The first assignment we were assigned to do was to create a lesson plan incorporating CALL to teach the assigned language skills to learners of any chosen levels . Each group presented their lesson plan that used various computer applications as aid in learning and teaching English. Selecting the appropriate and suitable applications as tools for learning and teaching were quite challenging for us, who are not so experienced in this area of teaching. Nevertheless, it was quite an experience. Thus, excluding our own teaching aids, we are attracted to discuss these three tools applied by other groups which we found interesting by relating them to the CALL theoretical frameworks.
talkenglish.com is a great website for the students as well as the teachers who intend to learn and teach speaking skill. Speaking skill is crucial for all language learners as this skill is needed for them to communicate effectively with other language users.
This website require the learners to read and practice uttering the given sentences over and over again until they no longer need to refer to the site for the basic sentences. This website provides a lot of topics and uses basic English. Here, CALL behaviourist framework is employed. The site becomes a tutor in teaching the students the basic English in speaking. With the audio provided for each sentences, the students are able to listen and repeat after the sentences. The repetition works as a drill in acquiring new vocabularies as well as pronouncing sentences correctly. Hence, through this drill, the students can further enhance their pronunciation and thus reach one step closer to becoming a fluent English speaker. As the lesson proceeds, the students are then required to present their selected topic in front of the class. Based on the practice, they will definitely use the same drill and pattern in presenting their topics as they had acquired the needed vocabularies through the listening drill earlier.
talkenglish.com is a great learning aid in teaching the speaking skill. Besides its ability to function as tutor, it also helps in stimulating the students into reading as well as listening to the sentences provided. Acquiring not only the speaking skill, but also the listening and reading skills is like killing two birds with one stone by using this website. Hence, talkenglish.com is a good choice for teachers who wish to teach speaking skill not only because of its behaviourist attributes, but also its ability to provide independent learning for the students.
2. theanimalblog.tumblr.com & YouTube
In acquiring writing skills, using photo blog such as theanimalblog.tumblr.com would help the students to gain the required knowledge through the various photos of objects with their captions which in this case are animals. This is a communicative CALL where the blog provides the students with language input for them to discover and process. For example, the students can refer to the blog to see what kind of animal a hedgehog is. The students can then transfer this knowledge into writing. For example, they can describe a hedgehog using their own words. This is one of the methods that can be applied to teach the students new vocabularies to be used in writing. In this context, the blog provides the students with the knowledge on animals.
YouTube, which is one of the most used online applications also works to introduce the students to new things for them to apply into their writing. Online videos are easy and interactive that they can grab students’ attention to focus on the lesson. Online videos are not only helpful in writing skills, but also in speaking and listening. It contains animated figures, attractive colours and sounds that can help students understand better. After watching the videos, students could perceive objects in a more realistic manner if they could not do so before. The ability to write on certain subjects is more improved when the objects related (in this case, animals) are in front of their eyes and using videos is very helpful. Students will be more descriptive and this can be seen through their writings. YouTube is also a type of communicative CALL as it provides language input for the students to discover and process.
3. britishcouncil.org & YouTube
The group used the British Council website* to teach students of beginner level listening and writing skills. This website works by providing an attractive postcard containing simple sentences for the students to first read aloud before answering quizzes based on the text in the postcard they read earlier. This is how their listening skill is tested. A worksheet provided by the website is then printed by the teacher and distributed to the students where they are now required to write a postcard themselves after viewing and reading one. Thus, this website functions as a communicative CALL since it provides the students with language input (in this case, the text in the postcard) for them to discover and process into inferential task (in this case, answering the quizzes and writing another postcard on their own).
The group also listed YouTube as a teaching aid in their lesson plan. A YouTube video on the popular nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down” is shown at the beginning of the lesson to grab the students’ attention and arouse their excitement to learn the lesson for the day. Although this video is not directly related to the skills the teachers intend to teach, it can still be regarded as a behaviouristic CALL since there is repetition of the verses in the song that may work as practice or drill for the students to improve their listening and speaking skills unconsciously.
*Full link of the website: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/writing-practice/postcard-london