La Rivista per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento delle lingue

Demands for teachers who are teaching languages with ICT to adults

Timothy Phillips

Im Sprachen-Erwerb, wie in so vielen anderen Dingen, ist die Informations-Technologie das Gesicht der Gegenwart und der Zukunft. Doch um diese fachgerecht und effizient benützen zu können bedarf man einer fundierten Fachkompetenz sowie eines breiten Wissens über das „E-lernen“. Viele Lehrkräfte haben sich dieses noch nicht aneignen können. Die Schwall des Informationsflusses und das überreiche Angebot an Software macht das Leben der Lehrkräfte um einiges komplizierter, und sicher nicht, wie viel Leute meinen, einfacher.
Weiterbildungsprogramme für Lehrkräfte sowie Lehrgänge an den Universitäten müssen diesen Tatsachen Rechnung tragen, damit das Potential des „E-learning“ ausgeschöpft werden kann und die Lehrer und Lehrerinnen dieses Medium als wertvolles Hilfsmittel selbstsicher und gekonnt in der Lektionsplanung einsetzen können. (Red.)


To focus on the demands for teachers using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to adults assumes in itself that teachers have made the leap in their teaching approaches to include new media. I use the word “leap” advisedly, as for many “leap” it still is, and it is an ongoing role of educators, teacher trainers, and training providers to recognise the professional risks and personal anxieties that such a leap involves.
As far as the integration of ICT into their teaching is concerned, teachers are still very much left alone.
A web site, a highly integrated e-learning system, or a multi-layered CD-ROM enable learners to work on a multidimensional basis at any time in any place. The role of homework, extramural learning, and teaching support at a distance has taken on a new importance. Teachers are required to take a much more holistic view of course design, placing more emphasis on the learning time not spent in the classroom.
This article defines ICT to mean networked technologies: the internet, virtual classrooms, discussion groups, networked simulations, etc. The demands for teachers lie in the location-free, multidimensional, information-rich nature of these systems. Insecurities concerning use of softwares, their functionalities, navigation etc. are often waylaid through software-specific training sessions. The overall demand on teachers though is how to integrate the opportunities which ICT offers into an intelligent, interactive and fully integrated course.
Based on the time-line of technological development, these technologies are extremely new (effectively available to teachers and learners from 1998 onwards). Hence, our overall professional experience is limited. However, it is imperative at this early stage of development, that we as educationalists begin to reflect on and rationalise the demands facing teachers. In this way, principles can be defined and hence the relevance and quality of future teacher training courses can be secured and maintained.

Demand 1: Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management is a big phrase often associated with large document sharing systems in corporate environments. The demand on language teachers using ICT is equally as big and as imperative.
ICT has not replaced anything or anybody, it has however added immensely to the flow of information and knowledge. Teachers therefore need to exercise their own knowledge management across three areas: teaching content, learner data, and own professional development. In real terms this means that teachers need to be aware of existing and new internet-based resources for teaching materials, comprehend and manage learner data delivered to them by e-learning systems or Learning Management Systems, as well as develop themselves professionally through peer-group support resources (discussion groups). It is a myth to believe that from a teacher’s perspective ICT makes life easier! [...]

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