The use of innovative approaches and technologies in the modernization of foreign language education

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016

Author: Zhubanova Sholpan, Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages, Kazakhstan

Innovation in education may simplify the process of training specialist and improve the quality of intellectually labor resources, which can easily be adapted to changeable conditions in professional spheres. Such specialist usually has a creative ability and is able to self-development. Moreover, he can work in the conditions of fast technological, innovative market development.

A pedagogical idea of Kazakhstani education system, as well as global one identifies the possibility of the usage of various strategies (techniques) and innovative technologies in the lesson for successful and effective results in gaining knowledge while learning foreign languages. Each strategy tends to be a very important in the teaching process, it is necessary to understand what is appropriate to use in the lesson.

The education system is undergoing significant changes associated with an active introduction of information and communication technologies in the educational process that likely give you the opportunity to prepare specialists that meet the needs of development and self - development in the new socio-cultural situation.

Higher education annually makes high demands to personal educational outcomes of the graduate, his or her qualifications for successful adaptation in the conditions of the market economy.

It may include:

• willingness to identify themselves with the outside world on the basis of critical analysis of information reflecting different points of view on the meaning and value of life;

• proficiency in the ratio of information received with the accepted social models, for example, moral and ethical standards, critical evaluation of information in mass media;

• ability to create and maintain a personalized information environment, to protect important information and personal information security, the development of a sense of personal responsibility for the quality of the surrounding information environment (Jusubalieva & Estemesova, 2016, p. 73-78).

Today, the process of informatization of society has become one of the most important global processes of modernization. Informatization as a consistent pattern is inevitable for any country and probably one of the conditions for successful socio-economic development of the country.

On the one hand, the use of ICT in educational processes may save the time in the classroom, to activate and motivate cognitive activity of students; provides the opportunity to form communicative, professional and information competence, so students usually become active participants in the educational process.

On the other hand, information and communication technologies have become indispensable for modern education, because it can promote the increase of informative interest, development of skills of independent work, search, analysis of objects and phenomena, to identify sources of information, encourages responsibility in obtaining new knowledge and developing information culture of individual.

The main objectives of learning (using ICT) are the formation and development of a wide range of ideas, knowledge, and skills, in other words, professional competences. To successfully achieve these objectives, the learning process should be based on the following principles:

• focus;

• scientific character, systematic character, sequence;

• consciousness and activity of students;

• visibility;

• strength;

• availability;

• accounting in education of individual and age peculiarities of students;

• collective nature of learning;

• the choice of optimal forms, means and methods.

Because of this, ICT allows teaching in new ways: explain, demonstrate, monitor and especially supervise learners in various adapted manners. It also allows learning differently by appropriating the knowledge, in an individualized, interactive, cooperative, collective way by treating information in the time and in the space, by reducing the distance and by changing the presence, according to new exciting modalities of education.

Generally, ICT consists of 3 important components:

• Equipment (computers + equipment of networking);

• Digital resources (online services, software, applications, computing contents, authors program, platform, sites, electronic libraries);

• Networks (Intranet, Internet: communication cooperation, educational exchanges of information, organization of program, management of education content).

Eberhard Heuel (1999) suggests four qualities of ICT that are important in learning processes:

- Multimedia qualities;

- Interactivity;

- Hypermedia;

- Ubiquity.

Actually, ICT can motivate the learner to search for information. Electronic educational resources, new information technologies, various tools and teaching methods can be any kind of tools, solutions, mini-labs, mini-collections and suggests a variety of studies and experiments that are impossible in conventional traditional lessons. The ideology of the individual project and group work should play a significant role in the educational space of each student in his growth and development (Nurgaliyeva & Kadyrova, 2000, p.17-18)

Bibeau (2004) introduces seven categories of educational projects with the use of ICT that can use in every lesson:

1) TV-correspondence (teleconference, virtual class);

2) Edition (Publishing) and publication (build a website, publish a newspaper, and produce an online radio or television program);

3) Search and documentary management (retrieval system, orientation and choice of career, entrepreneurial);

4) Collection, information sharing (mutualization of the information, virtual collaboration;

5) Problem solving, cyber collection, virtual laboratory;

6) Learning and distance training;

7) Thematic and transdisciplinary projects.

The introductions of educational information resources tend to be one of directions of modernization of foreign education. They do not change the ways of acquiring knowledge and skills, but also the traditional forms of relations between trainers and trainees, i.e. the form of the educational process and educational environment. Most vivid examples of information resources in the Internet may include the following:

• information web resources in a particular subject, field of work;

• network and social services, email newsletters;

• blogs and forums;

• resources of electronic libraries and databases, etc.

Besides, the teacher should educate a student to focus on self-development with the help of electronic educational resources. The educational process requires competent trainer-developer, creative teacher, who is able to use personal electronic learning tools in the correlation of traditional teaching.

Modern e-learning tools such as electronic textbooks, training programs, simulators or testing programs have the important features:

• adaptation of training material to the specific learning needs and abilities of students;

• interactive, multimedia resources;

• informative, scientific, feasibility;

• the ability to network usage and other.

On a more positive tack, a systematic use of electronic multimedia textbooks in the educational process in combination with traditional teaching methods and pedagogical innovation significantly increases the efficiency of teaching students with different levels of training (Nurgaliyeva & Kadyrova, 2000, p.17)

The use of computers and electronic educational resources in the classroom allows you to make the learning process attractive and truly modern, to individualize learning, objectively and in a timely manner to control and summarizing. Developing effect depends on the design of the program, its availability to students, matching his level of development and interest.

According to Nurgaliyeva (2000), the education is directly linked with the use of digital educational content: electronic textbooks, multimedia learning programs and digital educational resources. So, it may give the student not only theoretical material, but also the opportunity to see a video lecture, to check their knowledge through the interactive testing system.

