Visualization- An Essential Method For Teaching Modern Languages
Mar 5, 2009 Teaching Methodology 7721 Views
In order to make a language class successful one has to try to match its content with various methods aiming to make studying exciting and engaging. The usage of modern technological equipment ought to be taken in consideration when preparing teaching materials for a language course.
Needless to say, one has to always keep in mind the following objectives when teaching a language class:
1. to develop the intellectual potential of the student
2. to raise his/her interest towards the culture and the civilization of the country whose language one teaches
3. to teach the student to decrypt the texts written in a foreign language
4. to provide the student with procedures, means and methods that would make him/her be able to communicate orally and in writing with a native speaker
The last objective can be reached by using CDs, where voices of native speakers are recorded. It can be a vocabulary class, when a bingo game is used to have the student match the picture with the name pronounced by the virtual teacher; a grammar exercise where the sentence is built as a puzzle; or a movie with subtitles that help the student at the beginning level to better understand the language pronunciation. This visualization tool helps students with both visual and non-visual minds.
When teaching a language course using CDs, the teacher can easily find out that the students are more prone to join debates and discussions at the end of each activity. They try to recall what they just studied and often attempt to mimic the models observed on the CDs with other peers. In the process they often try to use the same pronunciation and imitate the voice. As a result, one can notice that individual and collective thinking become more developed. Consequently, one third of the work is done by the student itself. The student becomes not only a recipient of information, but also an active member of the group. He or she becomes his or her own co-participant of the studying process.
Here, one should also talk about the so-called programmed instruction, which is performed independently by the student, under the teacher’s supervision. The work in video and audio laboratories is a perfect example. The student progresses in his/her own rhythm. He/she establishes his/her own objectives and reaches them in his/her own way. In case there are not enough computers, team work is useful. Moreover, when this is a movie that needs to be discussed at the end, the group or several small groups can be made up to achieve the objectives. In these cases the teacher is required to have a rich imagination and flexibility.
An article of the Romanian magazine “Computer World” argues that the benefits of computerized education are real: “We don’t have to ask ourselves if the teaching process gets better by means of computerized language methods utilization,” it claims. “It is obvious that the methods of teaching are unconquerable: interactivity, operational precision, capacity to offer multiple and dynamic representations of different phenomenon. Also, there is a constant interaction with every student.”
G. de Landshere, a famous methodology expert, has been always pointing out that the educational process needs to be always intense and has to be inspired from the cognitive psychology. He has been striking the importance of suppression of the routine methods by the modern techniques. Speaking of this, it is opportune to affirm that the CDs ensure the active construction of the knowledge, significant contexts for learning, promoting reflection, absolving the student from routine activities, stimulating his intellectual activity.
Modern pedagogy has to research the experience of the European and American professionals and try to understand why the new methods of teaching modern languages using the software had such a great success there. The foreign languages professors struggle to study the educational system by formulating new problems that might appear at the social horizon and they consider this as their important mission to experimentally verify and prepare solutions for the moment when society reaches that horizon.
What are the chances that this method has the same success everywhere? The chances can be estimated only if the method is implemented in the core-curriculum of the specific classes. The method was used in a case study with one group of medical student form an University of Medicine and Pharmacy. The outcome was plausible. Students got more interested in the class, they shared their experience with the colleague from the other faculties, and they asked me to keep using this method in the next modules. The use of informatics tools and the use of the visualization in the modern languages courses is the horizon of today’s historical moment.
There is an idea, entirely accepted by the specialists, that the educational soft is classified accordingly to the specific pedagogical function to have in the instruction process: exercise, interactive presentation of knowledge, simulation of models and phenomenon, testing the abilities, relaxation during the educational process due to game activities.
The studies made on the international lever lead to different important conclusions:
- the memorization time is reduced, the material is so interesting that the memorization happens in a shorter delay of time
- the attitude towards computer based education gets positively changed
- computer based education is more efficient as complementary instruction rather than an alternative form
- strategies base on the computer education are good enough for the elementary level of education as well as for the advanced one
Specialized shops exhibit a variety of CDs that make us study various conversational topics, new vocabulary, and dialogues, watch movies, and play games. And all this for one purpose: to easier and better speak a foreign language. The final result would be a diversification of the intellectual abilities, gathering of a new reserve of words. The software presents images, songs, game animation, business discussions, shopping and restaurant conversation situations, as well as maps of the country whose language is to be studied. The maps are also sounded. Pushing the image of a city the soft makes you listen to the pronunciation of that very topographic name. These multimedia CDs are a treasure and a condition sine qua non of a more productive and efficient language learning.
To sum up, let's point out that we have to keep insisting on the inclusion of this modern method in the curricula of every faculty and struggle against the unjustified fear towards new communication technologies in order not to limit or stop the creative spirit of the professor and the student.