Monday, February 20, 2006

mobile phones and EFL

Ask most teachers what they think about mobile phones in the classroom and I'm sure you'll get a lot of dark looks and muttered curses. Yet they can be used for something other than texting the latest gossip to your mates in form 3d.

First of all, most of them record voice and video which is an invaluable tool when learning a foreign language, especially at beginner and intermediate levels.

Try asking your students to record themselves while doing an exercise and then listening to themselves. Once they've stopped wincing they may just have learnt something about the way they sound to others. This an important step in correcting any problems they may have with pronounciation.

One of the biggest problems learning a foreign language is that we cannot hear ourselves. Odd as it may sound, what we think we hear often bears little resemblance to what actually comes out of our mouths. So making it very hard to improve since we basically have no feedback. However, by distancing ourselves from our voice through recording we have a way of assessing ourselves more objectively and so making any necessary improvements.

Similarly, by transcribing what we say on the recording we have an excellent means of analysing other possible problem areas in our language; such as persistent errors in grammar which again, usually remain "invisible".

BTW the weather today is gorgeous, warm and very Spring like. That really makes going around the city on the Vespa a pleasant experience.

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