Due to the present situation of the Covid pandamic, Sukhothai Thammathirat University (STOU) has been unable to arrange the four-day and half trainning programmes for the last year students at the university. As being responsible for the 14423 Professional Experience in English course which is a requirement for the last year students to enrol in their last year before graduation, we have done something new. This course’s team of teachers has been trying to arrange online acitivites for students’ practices of their Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing English skills. The aim is to have students still carry on their course requirement and pass the course in compensation for the regular face-to-face training course. Therefore, the arrangement for conducting the online training programme is very challenging for all of us as the course team members.
STOU has selected Ms Teams as it is the university’s major media of instruction and all schools’ teachers are trained and encouraged to use it as the major platform for interacting with students at the present time. With the help from the technology division, as the course team leaders responsible for managing activities for the course of Professional Experience in English, the author has decided to plan the assignments to have students to study and practice English with their teachers through the use of Ms Teams. This is also included by the copies of all assignments which are directly posted on the course web sites. The copies of all assignments mailed to each of all students are expected to remind them to go online for an interaction with their peers and teachers according to the timetable provided. It seems there should not be any problems because all students in the B.A. (English programme) are familiar with studying and interacting with their peers and teachers through various web sites in several courses.
For teachers, however, the online teaching as well as managing students to practice online English skills seem to be the new things we need to plan for. This is especially for teaching the two weaker and often neglected English language skills: listening and speaking. As for the practice of reading and writing English language skills, it seems all right to assign students to post their assignment on the course web sites for grading by teachers. With the use of Ms Teams, the plan for practicing online English listening and speaking has been firstly drafted and finally we are able to gruadually proceed with our first online practice plan for this training course. With an application from Krajka’s (2006) work, the following activities are parts of the online lesson plan as the examples for practicing the English language listening and speaking skills for the group of 89 students who enrolled in the second semester of the 2021 academic year.
Activity 1: Discrimination of English sounds
Through the use of Ms Teams, students are divided into small groups of 4 students each and as part of the small group activities, they are assigned to first, collect radio broadcasts from different English-speaking countries over the internet. Then, they need to record a sound clip of some words or sentences they can pick up in each web site and practice pronouncing by comparing their own voice with the sound clip from those
web sites. Finally, the sound clip of each group must be posted on the course web site for grading by teachers.
As the internet is an ocean of information, our students somehow should be guided to know groups of web sites focusing on English language learning or the general English speaking web sites which can be used as an input for information for them. The following is an example of a list of web sites students are guided to visit.
• Australian Broadcasting Corporation (http://www.abc.net.au/);
• ·BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk);
• BBC World Service (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/);
• Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (http://www.cbc.ca/);
• National Public Radio (http://www.npr.org/);
• Shoutcast (http://www.shoutcast.com);
• Voice of America (http://www.voanews.com/english/portal.cfm);
• World Radio Network (http://www.wrn.org/audio.html).
Source: Krajka, J. (2006).
The objective of this assignment plan is to have students practice listening to a variety of English accents and dialect in native English-speaking countries. This is included by the accent or intonation of English speaking in different areas of the world.
Activity 2: Pronunciation Practice
For this assignment, the aim is to check whether students can use the pronunciation knowledge or theory they used to study in their Pronunciation Course. Accordingly, students are assigned to record a video clip of their pronunciation of some English words or sentences they selected. They should explain how they produce the sound in their mouth, the place of articulation in each word or sentence chosen. This is also aimed to have students apply the theory of pronunciation they have already learned to produce the real sound of each word or sentences. There are a number of web sites explaining sound systems in a variety of languages; below are examples of the web sites explaining the place of articulation of each English consonant or vowel. Also, it displays the articulation of English sounds in a mouth diagram, with video alongside recordings of sample words.
Figure 1: Example of an explanation of sound articulation (https://soundsofspeech.uiowa.edu)
Figure 2: Example of an illustration of the Anatomy while producing sound
The web-based lesson plan designed earlier is an example of the teachers in the field of English language teaching who have attempted to integrate the use of computer application with the teaching and learning of English both in the environment of classroom learners and distance learners. This is part of the concept in the field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) which has been developed and existed for more than 50 years abroad and about 40 years in Thailand. It seems necessary for most institutions everywhere around the world to set up online learning, and this can become the first experience for all during this time of the pandamic that face-to-face classroom learning is quite difficult. The author is confident that the CALL field will be successfully adapted to university students and a lot more schools in the country can also succeed in some levels.
Chapellel, C.A. (2001). Computer applications in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.
Krajka, J. (2007). English language teaching in the internet-assisted environment—issues in the use of the web as a teaching medium. Lublin: Maria Curie-Sklodowska University Press.
Krajka, J. (2006). Developing speaking skills in a Web-based environment. The Teacher 7(41) 2006, 8-16.
Associate Professor Dr. Narinthip Thongsri
School of Liberal Arts, Sukhothai
Thammathirat Open University, Thailand