The unprecedented advances in interactivity and multimedia capabilities together with a myriad of emerging technologies have enabled the creation of virtual learning environments that could be utilized to boost the development of English language skills among Malaysian primary and secondary school students. English language standards have been deteriorating over the years and basic oral skills have been appalling due to lack of usage and reflective practice. English lessons that incorporate multimedia applications can exert powerful motivation and provide bored students with exciting new ways to learn. The utilization and integration of ICT tools can indeed assist students in acquiring English Language competency as well as enhance the quality of their learning experience. This paper first examines the present scenario of English language teachers as regards ICT integration and tries to determine if ICT skills of English language teachers in the light of existing infrastructure facilities are adequate to promote English language teaching and learning. The researchers next look at some of the obstacles faced by English language teachers in ICT integration and finally in the concluding part the researchers suggest the use of interactive lessons to speed up the teaching and learning of English.
Keywords: interactivity, multimedia elements, rich learning environment
There is growing concern about the level of English proficiency at the workplace which if left unchecked could lead to the country losing its competitiveness especially in the industry and technical fields. Malaysia needs communicative competence to maintain its competitive edge in all aspects of our economic environment be it administration, education, trade or finance. The 2004 School Certificate Examination Report on English Language 2 revealed that the majority of the candidates have yet to master the writing skills in English (Laporan Prestasi SPM, 2004). What is amiss? Can the right ICT tools enhance English language teaching and learning and quickly arrest the rapid decline? ICT tools have now removed the time and space limitation found in traditional teaching. Classroom dialogue can now extend beyond the time and space constraints of class time (Frayer, 1997). Carmen et al., (2003) say that integrating ICT tools in teaching can lead to increased students' learning competencies and increased opportunities for communication. Key findings under ImpaCT2 (www. becta. org. uk) show that the use of ICT tools in teaching and learning has positive effects on behaviour, motivation, communication and process skills and that it enables pupils to learn more autonomously. ImpaCT2 further shows that teachers in schools where pupils used ICT in English achieved higher mean gain scores. The integration of ICT tools in the teaching and learning of English have found to bring other benefits too. Besides motivating pupils and raising self-esteem and confidence, ICT can enhance pupil interaction, verbalization and involvement in collaborative learning (SIIA Report - 2000). What is the scenario on the utilization and integration of ICT tools among English option teachers in Malaysia? Can similar benefits be achieved here in Malayia? In order to answer these questions a qualitative study was carried out to find out the extent of ICT integration among 30 English language teachers in Kuala Langat District in Selangor.
The sampling frame of study was primary and secondary school teachers in three premier schools in Banting. Over a period of six months (i. e., July to December 2005), the researchers conducted face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with 30 trained teachers from three schools namely Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Langat, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Teluk, Panglima Garang and Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Samad, Banting. Prior to the interviews, the researchers visited the above three schools and obtained useful information pertaining to infrastructure facilities. …