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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2006

Автор: Королева С.М.

We live in a significant epoch in the history of humanity. The people of our generation are both the witnesses and the participants of the transmission in a new millenium. It goes without saying that the 21st century will be the time of the raise of science, onrush of technology and impetuous progress. The increase of technology, as well as political and economical ties and contacts between the countries has affected all the spheres of life, above all the sphere of education.

Nowadays the educational system experiences the process of informatization and globalization. Therefore, our society requires the people who are able to accomplish cultural contacts, orient themselves in the information flow of the quickly changing world, and solute the problems by themselves. It can be gained subject to the development of the whole educational system, which is the basis of the scientific and technological revolution, and reassessment of the methods, techniques, and aids of teaching. The modern pedagogical technologies like Cooperative Learning, Communicative Learning, and the New Informational Technologies may satisfy all the needs of contemporary education. They reveal every student as an individual.

The New Informational Technologies, in particular, Computer Assisted Language Learning, are under consideration in this term paper. The question about computer application in language learning is actual nowadays. Especially, it must be very important for the teachers and students of the Kazakh-American Free University. Why? The thing is that only the students of KAFU are provided with extra classes of computer technology and English. Moreover, KAFU has turned to the credit system of education, which is based mainly on the autonomous learning. These are the main advantages of our university. I consider Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) as one of the most suitable technologies for KAFU, because it aims at the development of the students’ computer literacy, improvement of languages, and provision with autonomous learning.

So, the actuality of the chosen theme deals with the fact that CALL is not used enough because of the incomplete investigation of its methodology.

The object of my research is the informatization of education.

We suffer from the lack of information about the usage of computers in learning languages. Therefore, the subject of the research is the use of Computer-Assisted Language Learning.

The aim of this article is the working out the methodological recommendations about the use of CALL.

Hypothesis of the investigation: if we use CALL, both the students’ motivation and the level of language will rise.

Taking into consideration the object, the subject, the aim, and the hypothesis of the present work I defined the following objectives of the research:

1. Analysis of the information about CALL;

2. Examination of the practical experience of both foreign and native teachers;

3. Working out the recommendations about the effective use of CALL.

This work covers both didactic and methodological aspects of CALL, and reveals the potential of computers. Having analyzed the results of the teachers’ and my own experience, the recommendations about the usage of CALL were suggested. The first part presents the methodological aspects of the New Informational Technologies and reveals CALL itself.

With the development of new technologies, there has been an attendant interest in applying these technologies to the educational arena, and in making predictions of how they would affect the educational future of our classrooms and students. Although most people associate the birth of educational technology with the 1970s and 1980s, the history of the educational computing actually goes back to the 1940s. In 1946 the first electronic computer ENIAK (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) appeared. It has revolutionized the way we live and work. In the 1950s and 1960s, the most powerful computers occupied entire rooms.

Since 1954 the computer has been applied to the sphere of education. Just at that time the first researches appeared. However, the development of the microchip and miniaturization of components enabled educational technology to move forward rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s. Karamysheva writes that nowadays computer application to the sphere of education is carried out according to three directions provided by the national curriculums of education:

- CAI (Computer-Assisted Instruction);

- CAL (Computer-Assisted Learning);

- CAT (Computer-Assisted Teaching);

- CBE (Computer-based Education);

- CML (Computer-Managed Learning) [6, с. 10].

We focus our attention on CALL. It stands for Computer Assisted Language Learning. It is the term most commonly used by teachers and students to describe the use of computers as a part of a language course. It does not refer to the use of computer to type out a worksheet, or by an educational institution to provide a computerized bill for a student for language course fees. CALL is the latest in the series of modern aids to language learning. It attracts the attention of many scholars such as N. Burbidge, C. Chappelle, M. Sokolic, E. Polat, T. Karamisheva, S. Novikov, N. Talyzina, and some others. Many problems and questions appear about CALL because of its novelty. One problem with this new approach to teaching has been that it tended to generate a wave of euphoria, rapidly followed by a trough of frustration and disillusionment. Although teachers still tend to look for miracle methods, their experience with, for example language laboratories, has taught them to be wary of the benefits of technology and to appraise each new advance with a critical eye. Later we shall examine the didactic aspects and principles of CALL.

