The 21st Century Student … and Teacher!

We often hear teachers bemoaning the fact that students often ‘do not learn’ what they have been taught. Sounds familiar?

Unfortunately, many teachers still equate teaching with learning!

But ….. there is no one-to-one mathematical relationship between teaching and learning!

So what can we do as teachers?

To use a quote from Von Humboldt, which is still very valid over a century later:

“You cannot teach a language. You can only create the conditions under which it can be learnt”.

The conditions could be a number of things – the affective environment, the type of tasks set, the perceived value of the language context, or the principled eclectism approach adopted by the teacher.

The METHODS Project highlights the need for students’ involvement and engagement in order to increase motivation and create better learning environments. It also provides concrete ways in which this can be done, in the 5 downloadable Guides and other resources.

We hope that by focussing on these 5 methods, teachers will be more open to teaching in ways that target the learners of today, either by:

  • focussing on them as individuals with their own styles and needs
  • seeking to lower affective barriers to learning
  • By using materials that engage and stimulate them, resulting in greater motivation
  • By using technology in their teaching, and bringing their classrooms into the 21st Century

Technology has become a must for teachers.

“Technology will never replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace teachers  who don’t”

Dr Ray Clifford (1983)

The 21st Century student is a digital native. Even young kids often own mobile phones and/or tablets and have access to computers and the internet. Computer-mediated communication is a way of life. To them, a world without computers is like watching a silent movie in black and white.

In recent years the rapid development of mobile computing devices has seen technology enter the classroom in ways that 20 years ago we would never have dreamt possible.  Schools are investing in computer hardware, but even if not, it is worthwhile checking whether everyone in the class has access to the internet. If so, the teacher can extend teaching outside the classroom walls.

A question many teachers ask is:

Where do I start ….. and how?

The CALL Guide offers the language teacher advice on a number of tools and activities that, when carefully planned as part of the pedagogical classroom, will assist in the learning process.

CALL is not intended as a replacement of existing teaching practices.  Students should not sit at a computer to learn a language, but they should learn a language which occasionally requires them to sit at a computer as a complement to their communicative development. Therefore, CALL is a tool which facilitates learning.

And remember ….. CALL engages learners in a way familiar to them. This can lead to higher levels of motivation, as learning should no longer only be the old-fashioned paper-and-pen learning, but should encompass a variety of technology tools which are part of students’ everyday life.

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