Currently, internet is the best source of resources for students learning EFL (English as a Foreign Language). It is felt that English language internet sources, should be incorporated into EFL instruction due to their real world relevance, genuine interests and ready to use language. According to Byram, et al 1994, Students who learn EFL (English as a Foreign Language) have spent many years on textbooks still finish their classes with a lack of schematic knowledge of the real English speaking people. Examples of helpful reliable materials, particularly website resources, as well as matching learner centered activities, are proposed for instructional use. If English, is taught in socio-cultural context, can offer learners with improved English proficiency and the expansion of rational horizons and the growth of intercultural competence (Byram, et al 1994).
Teaching of culture is a very important part of teaching of language, although how it is supposed to be done remains contentious. To counter the shortcomings of the accurate transmission perception in teaching of culture, the inter-cultural contrastive approach was then adopted by language teachers. Drawing upon inter-cultural anthropology and psychology, this approach included culture within an interpretive structure and promoted the connection between the target country and one’s own. Learners are usually advised to compare and contrast the familiarities and differences between target cultures and their own culture.
The dissimilar approach was criticized as well. Educators discovered that the approach could oversimplifying the variety and richness of a culture by reducing it to a small number of significant principles. It might have also distorted a culture and over sensitize language students to inter-cultural differences. Overlooking personal variations was another difficulty of the dissimilar approach. When learners focused on finding the alike and unlike elements between the other culture and their own, they might have failed to notice the personal variations within each culture. Byram, et al 1994 argues that in 1980s, the significance of culture in the foreign language syllabus was necessitated by the surfacing of the outgoing approach. As a result of the belief that communication is more than exchange of information, students were encouraged to assume the role of the foreigners so that they could learn the meanings and values of the new culture. Then again, with an increase of knowledge of the diversity and variety of the aimed culture societies, researchers warned that within the communicative competence structure, learning a foreign language could lead to erosion of learner’s culture. The massive portrayal of native speakers’ language and culture could not show the reality of English as a worldwide language.
The refutation of modeling after native speakers for cultural learning turned the education of foreign culture into a new direction. Communication situations are today viewed as encounters between the student’s culture and that of the other. Of late, the term "intercultural competence" has been used in articles and books dealing with the cultural aspect of foreign language education to show the goal towards which learners who would like to communicate across diverse cultures should work. The use of the phrase "intercultural" shows the view that foreign language learners need to have insight both into the foreign culture and their own culture, and also realize the cohesion of cultures that normally happens in communication situations in the new language. Students should first familiarize themselves with what it means to be part of their culture and by exploring their culture before they are comfortable to have an insight on the expectations, values, and traditions of others.
Each language comes with a range of culturally exact concepts and expressions and also contextually aggravated usages that belong to the sphere of pragmatics, i.e. language in actual use. Its native speakers share an internal conceptualizing capability for these usages. But its students, even the advanced ones that have the ability to produce correct grammatical forms and lexical objects, could fail to understand messages that have culturally specific ideas and expressions correctly. Misunderstandings and communication failure are mostly caused by inter cultural discursive variations, as the realistic norms between the native speakers of a language and its students can vary substantially (Byram, et al 1994).
Teaching culture is obviously not an easy task for foreign language tutors. While searching for correct approaches, foreign language educators have been looking at information technology for help in conveying cultural lessons. In a lot of ways, CALL package software and culture are naturally connected. Some researchers affirm that it is not easy to separate cultural issues from a CALL package software plan. For a long time, CALL package software experts have made efforts to explore the ability of computer technology in aiding culture teaching. Exploration of computer technology for teaching culture has undergone several phases. In the initial stage, a lot of computer aided language learning software was made with the purpose of teaching language and also culture. Incidentally, multimedia CALL package software design and development has produced software that included many cultural errors and misrepresentations and thus challenged the aim of providing students with a culturally genuine CALL package software experience. Due to content isolation and the adaptation of software in many languages, students were provided an ethnocentric world view. Learners could only learn terminologies from one culture since the culturally generic software paid no attention to the cultural diversity associated with certain topics (Byram, et al 1994).
In order To compensate for commercial software’s failure to provide assistance in the culture teaching and to take advantage of the technological developments, CALL package software for teaching culture then began the use of computer networks. Computer networks are perceived as a means for interactivity and dependability and for rising language learners’ inter-cultural capability. Online interactive courses has been designed to enhance the cultural understanding of foreign language learners
Latest development in using information technology to the teaching of language and culture has been its incorporation with mass linguistics. Researchers say that the uses of corpora are in theory warranted and potentially are virtually profitable to raise learners’ language skills and add their knowledge of the culture. With the ability to access text stores provided by computers and also the Internet, it is now economically and technically feasible for many language educators and students to exploit the advantages that corpora and corpora based activities provides. They used Key Word in Context concordances of two corpora to investigate the ways in which words were used in the United States and England. They then grouped the distinctions which were statistically important into fifteen large categories. The frequencies of ideas in these categories exposed differences between the two states which were mainly cultural, not linguistic (Brown, et al 2004).
An evaluation of the application of information technology to culture teaching shows that with its adaptability and development, computer networks, computer software, corpora and corpora based tools, through a variety of ways, can all play a role in aiding the growth of students’ intercultural capability. Although incorporating computers and corpora linguistics to foster students’ intercultural capability is still a developing approach, it has showed encouraging results and indeed deserves more improvement.
Byram, M., & Morgan, C. (1994). Teaching and learning language and culture. Clevedon, UK:Multilingual Matters
Brown A. & Davis N.E. (Eds.) (2004). Digital technology, communities and education. World Yearbook in Education 2004. London: Routledge
Evaluation is what you need!
If you do not have enough information to complete an essay or dissertation, send us the basic guidelines and we will do the rest.