CALL Reshapes Education


Pushpa Priya

Recent tremendous developments in technology and communication have not only brought about changes in globalisation but also in the instructional education system. Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is one of the most effective learning tools for learning a language, especially English, for non-native EFL students with the help of computers, technology, and electronic devices.

It is a learner-centred learning tool where learners have control over their learning. In other words, they can self-control the learning pace and have personal freedom of choice in selecting what and how to learn the contents.

This type of engagement instills confidence in learners' linguistic abilities. Through an investigation, the researchers have revealed their conclusions regarding the effects of CALL on linguistic proficiency and vocabulary expansion. Particularly during online sessions during the COVID-19 epidemic, the usage of technology has been strongly recognised to favourably influence the teaching and learning process. It is frequently observed that teachers use it to instruct in a second or foreign language.

Since it exhibits one's language competency, pronunciation, mass-facing abilities, confidence, and communication competence, teaching a second language like English in front of a crowd is not a cup of tea. One suitable strategy for assisting students in preventing public speaking anxiety is calling.

This is achievable because it provides the students with knowledge and confidence through their participation in various assignments that instruct them on what to say and how to convey the assigned material. Learners succeed with the assistance of several interactive workshops and advice on the fundamentals of public speaking.

Several benefits of CALL have been observed and identified by different researchers that give space and motivation to integrate computer-assisted language learning (CALL) in today’s teaching and learning process, especially for foreign or second language learning. It provides various classroom activities that may engage students in individual, group, and pair work.
This makes learners more engaged, interactive, and participatory.

By providing individualised and realistic tasks to learners through digital media, CALL helps students monitor their progress and development. Most importantly, it does not discriminate against learners based on gender or learning abilities. In addition, CALL can inculcate language skills and provide an immediate response. It also provides a space for learners to practise writing tasks that include not only essay writing but also research writing. Through spelling checkers and Grammarly, they can easily address their problems with solutions.

CALL benefits can be observed in vocabulary learning too. Vocabulary extension is one of the major factors influencing language learning. Language proficiency cannot be achieved unless you are poor in vocabulary or word meaning. Vocabulary extension is more relatable to comprehending, analysing, and interpreting reading texts. Similarly, having a vocabulary extension helps the learners develop their writing and public speaking skills as well. Likewise, several practise exercises are displayed to help learners master grammar skills.

It has made contextual learning easy and interesting through game-based teaching and learning. This is visually appealing, resulting in grasping the attention of the students towards learning in a fun way.

However, CALL has a few drawbacks too. For example, it may bring about a digital divide where haves and have-nots will be vividly observed and discriminated against based on financial capability. Similarly, it may also bring difficulties for those who lack digital literacy.

Little knowledge is dangerous, and it can be negatively perceived when any inexperienced teacher with no expertise develops teaching material. This may adversely influence the teaching and learning process. In addition, learners turned out to be unsocial. In comparison to its demerits, CALL has more merits and is therefore recommended for its integration into the teaching and learning sector, especially by the researchers who researched it.

Considering the number of benefits of computer-assisted language learning (CALL), especially in the teaching and learning of second language acquisition, relatable teachers must adopt CALL as a teaching method to ensure the betterment of foreign language learners. The call can be one of the motivating tools for learners, as they may experience modernised language learning as opposed to the traditional teacher-centred method.

The students may learn at their own pace and understand the contents more clearly than written texts on the whiteboard. In addition, it provides flexibility for learners to learn at any time. It may also facilitate the teacher's ability to teach diverse learners with different learning abilities since different levels of exercises are available on the internet. In this way, both students and teachers may not fall victim to stress and anxiety. The chance for learners to compete in a global marketplace and enter a global community is high.

CALL as a teaching method is of paramount significance, especially for the linguistic development of learners of a second language, and therefore is highly recommended to help learners face global challenges, competitiveness, and global community. 

However, in the context of Nepal, some of the teachers are not acquainted with the term CALL as one of the effective tools for language learning. Curriculum designers, education policymakers, and the government of Nepal should generate awareness about the usefulness of CALL in the teaching and learning process. In addition, the government of Nepal should educate or train teachers to implement technology-based education for the holistic development of teachers and learners.

(The writer is a lecturer of English at Global College of Management)
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