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English Language Learners Take Advantage of Technology

Jan 3, 2008
Learning English has always been a difficult task due to the language's many intricacies and rules that are quite dissimilar to most of the world's spoken languages. For example, while most languages place verbs after the noun (ball red), English does the opposite (red ball).

Despite the difficulty of the English language, it remains the world's most spoken language and a requirement for anybody getting into international business.

English language learners today, however, have the advantage of centuries of language instruction experts contributing to modern technology to make the process much smoother and easier.

Technology for Today's English Language Learners

While nothing can fully replace an experienced teacher, technology has done much to assist teachers in their efforts.

The most obvious use of technology to help students learn English used to be the television. Videos geared toward specific age groups and levels were prominent during the 70s and 80s. However, today with the availability of computers in homes, computer software has become the prominent technology of choice for today's English language learners.

Computer software has many advantages over video instruction. Perhaps the most powerful advantage is software's ability to automatically gauge a student's progress and customize their curriculum and workflow accordingly, all without intervention from a human teacher.

Software learning has also evolved to the point that an English language learner can immerse themselves in a virtual environment where only English is spoken, and spoken in a manner that allows the student to learn to not just speak the language, but to begin thinking in that language. This is considered a vital area for learning English or any language.

The Need for English Language Instruction in America Grows Daily

American teachers today continue to see an increasing influx of students that don't speak English as their first language, and many students that don't speak English at all. American teachers are trained to teach in English. Even if a teacher speaks a foreign language and is able to communicate with non-English speaking students, the training needed to teach that student English, thus allowing them to prosper in a foreign land, is not apparent.

Every classroom in America, statistically, will have a few English language learners in it. With teachers unequipped to teach students English, technology has, by necessity, taken on a larger role in the classroom.

Without this technology, English language learners are often left to their own devices. For those without a supportive environment, English might never be learned without proper technology available in the classroom; sometimes the only place where a student gets the opportunity to speak any English at all.
About the Author
Scholastic (http://www.scholastic.com) has been providing teachers and students with the technology needed to assist English language learners and students of all types, both in and out of the classroom, for over 85 years.
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