English Language Teaching and Ict
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING AND ICT BY BANDELE ADEBOYE SOGBESAN SENIOR LECTURER IN ENGLISH, DEPT OF LANGUAGES, TAI SOLARIN UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, IJEBU ODE. INTRODUCTION Language has been described by various scholars over the years according to the perceived roles it plays in different circumstances. Sapir (1921) sees it as a system of arbitrary vocal signs and symbols used for the purpose of communication. It can also be seen in the light of Christophersen’s (1981) view as a conventional tool of self expression adopted by a society in carrying out its socialising functions.
Language in both its written and spoken forms, is a vehicle through which man relates with and interpretes the world in which he lives. Various human groups and societies are typified by the language they speak, hence a Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, French or Ghanaian is identified not just by the geographical boundaries which separate them, but also by the distinct linguistic instrument by which they express themselves. Cultures are integral parts of languages, and it is almost impossible to fully express one cultural experience in another language.
It is a mainly human attribute which, going by Chomsky’s claim, is however not inherent but is learned or acquired as part of the normal maturational process. In a second language situation as the English Language is in Nigeria, the learning of a target language is not as easy or involuntary as a first language (L1); apart from the deliberate, planned and largely artificial process of teaching and learning, both teachers and learners are constantly searching for improved ways of acquiring cognitive, affective and psychomotor perfection in the new language.
It becomes understandable therefore why over the years, there have been changes in pedagogical approaches to language teaching, ranging from the traditional practice of teaching the rules of the target language, through emphasis on practice and repitition without teaching the rules (Williams, 1999), to the more recent integrative approach. This approach combines the inclusion of useful aspects of various theories with contemporary practices and influences in the wider society.
It is in this light that we shall examine the relationship between Information and Communicatins Technology (ICT) with the teaching and learning of English Language at the basic level of education in Nigeria. THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICY The National Language Policy as enunciated in the National Policy on Education (1998 Review) prescribed the language of the environment as the medium of instruction in the first three years of formal schooling while English was to be taught as a subject. English was to become the medium of instruction from the fourth year of schooling upwards.
The intent of the policy formulators was to enable the child attain a reasonable level of linguistic competence with its attendant cultural awareness. Ironically, the average Nigerian parent appears to prefer their going ‘straight for English’, a factor which could have engendered the mushrooming of private schools in the country and painting the picture of a failing public school system (Sogbesan. 2006). Unfortunately, a large part of the teaching workforce in the private schools are not so much academically quallified or experienced for effective teaching results.
LANGUAGE TEACHING AND ICT In Nigeria, English Language has proved to be the most viable link to the outside world. Myriad textual materials, including books and periodicals, videos, journals exist alongside various softwares on the computer and internetwhich enhance the abilities of teachers and learners alike to improve their mastery of English both as a subject and as a service subject. It is expected that with increased ICT awareness, even the pedagogy of English with the various innovations and new avenues for retraining are available online.
Some of the accessible ICT facilities that the English Language teacher can avail himself of accross language skills include; The virtual library, This online library provides access to thousands of books and journals which government, schools and private subscribers can consult regularly to update their knowledge and abilities. Packages like Mirosoft Encarta, Encyclopaedia Britannica e. t. c. provide both online and offline acess to vital information in the areas of content and pedagogy. (instantiate) Audio tutoring facilities like radio, television, e. t. c.
The information highway also provides access to news and educational materials on a regular basis. Some of the language teaching-learning uses to which ICT can also be put to include; Aural/Oral drills- e. g. phonetic symbols are available on the computer, words and sentences can be heard in the L1 form. (demonstrate) Vocabulary Development and Semantics- e. g. Online / Offline dictionary, Spell Check, Grammar Check, Translator, e. t. c. Where direct contact with original English language forms is required, various softwares are available for both teachers and students to use.
Essay Writing- Models and formats are available and teacher/learner can join groups or networks to exchange essays or have them assessed online and offline (e-pen). Furthermore, imaginative recreation, the hallmark of a good essay, can also be enhanced via access to news (print and electronic), great public speeches and events, e. t. c. Also, creative and interesting drills through games like ‘Scrabble’, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’, e. t. c. are available. Advantages of ICT teaching/learning include; i.
It is largely interractive and individualised- The teacher or learner does not need to go through a period of tutelage to master the use of programmes. He masters the various dimensions of use as he goes along. Each learner can therefore develop at his own rate. ii. It is learner –centred, learner- friendly and often exciting to use, thus making sustained contact with subject content less cumbersome. The young learner is encouraged by the excitement of self actualisation and is easily motivated to carry out independent study. ii. It guarrantees consistently high quality of instructional matter that meets global standards. This is moreso because new packages are constantly being turned out for consumers in a seemingly unending race towards perfection. iv. Information provided is quite contemporary and new trends in pedagogy, as well as quick, cheap and easy exchange of new information is guaranteed. Disadvantages of ICT teaching/learning include; i. ICT hardware and packages may not be easily affordable to many students in the public school system.
The teacher should however be creative and the school should make available at least the minimal materials needed for teaching and learning. Government and the other stakeholders should be quick to come to the aid of needy schools as the need arises. ii. The erratic nature of public power supply could be frustrating to the average teacher or student, but schools should endeavour to procure necessary support materials to enhance subject delivery. Teachers and students should also visit private service providers like cyber cafes as may be necessary. iii. Many teachers are averse to change .
There is therefore an urgent need to continuously reorientate teachers accross all levels of basic education to enhance receptivity to modern trends. iv. Unguarded exposure of underage children to the information highway could expose them to items of information which could be distractive or even destructive for them. CONCLUSION In conclusion, teachers and students at various levels of basic education in Nigeria need to endeavour to catch up with the global trend not only to facilitate teaching and learning, but to also package for the future a generation of Nigerians who are able to hold their own in the contemporary world.
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