A theoretical question of computer application to the sphere of learning languages is the object of study of computer lingvodidactics. It is a new separate branch of didactics and methods of teaching of foreign languages. Priorities in the field of lingvodidactics change with the development of the New Informational Technology. NIT should satisfy the didactic principles, cope with the problems that were not theoretically or practically solved, and have computer as a means of information transfer. So, Karamisheva defines the following classical principles of application of computers to the learning of languages:

Scientific character implies the content of training material. It should include fundamental status of science, and the perspectives of its development. It should follow all the contemporary theories of knowledge

System approach to the presentation of new material, its structuring, and definition of relations of the main conceptions

Systematic and logical character deals both with the organization of the material to study, and the set of actions of learners do to acquire the information. To realize this principle, the teacher must inform the learners about the aim for study, and the chain of actions”. Krechetnikov says, ”The brilliant content of learning course may be not acquired if the learner wastes time in investigation of the inconvenient software. Therefore, it is necessary to design suitable interface and the interaction model of user and program” [8. с, 66].

Chappelle [19] adds these principles with the following ones:

Language learning potential refers to the extent to which the activity can be considered a language learning activity rather than simply an opportunity for language use. The difference between language learning and language use might best be characterized by the extent to which the task promotes beneficial focus on form – interaction modification, modification of output, time pressure, modality, support, surprise, control, and stakes.

While language learning potential captures the findings concerning general processes, Learner fit takes into account the individual differences in linguistic ability level and non-linguistic characteristics. Skehan suggests that the teacher choose tasks that will provide learners an opportunity to work with a range of target structures appropriate to their level. Karamisheva calls this principle as the Principle of accessibility which transmits from the principle of everyone’s usage to the definite age group of the students. The principle of individual accessibility is considered as the way to reaching the main educational aim. Moreover, it motivates the students to study. It serves like a content filter, and traffic light in the process of learning.

If the language of a CALL task is already known to the learner, the task presents no opportunity for development. Learner characteristics such as willingness to communicate, age, and learning style also come into play in task choice.

Meaning focus (the principle of consciousness) is very important in language learning tasks. It denotes that the learner’s primary attention is directed toward the meaning of the language that is required to accomplish the task. The learners should use the target language to accomplish something such as making a decision on an issue, or exchanging the information to accomplish a goal. Meaning focus is not limited to practise communication tasks, but also can occur during tasks involving reading and writing when learners use the written language purposely for constructing and interpreting the meaning.

The criterion of Authenticity indicates the need to develop learners' willingness to communicate but it also extends beyond the conditions believed important for acquisition. Authenticity refers to the degree of correspondence between an L2 learning task and tasks that the learner is likely to encounter outside the classroom. Due to such tasks, the learner will be included in the natural language environment, and he/she will be able to use language for particular purposes appropriately.

The positive impact of CALL task refers to its effects beyond its language learning potential. Ideally classroom language learning tasks teach more than language; they should help learners to develop their metacognitive strategies in a way that will allow them to develop their accountability for their learning in the classroom as well as to learn beyond the classroom. They should engage learners’ interest in the target culture in a way that will help develop their willingness to seek out opportunities to communicate in the L2. They should help learners to gain pragmatic abilities that will serve in communications in and beyond the classroom.

Practicality refers to how easy it is for learners and teachers to implement a CALL task within the particular constraints include the availability of hardware and software that are adequate for the planned activities. In addition, knowledgeable personnel need to be on hand to assist with unforeseen problems

Before the use of computers in teaching it is very important to define the role that the computer, teacher, and learner will perform. A variety of interaction patterns makes each class different from the previous one. Students can work individually, in pairs and groups, or as a whole class. Every student within each group can be assigned different roles, and each group can interact in various ways with the computer, the other group, and the teacher. As usual, the interaction of the learner and computer has the following types: subject-object, subject-subject, and object-subject.

The schemes below show the mixture of forms and operating modes. They suggest the variety of interaction patterns that are possible with computers.

The 1st model presents the most spread situation in CALL. It occurs when the computer is used as an additional technical aid that provides with the autonomous learning. The teaching, drilling, control programs are usually used in CALL. The instruction must be conducted by the teachers.

The 2nd model implies the autonomous learning in the individual conditions. For example, self-education or autonomous learning of the language for filling the gap in knowledge. The teacher here is the creator of the training course. The computer takes the position of the teacher, technical aid, and a partner for communication.

