Twenty Practıcal Uses Of A Computer For The Efl Professıonal
by Chris Elvin
This paper is a list of the uses that I have for my computer as a high school teacher of English as a foreign language.
This is not a how to guide. Nor do I offer an evaluation for of any of my teaching ideas; suffice to say that none of the suggestions is particularly groundbreaking, and that if they have not yet been tried and tested, similar activities have.
1) To make worksheets
I start with perhaps the most obvious use of a computer, to make teaching resources for classroom use. Some worksheets that I make are to support the language learning aims of the syllabus, while others are made to more closely meet the students’ needs or wants, by allowing them to be part of the resource creating process.
For example, to review a topic, or a language structure, I hand out slips of paper and ask students to write down two or three questions that they would like to ask their classmates. In a preformatted Excel page, it is a relatively easy task to quickly type, sort and edit the students’ questions, before pasting into PageMaker and printing. These questions can be used for pair work, group work, quizzes, class discussions, or to play board games such as Snakes and Ladders, or its Japanese equivalent, Sugoroku. Similarly, student generated word lists can be used to play TV games such as Blockbusters (see Cribb, 2001) and Attack 25 (on Japanese TV).
2) To play DVDs
You can, of course, play DVDs from a DVD player. I use my computer to play short interesting sections of DVD movies that have a clear language learning point worthy of study. The advantage of DVDs over videocassettes is that you can choose whether or not to show subtitles, and also choose the language in which the subtitles can be viewed. Generally speaking, my students learn best by watching first with no subtitles, then with Japanese subtitles to get the gist, and finally with English subtitles to focus more closely on form. (more…)