Improving Electronic Laboratory Study in English as a Second Language Programs
IALLT Journal of Language Learning Technologies
With or without electronic language laboratories, Americans seem convincedthat they cannot learn foreign languages. Foreigners do not seem to share thispeculiarly American phobia. They not only think they can learn English, but they alsoare responsible for the growing number of university-sponsored English as a Secondlanguage (ESL) programs. Since many ESL programs have a required lab component,a case-study approach to one such lab requirement could give valuable insight intothe effectiveness
... mandatory ESllaboratory study and ways to improve it.Seventy-five ESL students in five levels were observed during required lab studyunder three conditions: (1) working independently with commercial ESL audio tapeprograms; (2) working independently with lab-specific audio tape programs, namelyexercises with instructions tailored to the electronic labs being used; and (3)lab-specific tape programs in a controlled lab environment, that is, an instructor atthe console monitoring and correcting students.The results clearly suggest that maximum improvement in lab study effectivenessoccurs in a controlled lab environment, namely with an instructor at the console--aninstructor who works actively with the students, monitors their progress, and correctstheir mistakes.