The language laboratory as a tool for ESL teaching

The language laboratory as a tool for ESL teaching
1 answers
A Lang-Lab  is especially useful for speaking and listening practice in that students have access to an environment that fully exposes them to native English pronunciation. In order to create this environment, the Lang-Lab  is specially constructed to assist ESL learners in the acquisition of English by the use of English language TV and radio programmes, podcasts, WWW programmes, and other non-online video sources. Additionally, the Lang-Lab can also be used for online examinations, ESL and ESP courses.Teaching aids such as videos, images, written texts, etc. can be integrated into Lang-Lab sessions and these materials can be modified to suit the ESL teacher’s specific activities. Of course, the ability to modify such material will depend on the technical expertise of the ESL teacher; nevertheless, most ESL schools employ IT experts that could be approached for such tasks. Undoubtedly, the key benefit of a Lang-Lab  is that it enables all the students to become actively involved, as well as providing every student with more speaking time than is possible in a conventional classroom. It can be reasonably assumed that in a standard forty-five to fifty minute ESL lesson with a class of about ten to fifteen students, each student might get a minute or so of speaking time: but in a forty-five minute Lang-Lab session, this would be about ten minutes for each student. The students will also have the benefit of being able to record and playback their own voices: this will be of particular benefit to shy students who might be reluctant to speak in a conventional classroom setting.  Furthermore, the Lang-Lab allows all the students to talk at the same time: either with each other or with the ESL teacher. This is something that is clearly impractical in a conventional classroom. The ESL student’s reading and speaking can also be recorded: this is a facility that not many online sites provide. The novice ESL teacher will thus be able to monitor and assess the student’s performance, and the recordings can returned to the student for reviewing and further improvement; in fact, the Lang-Lab also allows the students to store all recordings of their work.Although as a novice ESL teacher you may feel intimidated by having to use a Lang-Lab, if you first familiarise yourself with its workings BEFORE your first lesson, you should have no major problems – and it is a teaching experience that should not be missed.

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