The 3rd model corresponds to the case of distant education. Here the computer is the vehicle for communication, and the mediator between the learner and the teacher.

The 4th model shows the possibilities of computer network to create the students’ collective creative works such as the production of newspapers, writing stories, etc.

It can be carried out in groups under the direction of the teacher.

The next model describes the communication between different groups of learners with the use of telecommunication computerized tools (E-mail, Interactive conferences), which are the means of support of learners’ activity.

The last, the 6th, model reproduces the group or pair work of learners who use one computer only (e.g. using the software for learning of speaking). Here the teacher plays part as an observer.

We observed some classes of English (CALL) in secondary schools in Ust-Kamenogorsk. The analyses of the teachers’ experience as well as mine shows that the most effective form of CALL is the interaction “teacher-computer-group of students.” This collaborative work includes into the process of learning all the ‘members’ of the educational process of CALL.

After deep consideration of the main interaction patterns, which are used in CALL, we may conclude that the computer serves as an aid or tool in learning languages, and the great support for the teacher. Therefore, the computer in CALL may perform many functions, such as communicative, organizational, stimulating, informative, drilling, conductive, governing, correctional, and some others. But the teacher must always foresee the future result of learning and use his teaching skills to make the process of learning effective, and to avoid the extremes. But there is no ideal technology or method existing in teaching. Every technology preserves its weak and strong sides as well as CALL.

Underwood denounced the link between CALL and explicit teaching: “It is important to stress that this negative view [of computers as useful only for explicit learning through drills and tutorials] by no means reflects limitations in computers themselves, but rather limitations in the programs… Although much of the literature is devoted to arguing that the computer can do this or cannot do that” [28, с. 234].

Therefore, we should examine advantages and limitations of computers in learning language. The description of advantages and shortcomings of computers in learning is presented below.

Although the computer is mainly a tool for learning, it is a powerful one. It embraces functions of a TV, a video recorder, a tape recorder, mail, a telephone, a dictionary, a notebook, typing and translating machines, a guide, a teacher, and some others.

Computers equal, or surpass human performance in many arenas. As computers can store and process enormous amounts of information, they excel in areas where human memory may be deficient, or where human patience may be easily exhausted. All the methodologists have a concurrence about the potential of computers. Later we shall observe the main possibilities of CALL.

Drills M. Sokolik states that “much of language learning is facilitated by repetition, whether it is the repetition of individual sounds, intonation patterns, conversational gambits, or other types of words and phrases. Computers are useful in delivering drills for practice, whether in grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, or listening, as they are tireless in their delivery. Unlike human interlocutors who may grow weary of repeating a word for a learner, a computer will repeat a word a hundred times if the user wishes” [27, 481].

Having analyzed the practical application of the computer in learning languages, we should note that it has some specific advantages. The courseware, developed on the system of CALL, includes audio (input to learners), graphics, flexible response analysis, automatic analyses of surface features of a learner’s writing and feedback about grammatical and stylistic errors (but sometimes not enough). It performs sociocultural context, solutions of problems, positive input to learners (no fear before the screen). While using CALL we can see the computer’s “literal approach” to checking answers and its ability to focus learner attention on a specific area on the screen.

So, CALL is characterized by the organization of materials, including volume of material and random presentations, scoring and record-keeping, graphics and animation, including allowing student control, audio-cuing, and recording and storage of student responses.

Computer-Adaptive Testing (CAT)

Tests usually involve individual rather than group work, and for that reason it is useful for students to spend at least some of the time working on their own on these practice tests. Some of the word-processing activities are interactive, however, and group discussions as a follow-up to the individual work are an important technique for helping students learn as much as possible from the activities.

Tests are intended to evaluate what the student already knows rather than teach something new. Practice tests, however, are intended not only to evaluate, but also to help students improve their performance when they take the real test. As test takers respond, the test adapts itself to each user by choosing subsequent test items based on a test taker’s performance on preceding items. For example, if a learner performs well on set of beginning-level items, the computer program will next present a set of questions at the intermediate level. If the learner performs poorly on the intermediate-level questions, the computer presents lower-level items in the next question set. Therefore, CAT continually attempts to ascertain the appropriate level for the learner’s performance. It can establish more quickly and objectively than a standard pencil-and-paper test what the learner’s proficiency is.

