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News > Practice> Languages with Technology: A Teacher’s View

 

Languages with Technology: A Teacher’s View
Author: Barbara Dieu

Is it easy to integrate technology into language teaching? Barbara Dieu is Coordinator of the Foreign Language Department at Lycée Pasteur, a French secondary school in São Paulo, Brazil. She is teaching English as a foreign language, and sums up her experience.

Every time I look at what the kids around me are doing, the people I have met, the interest and energy everyone puts into the projects that were completed or are being carried out, I feel a wave of excitement and a sense of accomplishment. I would have never imagined that after twenty-seven years of teaching I would have so much fun and satisfaction - both as a learner and as a teacher.

Becoming acquainted with this new technology, the problems I faced and what I learned about using it productively and effectively is what I would like to share with anybody who feels unsure about it or thinks it is not worth the trouble.

No Easy Recipe

There are no quick or foolproof recipes since each experience is unique and the people involved are different. However, I believe that reading what others have done, adapting it to your situation, asking around, looking for information, being curious, listening, accepting the fact that students and other people have something to say can teach you a lot.

Planning, taking some risks and reflecting on what you have done makes your grey cells more agile and puts you in contact with a world of knowledge, new opportunities and adventure which you, with your work, help others participate in.

Unfortunately, I have not yet found a way to make money with it - so if you have any clues, share them! They are more than welcome.

An Ongoing Project: This Is Our Time

Way back in 1999 we got an invitation to participate in 'This is Our Time'. I accepted it gladly as it encompasses many areas, offers many activities and can be easily used in many disciplines. The participation and outcome can be seen on our websites. It started timidly for us and it gained force as more and more teachers and students became involved locally and world-wide.

Last year, at school, we joined two projects around the same theme and worked together with very positive results. 2001 is the third year we are in it and we have become a home base for French- speaking countries... a challenge we hope to meet successfully!

Slow Change

From my point of view, there is still much to be done. Technically, the equipment and time online are still very expensive. Structurally, change comes slowly and sometimes painfully so it has to be integrated into the system judiciously in order not to hurt sensibilities or discourage people.

Events like eSchola week are very important to raise awareness, tickle our imaginations, provide a context and a meeting place for the whole teaching and learning community. Locally, schools must consider essential steps like teacher training, teamwork and allowing the means (time and money) for teachers to talk about their experience and plan together.

On a personal level, I believe the basics a teacher cannot do without nowadays are: an open mind and the commitment to learn and share.

Feel free to e-mail me if you'd like further explanation or have any comments: bwjdieu@hipernet.com.br

The full article (with illustrations and description of various other completed projects online) and lesson plans can be found on my site, The English Department, at: http://the_english_dept.tripod.com/article.html

This Is Our Time
http://www.timeproject.org/

eSchola
http://eschola.eun.org

Información:
Información: Barbara Dieu
Web Editor: Tom Daly
Published : Friday, 7 Sep 2001
Last changed : Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001
Other languages: de fr
Keywords : People / User, News article, Technology, Languages, Brazil ,News article