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2006 CALL International Conference. 2 nd June—4 th June 2006. An Empirical Study of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Cultivation of Autonomous Learning Competence. Guo Naizhao: Shanxi University of Finance & Economics

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2006 call international conference
2006 CALL International Conference

2nd June—4th June 2006

slide2
An Empirical Study of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Cultivation of Autonomous Learning Competence

Guo Naizhao: Shanxi University of Finance & Economics

Jia Guizhen: Guangdong Ocean University, China

E-mail: guonaizhao@126.com

1 introduction
1.Introduction
  • Students’ English comprehensive competence, directly affects the national economy and students’ employment prospects.
  • Tertiary providers are trying to emphasize the importance of students becoming life-long-learners.
  • The rapid development of computer technology has provided access to a wide range of electronic communications media and the Internet.
  • We believe that learner autonomy model through CALL is an effective way of raising classroom-teaching quality while cultivating students’ life skills.
1 introduction1
1.Introduction
  • The Chinese Ministry of Education launched a new teaching reform program of college English in mainland of China during February 2004.
  • The goal of the program is to shift the textbook-based teaching model to computer-assisted teaching model; to shift cultivating student reading comprehensive ability to focusing on raising student comprehensive application competence, especially listening and speaking capacity; to change the examination model of college English so as to make it close to the model of IELTS (Li Pengyi, 2005).
  • The research provides some new ideas for the language teaching reform program of the Chinese Ministry of Education.
2 disadvantages of the traditional teaching model and current problems
2. Disadvantages of the traditional teaching model and current problems
  • College English teaching in China has made great progress since the central government opened the door to the outside world.
  • For many years, the grammar-translation method dominated English teaching .
  • At this point I’d like to use myself as an example of the traditional Chinese approach to English language education.
2 disadvantages of the traditional teaching model and current problems1
2. Disadvantages of the traditional teaching model and current problems
  • A survey of students at SUFE showed that, at present, college students’ autonomous learning ability is particularly weak,
  • We should explore new approaches to teaching.
3 learner autonomy has proved effective in language learning
3. Learner autonomy has proved effective in language learning
  • Since the publication of Henri Holec’s (1981) work, Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning, the concept of autonomy in language learning has been a topic of widespread discussion in the western countries.
  • Many researchers and theorists define learner autonomy in different ways.
  • Holec (1981: 47), an influential advocate of autonomy in language teaching has explained it as the “ability to take care of one’s own learning.”
3 learner autonomy has proved effective in language learning1
3. Learner autonomy has proved effective in language learning
  • Dickinson (1995:79) considers autonomy as “both an attitude towards learning and a capacity for independent learning”.
  • “Learners become self-directed (i.e. are able to determine their own learning objectives, choose their own ways of achieving these, and evaluate their own progress)" (Ellis, 1994: 516).
  • Li Ming (1999:7) argues: “cultivating a learner’s independence or autonomy should be regarded as the ultimate goal that teachers or educators try to pursue.”
3 learner autonomy has proved effective in language learning2
3. Learner autonomy has proved effective in language learning
  • The research team at SUFE considered that learner autonomy in EFL in China should involve the learner in:
  • setting realistic goals and planning a program of work;
  • taking charge of his/her own learning;
  • using learning strategies effectively;
  • developing strategies for coping with new situations;
  • creating and making good use of study environments; and
  • evaluating and assessing his/her own learning process.
4 ict provides a broad scope for autonomous learning
4. ICT provides a broad scope for autonomous learning
  • Computers have been used for language teaching ever since the 1960's. According to Warschauer & Healey (1998), this 40-year period can be divided into three main stages: behavioristic CALL, communicative CALL, and integrative CALL.
  • Levy (1997:1) defines CALL more succinctly and more broadly as "the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning".
4 ict provides a broad scope for autonomous learning1
4. ICT provides a broad scope for autonomous learning
  • Technological and pedagogical developments now allow us to better integrate computer technology into the language learning process.
  • Modern education in China has been gradually breaking away from the traditional teaching model of teacher-blackboard-textbook-student and introducing various educational means of technologies such slide shows, projection, television and video and so on.
5 the experiment at shanxi university of finance and economics
5. The Experiment at Shanxi University of Finance and Economics