If we accept the premise that the most effective language learning happens when the learner’s target is just slightly above his or her current level of understanding, then it becomes clear that CAT can be very useful in the language classroom.

Corpora and Concordance

Computers are experts at storing large amounts of information and categorizing or sorting it by user-determined categories. M. Sokolic regards linguistic corpora and concordance programs as “the types of tools and data that are increasingly being used in the language classroom.. A concordance is a type of index that researches for occurrences of a word or combinations of words, parts of words, punctuation, affixes, phrases, or structures within a corpus, and can show the immediate context. The output from a concordance search can be used in the preparation of such teaching materials, such as grammar and vocabulary activities, for creating exercises. It can be used also to look at the context in which a given word or phrase occurs in a database” [27, 482].

Computer Mediated Communication (CMC)

In both business and education, computers are increasingly being used as a direct means of communication between users. By linking up machines in different rooms in the same building, town (LAN), and even countries, users can communicate directly with each other by using a suitable program, or Internet.

Students find the ability to communicate electronically both stimulating and motivating. This is a particularly interesting development for foreign language learning.

The most common use of networked computers is as a tool of communication between users. This makes it a natural choice as a tool for language learning. Many researches have argued that CMC presents an opportunity for authentic language use, making it an excellent tool in the language classroom. I agree with them too. We will describe several forms of CMC which can be effectively used in CALL. They are either asynchronous or synchronous in form.


E-mail is the most popular form of electronic message exchange, and the easiest to use. Instead of writing a message, the learner just types it into the computer and it will send it to another computer instantaneously. It is a mobile and cheap way for sending letters. Many instructors and researchers have designed E-mail tasks to focus its use on language learning. Authentic information that the learner receives from his/her electronic pen develops student’s communicative competence. The learner uses the “real” language in the “real” context.

E-mail is often used in KAFU:

1. Mara’s Golson writing class – the students e-mail to their U.S. pen friends to develop writing proficiency.

2. P. Mitchell communicates with the students via e-mail.

3. Janat Nurbayeva, Donovan Platt assigns the homework for the students via e-mail.


Chat is real-time, or synchronous, communication. It has the informal feel of conversation, yet is mediated through writing. Chat can be used to facilitate class discussions, for immediate feedback between students and teachers outside of class time, or for communication between students outside of class. It can be used in many of the same ways as E-mail, but has the added feature of immediate response rather than the time lag involved with E-mail. Therefore, chat requires the learners’ accuracy and fluency in writing the reply. It serves not only as a means of familiarity with the foreign culture, but also the channel for reporting about one’s own. It contributes to the ‘dialogue of cultures’ or ‘cultural exchange’. The Chat raises the students’ motivation, because they acknowledge the real usage of the language. Here are some examples of the most popular chats: CHAT-SL – on-line conversation.

DISCUSS-SL – chat for the advanced learners.

EVENT – SL – the discussion of current events.

The students may also create their joint project work on a chosen topic. For this purpose, they should create their own Home page where the results of their work will be published.

Conferences, newsgroups, and bulletin boards

“Conferences and bulletin boards are systems that allow people to send messages to a wider audience. E-mail messages are generally aimed at just one or two people, but a large conference may involve several thousand people who read messages, comment on them, and post their own. Conferences are rather like a chain letter where everybody who receives the message has the opportunity to comment. They are a standard feature of most commercial Internet services.

Bulletin boards work in a similar way to conferences, but they are usually more local.

Newsgroups are discussion forums subscribed to by people interested in a particular topic or hobby, and work in a similar way” [17, 97]. To create a FORUM for English language learners on our KAFU site would be a great opportunity for students to communicate and use the language purposefully.


M. Sokolik presents very interesting software - MUDs and MOOs, which are both synchronous and asynchronous in form. They are typically text-based virtual spaces that rely on the ability of the user to describe the environments (asynchronously), and interact within those environments (synchronously).

MUD and MOO users create stories by inventing rich environments filled with objects that other users can manipulate and investigate. By navigating through space, students create stories in an impromptu fashion. They hold dialogues, open boxes, find secret messages and secret passages, and move through “space.”

This type of interaction is more than mere game playing. Aside from provoking learners to use language in both planned ways (i.e., writing) and unplanned ways (i.e., interacting in the virtual space), it is also satisfies the neurobiological correlate of “foraging” for information, critical in the learning process.

