Marrakech - The use of Information and Communication Technology in EFL classes has changed many aspects of the teaching and learning process. In this article, I highlight the role of the teacher in EFL classes that use technology communicatively.
Marrakech – The use of Information and Communication Technology in EFL classes has changed many aspects of the teaching and learning process. In this article, I highlight the role of the teacher in EFL classes that use technology communicatively.
The incorporation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in EFL classes has brought many changes to the learning and teaching process. Among these changes is that of the role of the teacher, which shifts from a very traditional role to a more modern one. Prior to using technology in classrooms, the teacher served as an instructor to the students: he or she gives instructions regarding the use of computers, projectors or any other technological devices. When ICT is implemented in classrooms, the role of the teacher shifts to coordinating of the flow of communication between students and teacher as well as between students and the computer.
While learners take on tasks, the teacher adopts the role of the observer and facilitator. Here the teacher gives many opportunities to students to construct their own knowledge. Still, the teacher should always be a role model who shows the students how to achieve the tasks. Therefore, through modeling, and sometimes scaffolding (interaction between teachers and students, or experts and novice), the teacher does not remain the authoritarian who deductively imparts information. Rather, he or she becomes a facilitator and a supporter of the students’ interaction with the computer. The teacher is no longer the all-knowing monolith; rather, teachers sometimes find themselves the learners and explores with students. Thus, teachers play the role of student.
In class, the teacher remains at all times at the disposal of students. He or she is their adviser, guide, and trainer, as well as a collaborator, silent partner, monitoring and assessment specialist. It’s worth mentioning that one of the teacher’s main roles is the role of a communicator. ICT provides teachers with opportunities to widen their communication spaces and communicate in class or even out of class via internet with students and colleagues and other experts all over the world. To conclude, a teacher who adapts communicative technology, whether virtual games, PowerPoint photo based stories, social networks and so on, can change the face of their profession. By keeping up with the latest workplace trends, they stay effective in their work and become motivators who help their students remain involved with the learning process.
The role of students in a class which uses technology communicatively
The incorporation of ICT in EFL classes has altered both the role of teachers and students. The latter‘s role in traditional methods has not been highlighted much since the teacher is the controller, the authoritarian in class. But after the appearance of Communicative Language Teaching, the student began to be more involved in the learning process. Teachers, who adapted ICT, gave students the opportunity to play the role of self-learners. Students select their own real world, real time multimedia projects. With the use of computer software, they become active participants. They feel independent and responsible for their own learning, thus shifting their role from passive learners to the active doers and decision-makers.
Students also become explorers. They independently look for and obtain information while the teacher remains a silent partner. Furthermore, ICT helps learners become self-motivated and self-managed. Learners get involved in maintaining a fun and safe class-atmosphere, which makes it easier for the teacher to give his or her support and advice, as it is rare that the teacher comes across challenging or less disciplined learners.
Learners also play the role of team members and collaborators. They often work in groups when completing tasks and multimedia projects, such as presenting PowerPoint presentations and photo stories that give them the opportunity to negotiate and communicate with other members of the group. In addition to these previous roles, a learner becomes a knowledge manager or leader, crucial roles a learner plays when the teacher is adapting ICT communicatively. For instance, when the learner conducts multimedia reports and presentations to figure out some real world problems or social issues, or even to express and share personal attitudes and feelings.
In conclusion the communicative use of technology in EFL classes helps students take on several roles. Students evolved from passive knowledge consumers to creators and participators in their own learning. They bear their own responsibility for learning, and they have freedom of action in a modern and safe environment that responds to the real life situation changes.
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