5.1 Hypothesis

5.2 Aims and objectives of the experiment

5.3 Research approach: Contrastive investigation

5 the experiment at shanxi university of finance and economics1
5. The Experiment at Shanxi University of Finance and Economics
  • After the students of Grade of 2004 entered the university, they first attended the graded test.
  • students were divided into two-level classes (Classes A and B).
  • There were 500 non-English major undergraduate students taking a major in English, with three teachers involved in their instruction during the experimental period at SUFE.
5 the experiment at shanxi university of finance and economics2
5. The Experiment at Shanxi University of Finance and Economics
  • The teaching approach in the experimental classes was one in which teachers combining face-to-face classes (Reading and writing course) with students’ autonomous learning sessions using the ICT network (Online course). Thus, they had listening and speaking training in small groups (Viewing, listening and speaking).
  • The teaching ratio during face-to-face teaching, autonomous learning, and listening and speaking was 2:1:1 (see Figure 2).
5 the experiment at shanxi university of finance and economics3
5. The Experiment at Shanxi University of Finance and Economics
  • Experimental classes and non-experimental classes were required to study the New Horizon College English-Reading and Writing course.

5.4 Assessment methodology

  • It was important to establish a rigorous, objective, and accurate assessment system.
5 the experiment at shanxi university of finance and economics4
5. The Experiment at Shanxi University of Finance and Economics
  • The new formative assessment policy of the teaching/learning process took into consideration three aspects of student activity:

These are students’ self-assessment,

students’ assessment of each other

and the teacher’s assessment of students.

  • Final assessment refers to the end of course examination and the level examination.
6 optimizing the learner autonomy model of call
6. Optimizing the learner autonomy model of CALL

6.1 Why to optimize the learner autonomy model of CALL

Learner autonomy model of CALL implies a form of autonomous language learning in which, under the supervision of the teacher, students actively choose learning contents, learning rate of progress, learning time and place according to their individual features and needs with the aid of computer technology.

6 1 why to optimize the learner autonomy model of call
6.1 Why to optimize the learner autonomy model of CALL
  • In these information-rich times, students need to deal with a vast range of information that relates to the rapidly changing nature of the educational environment.
  • Research studies agree that technology is effective for learners.
  • Technology is "especially beneficial for English language learners (ELLs) because they are often disengaged from schools and they have generally experienced more failure than success in learning situations" (Padrón & Waxman, 1996, pp. 344-345).
6 2 the new and differentiated roles of teachers
6.2 The new and differentiated roles of teachers
  • The students’ learning become the core of learning and teachers’ teaching become guidance.
  • Teachers are willing to change and shift their roles in the classroom from information providers to facilitators, guides, and co-learners,
6 2 the new and differentiated roles of teachers1
6.2 The new and differentiated roles of teachers
  • As facilitators, teachers provide rich learning environments, experiences, and activities; create opportunities for students to work collaboratively, to solve problems, to do authentic tasks, and to share knowledge and responsibility.
  • As guides teachers play complex and varied roles. They mediate, model, and coach. Teacher modeling involves thinking aloud and demonstrating. Coaching involves giving hints or cues, providing feedback, refocusing student efforts, assisting students in the use of a strategy.
  • Given the diverse opportunities and challenges present in education, teachers are often co-learners and co-investigators right alongside students.
6 3 three panels of the learner autonomy model of call
6.3 Three panels of the learner autonomy model of CALL

Learning before class (Stage 1): Learning before class requires students to identify definite personal goals of learning, study some contents alone, and finish objective testing.

Classroom teaching (Stage 2): This work functions to help students make use of the materials and to help them to actively engage with the teachers’ classroom activities.