Distant courses

Distant education is a universal form of learning, which is based on the use of a wide spectrum of the traditional, new informational and telecommunication technologies. Working distant courses provide the learners with the improvement of knowledge in different spheres of science; give the opportunity to get the education without leaving the house; bridge the gap in learners’ knowledge; give the highly qualified degree to the students who pass the exams appropriately.

E.S. Polat distinguishes three types of distant courses. Those that are realized with the help of: “1) interactive two-way TV (the teacher conducts lessons in one basic class where the camera-recorders are set); 2) telecommunication software, and 3) multimedia as the base of the course” [12].

KAFU offers the following distant courses: Management, Finance, Accounting, Organizational Behavior, HR Management, Marketing.

Multimedia Production

Multimedia, used in the language learning, greatly varies the English lesson. It is beneficial for all types of learners. The software presents the information visually, auditory, and kinesthetically. The animation, sounds, and graphics turn the homogeneous lesson into a new type where CALL is used. There is a great number of the software used in CALL. For example, “Thousand words in English,” “Multilex,” “Professor Higgins,” “Reward,” and many others. They contain interesting authentic texts. They are easy for assimilation; therefore, they motivate learners for further examination. The way they are constructed and the time they are used in CALL are the fundamental criteria for effective and reasonable learning.

Maley, who studies the question about the application of computer in learning, states that “Computers are, however, different from other media in two main respects. They can allow the user to:

1) Carry out tasks which are impossible in other media (such as automatically providing feedback on certain kinds of exercise);

2) Carry out tasks much more conveniently than in other media (such as editing a piece of writing by deleting, moving and inserting text).

The main effect that these features have on methodology is that students can:

1) Work through some exercises on their own and have them marked automatically by the computer (multiple choice and total-deletion programs provide examples of this);

2) Carry out exploratory work which is not assessed by the computer, but which allows them to see the results of their decisions (word-processing, spreadsheet and stimulation programs provide examples of this)” [25].

Students will usually gain more from these activities, however, if there is an opportunity for them to discuss with the teacher the work they have done on the computer

We may come to a conclusion that Multimedia Computing, the Internet, and the World Wide Web have provided an incredible boost to Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) applications. Once relegated to "novelty" status, CALL is finally achieving the recognition it deserves thanks in large part to these developing technologies.

Desktop computers are now able to play natural human speech together with full-screen interactive video, impossible to do just a few years ago. Users can now communicate and interact with one another in real-time. Such virtual chats provide solid opportunities for authentic language use among native and non-native speakers on an unprecedented scale in terms of the numbers of users and the geographical distances involved.

However, I think that computers must be used as a tool or supporter in CALL. They cannot substitute for the teacher in educational process. We shouldn’t wholly rely on them because of their incomplete investigation. Computers have still some limitations.

CALL as any other technology has its problems and weak sides. Therefore, it attracts the methodologists’ attention, and gives the ground for further development of computer technology. Before the usage of CALL, we should get to know about the limitations of computers. Having analyzed many sources of information, I can point out the main burning issue of CALL. The problem is that there is no close coordination between methodologists and programmers. The software often does not meet the requirements of education. The programmers create new computer programs without keeping the didactic principles, and following the main guidelines. It causes many difficulties in language learning. Sometimes the teachers fail CALL because of their poor examination of the software, or the wrong organization of the learning process. M. Sokolik supports my point of view and adds, “The image of the fully automated, teacher less classroom has disappeared from the landscape, if it indeed ever was there. Although computers are useful adjuncts in second language learning, they are still many things they cannot accomplish” [27, 478]. The majority of methodologists define five major areas into which computers and technology have not yet made significant inroads.

Machine Translation

The hope of pushing a button to translate from one language to another has, for the most part, gone realized. Although there are dozens, if not hundreds, of new tools for machine translation, most fail at creating a text that a native speaker would consider idiomatic, or even grammatical. Although simple language with high-frequency vocabulary and little idiomatic usage can be translated fairly accurately, any deviations from that formula still cause serious breakdowns in the comprehensibility of machine-translated text.

