with a degree of help from the
computer when it is required. As for teachers, they are unlikely to find the computer
lightening their workloads, for it is a medium which offers new opportunities
for innovative language teaching and learning.
ideal CALL courseware remains not an alternative but a complementary tool in
reinforcing classroom activities. Apart from relying on the ability of
educators to create suitable CALL courseware, the effectiveness of CALL depends
on the teacher's readiness to adopt new attitudes and approaches toward
language teaching. The teacher should avoid being sceptical about the use of computer
in language teaching and begin to re-evaluate his methods in the light of
computer's tremendous teaching potential and boldly address to the challenges
offered. The computer can best assist teachers if it is seen not as a
replacement for their work but as a supplement to it. The computer will not
replace the language teachers, but, used creatively, it will relieve them of
tedious tasks and will enable students to receive individualized attention from
both teachers and machines to a degree that has hitherto been impossible.
number of studies
suggested that explicit instruction has an important effect on student
vocabulary learning, though researchers disagree on the form such instruction
should take. As regards such instruction in the classroom, some have suggested
that teachers ask students to produce words or phrases associated with an idea
or concept. Others have emphasized the provision of semantic contrasts between
words through the use of examples; still others have backed the use of techniques
designed to compel students to negotiate meaning, as in deciding the kind of
context in which a particular word might be appropriate [3, p.15]. Other studies [4, p.59-63] have focused on the degree
to which explicit instruction should foreground different aspects of a word,
such as semantic content, pronunciation and graphic form. In addition, significant
theoretical work has centred on the semantic unrelatedness of target words [5, p.69-71]. Essentially, teaching
words with similar meanings may thwart learners in their attempts to map form onto meaning.
However, of crucial importance is the fact that researchers remain divided in
their interpretation of the results of such studies.
incidental vocabulary learning has received renewed attention within SLVA research. As with explicit
vocabulary learning, incidental vocabulary learning must be defined clearly
before it can be discussed in any meaningful way. Other methodologists [6, p.176] suggest that “incidental
vocabulary learning” occurs when “learners are focused on comprehending meaning
rather than on the explicit goal of learning new words”. Proponents of
incidental vocabulary learning often point to research results that demonstrate
vocabulary acquisition in the absence of vocabulary-based directives from
teachers or researchers. Often, exposure to vocabulary is thought to be sufficient
to trigger acquisition.
one such study, conducted by Rott [7, p.216], differential exposure to vocabulary items affected
the vocabulary development of English native speakers learning German.
Specifically, students exposed to words two times in the course of reading
fared as well on measures of vocabulary acquisition and retention as those
exposed to the same words four times, though both groups performed far worse
than a third group that saw the words six times. Rott’s study addressed the
relationship between “target” word frequency and vocabulary acquisition. The
exposure to a target vocabulary word six times or more triggered acquisition of
the word significantly more than did an exposure of five times or fewer. In effect,
her study established six occurrences as the numerical determinant of target
vocabulary word acquisition in an incidental context.
important as resources for vocabulary learning are, some researchers have argued
they may be of little use without student attention to learning. Specifically,
Schmidt [8, p.71], among others, has
maintained that learning cannot occur without attention. In other words, in the
context of vocabulary learning, students who have not been directed to attend
to the form of a word or who do not notice and/or negotiate the meaning of a
word will not learn a word. However, the attention students can give to their
learning depends on several factors.
cognitive load researchers have demonstrated, resource- and processing-based
constraints limit such attention. In fact, working memory is constrained in
terms of both capacity and duration. In a vocabulary study, then, the greater
the number of unknown words to which a student is exposed at one time, the
greater the demands placed upon working memory, and the higher the likelihood
that learning will be hindered and long-term retention blocked. If the demands
placed upon working memory are reduced, learning should improve, inasmuch as
such a reduction will facilitate increased information storage in long-term
In the classroom, students
approach a language-learning ‘task’ from different perspectives, frequently
with goals uniquely “formed and reformed under specific historical material
circumstances” [1, p.191]. Students with
different goals and motivations engage in distinct activities even when asked
to perform the same ‘task’, which Lantolf and Thorne [2, p.238] define as an instructor’s or
researcher’s “plan for language learning with its accompanying artefacts and
orientations”. That is, actual language-learning behaviour frequently deviates
from desired or expected language-learning behaviour. In addition, individual
student behaviour changes during the course of a task. In a vocabulary-learning
study, for example, student interaction with a language-learning tool such as
an online dictionary often diverges from the use that the researcher has tried
Robust learning occurs when
“the acquired knowledge or skill” is either long-lasting or transferable, or
when it promotes future learning [9,
p.82]. For learning to be long-lasting, its duration must constitute days,
months or years. For it to be transferable, it must be usable in conditions
other than those in which it was learned, and it is said to promote future
learning when it can increase the rate at which related knowledge or skills are
acquired. Of course, robust language learning is a desirable objective — it is
an outcome sought by students, educators and researchers alike.
Nowadays the modern society
tends to keep up to date, be it developing technologies, computers or the
Internet, the same concerns the modern education. The role of the technology is
vast and cannot be separated from education in the 21st century.
Certainly these ideas should not be overlooked by our country as well, in
particular our educational system. If children grow up to be adults without the
skills of independent, self-directed learning, they will be at great
disadvantage during the 21st century. Students who have experienced
autonomous learning are better equipped to succeed in any level of education
and furthermore the workforce.
As we have already perceived
in the theoretical part of the research the computer-assisted language teaching
provides a vast array of learning opportunities to students of all the ages and
backgrounds. Students enjoy working with computers, and allowing them an
opportunity to work with computers is often a motivator in and of itself.
Computers are most popular among students as they are often associated with fun
and games, and furthermore it is an engine, by means of which students can work
and study hard. This in turn makes students feel more independent. When
students are motivated, they tend to think at higher levels and learn more
effectively. Student motivation is therefore increased, especially whenever a
variety of activities are offered. And the variety of activities, which
computer-assisted language learning offers is really large: even the vocabulary
teaching software can provide the students with listening to the music, playing
simple games, watching pictures and videos.
And during the analysis of the
vocabulary acquisition software for junior school students, based on the
methods of computer-assisted vocabulary learning we proved that using
computer-assisted teaching is a real efficient activity that will involve
students into vocabulary learning. The analysis made it possible to figure out
recommendations for better usage and efficient implementation of the software
into the learning process.
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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №1 - 2011