These days, the overarching presence and blessing of information and communication technology (ICT) has changed our life so dramatically that a single day without ICT cannot be imagined. Similarly, the integration of ICT in the academic arena has also become obvious in the language learning process as well. ICT tools now infiltrate the academic atmosphere and reinforce the feat of the new millennium teaching and learning activities. They can also transform the traditional instructor-based teaching-learning into effective student-centred method as well as bring about a positive change in the academic institutions and their management strategies. In fact, in this 21st century, the application of ICTs can be viewed as an agent of change benefiting those countries that use it efficiently.
Experts opine that ICT, more specifically computer-mediated technology, plays a crucial role in developing teachers’ language instruction practices and therefore, it effectively promotes students’ learning skill. Hence, they propose that all language professionals should ruminate on how ICT is contributing to the English Language Teaching (ELT) since the relationship between ICT and language teaching-learning is now universally accepted. Accordingly, teachers should be well informed and skilled with regard to the use of ICT in teaching that helps develop their work. This prospect of technology in teaching and learning language invigorates the concept of Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL), which paves the way for the integration of computer into language teaching and learning.Since CALL can motivate and actively engage the students to learn language, teachers are deemed the significant agent in ensuring the efficient use of CALL. Besides, the technological skills of the teachers determine the success of CALL for teaching. Thus, the results of incorporating CALL into teaching-learning process will not be encouraging unless the teacher can apply it efficiently.
National University (NU) of Bangladesh affiliated with 1,490 colleges is the largest university in the country where seventy-nine percent of tertiary education students are enrolled. Therefore, the responsibilities to nurture these students for the future workforce shoulder upon the teachers teaching at the colleges under NU. Accordingly, the opinions and contributions of the teachers with regard to the efficient use of course materials as well as ensuring the learning environment at the colleges must be taken into cognizance. As already mentioned, the incorporation of CALL can increase the English language teaching-learning process and the teachers play the vital role in ensuring a congenial learning atmosphere. So, considering the importance of technological and pedagogical dimensions of CALL integration in institutional settings, the study attempted to investigate English language teachers’ pedagogical and technological perceptions of CALL integration in teaching English in the Bangladeshi colleges. The purpose of this investigation was to explore whether the use of CALL in the process of English language teaching and learning is actually motivating the teachers. This study also tried to delve into challenges that teachers undergo in the use of CALL in the classroom and search for the feasible solutions to use CALL with ease.
The results of the study show that the majority of teachers accepted the fact that the application of CALL in the teaching-learning process has become immensely important in this epoch of modern technology. It is because, traditional class lecture method often fails to grab the attention of the students. Besides, the use of CALL materials can help teachers manage the large classroom. Plus, the application of CALL materials in the academic setting saves time and facilitates the teaching-learning process which can make students become interested in paying more attention in the class. Moreover, there are numerous online resources to develop the teaching content. In addition, CALL can be a boon to improve learners’ language skills. The integration of CALL has changed the language teaching-learning process than ever. The majority of the teachers contended that with the CALL materials, students can alone learn many items of language learning such as vocabulary development, correct pronunciation of words, and punctuation of sentence. Even computer helps students polish and develop a piece of writing almost free of spelling mistakes. Thus, student autonomy can be enhanced through the use of CALL into English language teaching-learning process.
Though some challenges like reluctance to learning new technological changes, inadequate training, lack of learning tools and resources, insufficient administrative support, time limitation with regard to the integration of CALL into teaching-learning in the tertiary colleges affiliated with NU may arise, the benefits of CALL outweigh them. The results of the research also show that CALL can enhance the professional development of the teachers. They can use CALL for ensuring effective learning outcome through inspiring students to engage in studies. Since, from the responses, it has been explored that teachers have insufficient and lack of proper training on the application of CALL, they should be provided necessary training on the effective use of CALL. Hence, some in-house training by the external resource persons for teachers should be conducted. Besides, since some teachers are reluctant of getting training and applying CALL in the classroom, they should be encouraged to take training and apply the obtained knowledge in their teaching method. Therefore, introduction and promotion of CALL in the academic institutions across Bangladesh should be initiated. However, to mitigate the challenges, providing necessary training on the effective use of CALL, motivating reluctant teachers to take training and apply the obtained knowledge in their teaching method and increasing administrative and technical supports to provide necessary materials should be opted.
To sum up, it is evident that the fusion of technology and language learning process can enhance teaching-learning with great speed. In this regard, CALL can be cited as an effective tool through which teachers can teach English effectively. It encourages learner autonomy. Similarly, sufficient knowledge and skills on CALL can boost up the efficacy and confidence of the teachers to deliver better teaching. Thus, application of CALL in the classroom at tertiary colleges can be introduced in Bangladesh so that the students graduating from National University can be able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
[This article is an abridged version of a research paper published in the i-manager’s Journal of Educational Technology (JET)]
The writer is a BCS (General
Education) Cadre officer, 34th BCS and teaches English at Ishwardi Government College, Pabna, Bangladesh.