Given the flexibility and mobility that new online language-learning tools afford, it may be no surprise that e-Learning earned a spot on TESOL President Deena Boraie’s list of eight current trends in ESL/EFL. Beyond this obvious correlation between technology and the evolution of the ESL classroom, however, we found that a number of the other trends she highlighted go hand in hand with recent advancements in language-learning technology.
Trend: Changing View of an English Teacher
Dr. Boraie points out that it’s becoming more widely recognized that being a great English teacher takes more than simply speaking the language fluently. Effective teachers must also be skilled practitioners in linguistics, teaching, and intercultural communication.
Thankfully, language instructors today have access to more valuable teaching resources than ever before. Online language-learning solutions like the Rosetta Stone® Language Learning Suite for Higher Education allow teachers to augment lessons with interactive learning activities in and out of the classroom, and features such as ongoing feedback on student performance enable instructors to tailor their lesson plans to the needs of their students.
Trend: Change in Teaching Content and Test Design
Technology affords language instructors a sea of new material in a wide range of formats that can be used to enrich lesson plans and keep students engaged. Resources such as the Rosetta Stone Language Learning Suite for Education curate content for instructors, pulling together a variety of videos, texts, activities, music, and more, that have been carefully selected by linguistic experts.
The Language Learning Suite for Education also features tests that identify students’ precise levels of ability and provide customized work programs for their individual needs. As mentioned, online progress tests also offer students and instructors instant feedback, allowing both to make adjustments throughout the course.
Trend: Strategic Teaching and Learning
Dr. Boraie states that “teaching in English language classes focuses on fostering student thinking as well as language content, outcomes, and learning activities.” To help foster student thinking, she highlights the significance of student-teacher interactions, as well as creative teaching methods and activities that keep the new generation of learners
Recently, a number of teachers have been experimenting with “flipped classrooms”, in which ESL students learn vocabulary and grammar at their own pace using online tools and instruction, while class time is devoted to personalized assistance with speaking or clarifying difficult points. Others offer students the chance to interact and practice their language skills with other English language learners and native speakers through games and activities in online arenas, such as the Rosetta Stone online language-learning community.