Providing Appropriate Feedback to Learners

Mechanized systems do not have the capability to customize feedback with the same senility that a human instructor does. In fact, the best feedback systems give a simple explanation of the right or wrong answer, and many merely emit a noise, either pleasant or unpleasant, indicating whether the user has provided the correct answer. More complete feedback may be available in the form of links to other areas of a text or website to read or review.

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition refers to the capability of a computer or software program to accept and interpret spoken dictation, or understand and carry out voice commands. Although many modern home and office computer systems are equipped with some type of voice recognition software, these programs are still inefficient in accurately dividing a natural speech stream into discrete words.

Grammar Checking

Modern word-processing software usually comes equipped with grammar-checking routines. Unfortunately, as most users will attest, this software falls short of the grammatical editing that is required a language classroom. The software is not sensitive to context or conventions of use, such as the difference between academic English written for the humanities versus that written for the sciences. So, the student must trust his/her own judgment about English Grammar.

Essay Marking

Although there is the software that allows instructors to insert their comments neatly in students’ word-processed text, there is no software that can ‘read’ a text and write relevant comments on it. These are the main weak characteristics that the teacher must take into consideration when using CALL.

Having analyzed the practical work of foreign and native teachers who give a try at CALL, and taking into account the results of our own experience, we worked out the rules for the effective use of CALL. Moreover, we have tested them both on the students of the 7th form and university students. In particular, we had CALL at the 7th form (school №28, 2004 academic year). It was conducted according to the special program for the increase of students’ motivation and sociocultural competence. It included the use of the electronic textbook, and E-mail correspondence with native speakers. The results of the correspondence (the letters) were the ground for the organization of the project works. At the end of the course we created the electronic book for reading containing authentic information of the projects. So, the learning had the beneficial effect. No one who has observed the atmosphere of total absorption of a group of students using computers can doubt its motivational power. This year we together with the non-linguistic group (1course) carried out the electronic correspondence with our foreign visitor Philip Lu. The students were creative and motivated while writing the letter, and very excited about the answer. We are going to continue CALL, because we have not practiced all the potentialities of the computer. The range and sophistication of computer applications is increasing with extraordinary rapidity. Unfortunately, the idea of using computers strikes fear and dread into the hearts of the uninitiated. I think that the ideas suggested below are useful for the teachers who are going to use CALL.

The first thing we should do is to examine the technical situation in the educational institution, i.e. the availability of computers as well as to investigate the level of the students in computer literacy. The solution to the problems posed by the lack of machines is to make use of the fact that a typical activity with the usage of computers has three stages – pre-computer work, work done at the computer, and post-computer work.

The teacher should think over the process of CALL. In particular, he/she chooses the best way of organization, the theme of the lesson, and studies thoroughly the steps of the class. It is always important to organize a lesson so that, while some of the classes are working at the computer, the others are doing pre - or post-computer work. Alternatively, two separate activities, one involving CALL and one not, can be planned. The two halves of a class can then do the CALL activity on separate days.

In some cases, the actual period spent at the computer may be very limited. For example, in many simulations the students need only go to the computer to type in their decisions.

Any activities can take place away from the computer. For example, many of the activities may involve transferring information from one medium to another, from student to student, or from group to group. Students listen to a tape-recording of a story and then sequence the events of a story, or match sentences spoken with the characters in a story, or load a text written by another group of students into a word-processor. One of the main reasons for suggesting using of networked computers is that this provides the optimum conditions for information - transfer activities.

The lessons must frequently involve an information-gap, with one student, or group of students needing information from others in the class to complete an activity. Sometimes the computer itself has the information: programs involving total or partial deletion are examples based on such an information gap.

A number of the lessons may be based on opinion-gap activities. The students involved will have different opinions concerning a problem-solving scenario, such as the cheapest way of allocating resources in an adventure. Alternatively, the difference of opinion may be over the best ending to a short story written on a word-processor. Assigning different roles to students can be important in maintaining a creative opinion-gap. So, the tasks and activities are very important in the acquisition of knowledge. Carol A. Chapelle defines five guidelines for implementing effective task-based activities in CALL:

1. Choose a range of target structures (i.e. the learners will acquire particular structures or develop form-meaning connections when they are ready to. Learners need to be exposed to language which is within their grasp);

2. Choose tasks which meet the utility condition (i.e. a particular structure will be used by learners as they perform a task. If a structure has ‘utility’ in a task, it would be useful but not necessary structure for completing a task. Learners might choose the structure but they might circumlocution to express their meanings in a different way);