The work outside-class (Stage 3):

6 4 how to optimize the learner autonomy model of call
6.4 How to optimize the learner autonomy model of CALL
  • Teachers combined the reading and writing course with listening and speaking unit and with network learning unit as well.
  • The reading and writing course was designed to pass on essential English knowledge, and to focus on the development of students’ technical application.
  • Teachers pay more attention to cultivation of students’ writing ability.
  • And the students were required to write a composition every weak and the teacher would check to see who completed the task of compositions better.
6 4 how to optimize the learner autonomy model of call1
6.4 How to optimize the learner autonomy model of CALL
  • In terms of viewing, listening and speaking course, teachers focused on the cultivation of students’ spoken language capacity.
  • In online course students also had listening and speaking training.
  • A mutual e-mail box was applied as an exchanging platform for the teacher and the students to exchange valuable information and express their view of points.
6 4 how to optimize the learner autonomy model of call2
6.4 How to optimize the learner autonomy model of CALL
  • Sharing documents were also set up, through which students can learn and review what the teacher delivers previously in reading and writing course.
  • Students can use CD-ROM freely on their computers in class and out of class as well.
  • The network has the features of rich information, various and original in the choice of subjects, and timely feedbacks.
6 4 how to optimize the learner autonomy model of call3
6.4 How to optimize the learner autonomy model of CALL
  • Teachers carried out level-based teaching method to develop the students’ capacity and focused on student individual development.
  • Students are encouraged to be interdependent and to work collaboratively.
  • The teaching staff, too, needed to develop effective monitoring and control mechanisms and carry out accurate, objective evaluation
7 preliminary findings of the teaching experiment at sufe
7. Preliminary findings of the teaching experiment at SUFE
  • The comparison of listening and writing overall grades of the experimental classes and the control classes of the experimental program in September 2004 and January 2006. (Table 1: )
7 1 the results analysis of the students academic achievements
7.1 The results analysis of the students’ academic achievements
  • It is found that there are some significant differences between the experimental classes and the control classes
  • First, compared with the control classes, the experimental classes got much higher grades in listening comprehension.
  • Secondly, the grades of the experimental classes are much higher than those of the control classes in writing.
7 1 the results analysis of the students academic achievements1
7.1 The results analysis of the students’ academic achievements
  • There are some significant differences between experimental classes and the control classes in their motivation and confidence in learning of English.
  • Most students have formed the habits of autonomous learning before class and after class.
  • When new teaching strategies were introduced to enhance the learning process students can become autonomous language learners
7 2 association of findings in relation to the literature
7.2 Association of Findings in relation to the Literature
  • This investigation supported the understanding that autonomous learning is certainly not “teacher-less learning.” As Sheerin (1997, cited in Benson & Voller, 1997: 63) succinctly states, teachers ‘have a crucial role to play in launching learners into self-access and in helping them to stay afloat’.
7 2 association of findings in relation to the literature1
7.2 Association of Findings in relation to the Literature
  • This investigation supports the view that developing some degree of autonomy is essential if learners are to become effective language users (see Littlewood, 1996; Nunan, 1997; Breen, 1984). This view is most succinctly summarized by Knowles, (1975: 34).“There is convincing evidence that people who take the initiative in learning learn more things and learn better than do people who sit at the feet of teachers, passively waiting to be taught.”
7 3 a range of impressions of the students involved in the teaching experiments
7.3 A range of impressions of the students involved in the teaching experiments
  • The investigation found that most students could take charge of their own learning.
  • The students have become accustomed to some new learning strategies.
7 4 practical recommendations to the teaching experiments
7.4 Practical recommendations to the teaching experiments
  • 7.4.1 Reading and writing course should be taken in a small size class
  • 7.4.2 Network English learning unit should be arranged outside class
  • 7.4.3 Replacing the old technology became a priority.
8 conclusions
8. Conclusions
  • The learner autonomy model of CALL proved to be an effective and efficient way of language learning in Chinese contexts,
  • If the students are to be independent learners what the teachers should do most importantly is to make students realize that learning is a long-life thing.
  • During the process of developing students’ autonomous learning capacity, teachers’ role is crucial.
  • Group study is a good way to cultivate students’ cooperative competence and autonomous learning capacity.
thank you for your attention
Thank you for your attention.

E-mail:guonaizhao@126.com