Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Promoting CLT within a Computer Assisted Learning Environment: A Survey of the Communicative English Course of FLTC

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Promoting CLT within a Computer Assisted Learning Environment: A Survey of the Communicative English Course of FLTC

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study is based on a survey of the Communicative English Language Certificate (CELC) course run by the Foreign Language Training Center (FLTC), a Project under the Ministry of Education, Bangladesh. FLTC is working to promote the teaching and learning of English through its eleven computer-based and state of the art language laboratories. As Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is becoming increasingly popular in many EFL/ESL contexts, the fully computer based language teaching facilities offered by FLTC can be seen as a significant step towards implementing CALL in the soil of Bangladesh. However, any language course using technology alone may not always ensure the best practices of language teaching and learning; the advantages of technological advancements are to be adapted according to the pedagogic needs of the concerned language course. This paper, therefore, seeks to explore how aspects of CALL are being integrated within a framework of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). The survey was conducted on 425 learners who had completed the CELC course at the selected four centers of FLTC. This study provides a brief overview of how computers are being used for teaching communicative English. It is found that the trainees gave a positive response about the contents, facilities, and organization of the course but not completely satisfied with the teaching techniques and participants' role as independent learners. It is recommended that there is a need for making the computer based learning materials more accessible to the learners so that they can use them more independently in and outside the language lab.

Keywords: Bangladesh, CLT, CALL, FLTC, learner autonomy, teacher's role

1. Introduction

1.1 An Introduction to the Study

The emergence of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) has led to significant changes in the arena of language teaching and learning starting from the use of innovative learning materials to the widening of interaction patterns among a huge and diverse community of learners. There have been arguments regarding the advantages and disadvantages of CALL, though the trend of using computer assisted devices in language teaching is increasing worldwide. It is obvious that the success of a language teaching course depends not only on the technological aspects it incorporates but also on many other factors including the pedagogic features. Hence it is important to consider the introduction of technology in a language teaching program in terms of the "pedagogical needs that the technology is actually fulfilling" (Littlemore, 2002). The evaluation of any teaching program depends on whether it influences the way participants think about a subject, causes participants to change their behaviour, and leads to some meaningful and substantial developments in certain skills areas. These can be best measured by collecting responses of the learners who are supposed to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the program. As the CELC of FLTC aims at developing learners' basic communicative competences in English within the computer assisted learning environment of its language laboratories, this survey is designed to gather information on how well the course objectives have been achieved and what factors might impede the successful achievement of the targeted learning outcomes of the course.

1.2 Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study are:

* To conduct an evaluation of the Communicative English Course of FLTC with special focus on the elements of CALL,

* To identify the pedagogical issues to be considered in using computers in communicative classroom,

* To generate feedback for developing and revising the course content, format and mode of teaching,

* To provide a base for the EFL teaching communities to anticipate the prospect of CALL in the context of Bangladesh and other developing countries.

1.3 Previous Studies

There is only a small amount of published research focusing on the relationship between CLT and CALL in the context of Bangladesh. …

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