3. Select and sequence tasks to achieve balanced goal development (there are three main goals of language performance: fluency – often achieved through memorized and integrated language elements; accuracy – when learners try to use an interlingua system of a particular level to produce correct, but possibly limited, language; and complexity – a willingness to take risks, to try out new forms even though they may not be completely correct);

4. Maximize the chances of focus on form through attention manipulation (learners’ attention to form while they are engaging in meaningful tasks is called focus in form. The learners comprehend what they are doing. The syntactic mode of processing helps learners to internalize new forms and to improve in the accuracy of their existing grammatical knowledge). In addition to negotiation of meaning and modification of output, Skehan (Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition, London1989.) identifies six task characteristics, although not all supported by research, that may help to manipulate attention in a way that directs learner’s attention more or less to linguistic form: time pressure, modality, support, surprise, control, and stakes;

5. Use cycles of accountability (Accountability refers to the learners’ responsibility to keep track of what they are learning. The teachers have the responsibility of drawing learners’ attention to the need to be aware of the language that they are acquiring in such a way that they can take stock of where they are and plan for their own development. Learners take an active role in sorting out exactly what they are learning).

II. Socio-affective conditions for SLA:

“Another set of conditions that should be created for successful learning are those affecting the social and affective aspects of learning. Work in this area has recently been synthesized to define a construct of ‘willingness to communicate’. It is comprised of several layers of underlying predispositions, including (1) the desire to communicate with a particular person, (2) communicative self-confidence at that particular moment, (3) interpersonal motivation, (4) intergroup motivation, (5) self-confidence, (6) intergroup attitude, (7) social situation, (8) communicative competence, (9) intergroup climate, (10) personality” [18].

Socio-affective conditions for language acquisition should be constructed to promote learners’ positive disposition and motivation.

The most important point to make is that computers are not very good at teaching by themselves. Therefore, CALL must be held under the teacher’s strict control.

How effective computers are in the classroom will therefore depend on the way the teacher and students use them, and in this respect they are no different from any other medium.

There are no hard and fast rules, but the following will be useful for teachers:

1. The software is more important than the hardware. You must be able to use a variety of useful software.

2. Get to know the software. It can take longer to get to know a piece of CALL software well then it cans a textbook, because you have to work your way through it, rather than just skimming through it. But it is worth spending the time.

3. Co-operate with your students. They may well know more than you do about computers, so you can exchange your knowledge about the language and teaching for their experience of using the equipment.

4. “Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer should be” (Anon). Computers are not very good at teaching by themselves, and the software will not run your lessons for you. You can adapt, improve, and compensate for shortcomings in the software with the techniques you adopt.

We have considered different ideas and recommendations joined with the mutual aims, i.e. increase of learners’ motivation, and provision the participants of the teaching process with the effective use of CALL.

As we have entered the 21st century, the English language is so tied to technology that learning language through technology has become a fact of life with important implications for all applied linguists, particularly for those concerned with facets of second language acquisition.

Forward looking members of the profession has changed in a world where communication occurs with computers and with other people through the use of computers. As university teacher of English, I decided to explore the possibilities of combining these two realities. I chose the subject of study of my research (the use of CALL) not by chance. We must meet the requirements of the Kazakh-American Free University, whose mission is to graduate the specialists with the high level of the computer literacy and knowledge of foreign languages. If the students are able to study English and at the same time enhance their computer skills, they are quick to take advantages of CALL that provide opportunities for both.

This work gave the description of CALL, emphasized pedagogical principles, strong and weak sides of computers, and illustrated the ways, and the results of the practical application of CALL Moreover, the work contains the recommendations, and ideas about the better use of CALL.

Having experienced CALL, I can say that the hypothesis of the present work was proved. CALL encourages language learning, and sustains the students’ interest and their engagement in the process of teaching. It increases learners’ motivation and the level of language increase.


CACD – Computer-Assisted Classroom Discussion

CALL – Computer-Assisted Language Learning

CALT – Computer-Assisted Language Testing

CAT – Computer-Adaptive Testing

CMC – Computer Mediated Communication

LAN – Local Area Network

MOO – Multi-user domains object-oriented

MUD – Multi-user domains

NIT – New Informational Technology


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