Gone are the days when an ESL teacher would stand at the front of the classroom with a stack of flash cards asking students to repeat words. These days everything is about technology and it’s important for teachers to think about ways to integrate technology into ESL instruction.
If students have access to computers, either at home or in the classroom, then they can greatly enhance their ESL learning.
Here are just a few ways that you can use technology to help ESL learning:
Games. Young learners in particular enjoy playing computer games. This is a great way for them to practice their English while having fun. New learners do well with preschool-age programs that teach simple concepts like colors, shapes, and the ABCs. More advance students enjoy word games. Make sure that you choose games that reinforce English.
Practice drills and tests. Students that are older often have to take English proficiency exams. Computer programs can be an excellent way for them to practice these questions and get comfortable with the format of the test.
Videos and listening programs. A number of websites allow students to watch videos. Whether these are specifically made for English learners, or television shows that are popular, students can easily practice their listening skills. These are also a great way to teach slang phrases and pop cultural reference, which older students are always excited about learning.
Penpals. With internet access, you can find a site that matches penpals. Students enjoy interacting with others their age from around the world. Try to find another teacher in an English speaking country that wants to set up an exchange. That’s the safest way to start this type of program.
Of course, there’s no substitute for vocabulary learning and conversation practice, but when you integrate technology into ESL instruction, you expand the number of ways that students can learn and practice their English.