There is a lot of technology out there that ESL teachers like to incorporate into their classrooms as a way to help engage and educate their students, but there are a few things to take into consideration before incorporating new technology into an ESL classroom.
The first question to ask, “was this technology specifically created for ESL”? Chances are, the answer to this question is no. There is not a lot of technology out there that is specifically designed for ESL classrooms (in-person or online). This poses a few problems for ESL teachers. For one, the teachers have to figure out how to incorporate the technology in a way that not only engages their students, but also how to get their students to understand the purpose of using the technology. Meaning, if the students cannot see an immediate return on investment or benefit, they simply will not engage with the technology.
The second question to ask, “does this technology have a specific purpose in the ESL classroom, or is it just an ancillary after-thought within the curriculum/syllabus”? There is an age-old rule throughout the ESL community with regard to the use of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), “never put technology in the classroom simply for the sake of putting technology in the classroom.” Some ESL teachers often incorporate technology into the classroom simply for the sake of trying to engage and educate their students, but they often fail to consider that most technology is not specifically designed for ESL, and therefore can be more of a hindrance rather than a benefit. After a while, the focus is on the technology rather than the learning. To this end, when the technology does not maximize the learning experience… students become bored and disengaged. In all fairness, most younger students can figure out how to use the technology with minimal English language capability, but they need to understand “why” they are using the technology in the first place. Meaning, the students need to be able to correlate the ESL language class to a future endeavor (e.g. a job, a career, higher education, et cetera). In the end, if ESL students cannot see the purpose of technology, as it pertains to their specific life and career goals, they will not get the most out of the training.
At Creative Veteran Productions (CVP), we consider all aspects of ESL training, which is why we focus on the “purpose” of ESL and the “end-needs” of the students. Our English for a Specific Purpose (ESP) training solution addresses the students’ concern of an “immediate return on investment.” We understand that ESL information must not only be relevant and contextual, but also be delivered in a way that allows students to apply the information and skills immediately; practical, active application ensures the highest degree of language retention. To do this, our ESP gaming concept provides a crucial ingredient into the overall paradigm; it entertains! Our triune learning paradigm utilizes the “Entertain, Engage, Educate” concept because we understand that training must Entertain in order to Engage the new learners of today and tomorrow. Meaning, in order to Educate, the materials must be Engaging. And, in order to be Engaging, the materials must be Entertaining. To be Entertaining, the materials must be Active.
By incorporating this approach into our Instructional Systems Design (ISD) process, we are able to develop ESP training that answers both of the two questions above. Yes, this technology we specifically designed for ESL training, and it is used for a Specific Purpose – it provides immediate performance capabilities specifically designed to promote ESL within a skill set. Here is a brief look inside our gaming concept “English for a Specific Purpose (ESP) Learning Game – Construction Series: Framing.”
This ESP gaming concept not only incorporates active learning in a virtual environment, but it ties a specific skill set to the purpose of learning English. This helps engage the learner because it offers real life application to a future job or career (in this case, construction), which makes the learning practical and contextual.
Our team is very excited about bringing something new to the language learning community. To find out more about, contact our sales team and see how our ESP solution can help maximize your students’ classroom performance.
“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.”
~ Confucius, circa 450BC