Implementing computer-assisted language learning in the EFL classroom: Teachersí perceptions and perspectives
The aims of the study reported in this article are to investigate factors affecting English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers' use of computers in their classrooms and to find out EFL teachers' perceptions of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and ways to improve CALL practice in school settings. Participants in the study were twelve Korean in-service teachers of EFL working at secondary schools in Korea. A questionnaire and follow-up in-depth interviews were employed to collect data.
The results of the study indicate that the teachers have positive and favourable attitudes toward the use of the computers. They consider computer technology as a useful teaching tool that can enhance ways of teaching by offering students a variety of language inputs and expanding students' learning experiences in real and authentic contexts. It is also reported that external factors such as lack of time, insufficient computer facilities, rigid school curricula and textbooks and lack of administrative support negatively influence the implementation of CALL in the classroom. Internal factors such as teachers' limited computer skills, knowledge about computers and beliefs and perceptions of CALL also seem to significantly affect teachers' decisions on the use of CALL. Based on the findings of the study, implications are made for the effective implementation of CALL in EFL contexts.
Chan Nim Park
Gaewon Middle School, Korea
Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD
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computer-assisted language learning (CALL), implementation, EFL, secondary school, Korean language education
PP: 080 - 101
In recent years, the rapid evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) has made great changes in societies and education. The Internet, particularly, has become a useful tool for communication, a venue for experiencing different cultures and a mediator in diverse political, social and economical situations. Along with the impact of the Internet worldwide, the extensive use of computers at schools has had a critical influence on educational environments. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE & HRD) in Korea, for example, has implemented several Educational Reform Plans since 1997 to meet the challenges in an era of high-technology. At the governmental level, the Education Ministry implemented 'The Comprehensive Plan for Education in the Information Age' aimed at building the infrastructure for education between 1997 and 2000. It included ICT equipped classrooms, computer labs and digital libraries with computers connected to the Internet to provide schools with technology-enhanced learning environments. On the basis of the plans, the Korean government has provided every school with multimedia computers, software programs and high-speed broadband Internet connections to cope with an information technology society and to integrate ICT into everyday educational practices.
In terms of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), the paradigm of English education in Korea has moved to the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach along with the Seventh Educational Reform in 1997 (Choi, 2006; Kwon, 2000). The underlying theoretical concept of CLT is communicative competence, which refers to the ability for language learners to use socially, contextually and culturally appropriate language in communicative contexts (Savignon, 1997). However, most Korean learners of EFL have difficulties to develop their communicative competence beyond the classroom mainly because they do not have a supportive learning environment where they can hear and speak English for communicative purposes (Jeong, 2006). Therefore, some special efforts are needed to help Korean students expand their language learning experiences and practice the target language outside the classroom. This need can be found in the Korean government's special emphasis on English language proficiency and computer literacy in the spirit of globalization. English language proficiency and computer literacy are currently essential elements in the Korean society in looking for a job, obtaining promotion and entering into a school of higher education (Kwon, 2000). In these circumstances, the Internet, combined with a variety of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) programs, is on its way to restructuring the concept of the language classroom and the roles of the learner and the teacher in foreign language learning and teaching in Korea. The appropriate integration of Internet-connected computers into the language curriculum is a key issue to consider when examining the effective use of computer technologies for educational purposes in Korea.
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