Modern electronic textbook enables to conduct any laboratory or practical class in virtual mode, with interactive control of parameter changes. (Nurgaliyeva, 2005).

Moreover, Nurgaliyeva (2005) points out in her research, “Electronic textbooks occupy an increasing place in our lives. Today, there is an active process of creation of electronic textbooks in hypertext form and their implementation in the educational process”. In some cases, the electronic book also called a tutorial, because it may design for independent learning. Illustrative electronic textbook consist of text, graphics, audio and video information, unlike a traditional textbook, that allows for individualized learning. Unlike a traditional textbook, it can involve young people much more successfully than traditional ones.

In fact, electronic educational resource (EER) of a new generation is an interactive multimedia product that may suggest a variety of interactive exercises, types of grammar and lexical tests, range of vocabulary, topic-related texts and many other options, that can be easily checked for errors and may include time management. In addition, EER has wide possibilities for individual approaches in educational process.

Furthermore, a good e-learning resource should include the following new pedagogical tools:

• interactivity (gives the opportunity to receive responses on the realistic representation of objects and processes);

• multimedia (provides a realistic representation of objects and processes);

• modeling (simulation with audio-visual aids that may change the form, qualities and processes);

• communication (direct contact, prompt reporting, remote condition monitoring process, online communication with remote users, when performing collective tasks)

• user productivity (search operations of the necessary information, creative components, the effectiveness of training activities) (Nurgaliyeva, 2005).

The application of EER in educational process may increase the efficiency of teaching forms in the lesson through:

• explaining the material to his own presentation, with the use of movies, paintings, drawings, diagrams, other media objects and animations.

• using interactive, innovative methods of teaching: training mini-project, rational information search on the Internet, use of EER materials to confirm proposed educational and scientific hypotheses (Serbin, 2010; Zakharova & Zakharova, 2011, p. 85).

Informatization has a great impact on foreign language education too. The concept of foreign language education development of the Republic of Kazakhstan defines as the formation of specialists in foreign language in accordance with the European level system of foreign language proficiency.

In these circumstances, Kunanbaeva (2005) points out that one of the main directions of improvement teachers approaches is "the mastery of modern methods, such as information and computer-based technologies in foreign language teaching".

Kazakhstani, Russian and foreign scientists have conducted numerous studies in the field of Informatization, use of ICT in education, development of e-textbooks and digital educational resources for different specialties.

The researchers determine the process of teaching foreign languages with the use of ICT as a new, integrative process, characterized by the actualization of a meaningful significant components and operations due to the applied progressive teaching methods and approaches. These approaches may lead to strengthening the effectiveness using multimedia teaching materials as the highest form of clarity, suggesting the multi-touch response from the students and promotes better learning/knowledge. In addition, the interactive nature of ICT allows for constant interaction between participants of educational processes, which is extremely important in foreign language education, which forms a language, communication and speech skills.

Other important strategies in the learning process, which also motivate students to study foreign language is a dialogic teaching and group work.

Dialogic teaching is one of the most essential problems in the modern pedagogical science. To confirm this, there are many research articles, manuals of such scientists as N. Mercer (2012), L.S. Vygotsky (1978) and R.J. Aleksander (2004). This problem requires new ways of finding more rational strategy of dialogic teaching, in which practical results will be achieved in a short period, with minimal time and efforts, and the process of teaching will be interesting and amazing for learners.

Another way of teaching is a group work. Group work allows students of higher education actively be involved in creative research activity, it also allows group members to find answers on the discussed problem and finally to come to general conclusions. However, the task of a group work is to exchange opinions, solve the problem through discussing and define the outcomes in-group. There are different theories, based on necessity of the usage group work in lessons. The physiologist, philosopher Gizela Konopka (1963) in the research claimed, “Social group work is one of the methods of social work, which allows to every individual to raise his meaning in society through the experience of the aimed group and allows more effectively overcoming personnel, group and social problems”. The same opinion keeps the lecturer of the university Bristol, Brown (1992), “Group work creates context, in which individuals help each other, and it is a method of mutual assistance that allows to group and individuals to influence or change personnel, group, organizational and social problems”. The research works of Smith (2008) and Shulman (1999) has also influenced on the theory of investigating a group work.

Moreover, you should not forget that dialogic teaching and group work are the most effective approaches if you use them within critical thinking of the learners. This approach makes learners to think, to access, to analyze and to choose information, getting the result of observation, skills, thinking and discussion, that in further can be the base to do the actions.

Firstly, the ideas of development of critical thinking were introduced by Dewey (1999) on educational system in the USA in terms of conception of reflective thinking, then were realized into pedagogical process as “Critical thinking” by Lipman (1991). The most known theorists of critical thinking are Paul (2010), Klooster (2001, p. 36), Halpern (2003), Stancato (2000) who define critical thinking as the construction of ideas about the truth of the statements or answers in solving problem. According to Stancato (2000), “critical thinking is a type of defining values, ideas, process without an opportunity for individual decisions. Fundamental to critical thinking is to be open to contradictions and to opposing opinions. Without contradiction, it is impossible to gain knowledge and furthermore, a lack of contradiction reflects self-satisfaction and lack of realistic alternatives to the existing circumstances”.

The popular method of critical thinking includes three stages. There is “Challenge-Comprehension-Reflection”. These three stages allow:

- to actualize and generalize present knowledge of the learner about given theme or problem;

- to make provocative interest to the given theme, to motivate the learner to educational activity;

- to motivate the learner to active work in the lesson and activity at home;

- to get new information;

- to comprehend and generalize given information;

- to acquire new knowledge and information by the learner;

- to form own attitude to the given material.

Nevertheless, how is it possible to adopt these skills of critical thinking to learning processes? There are various approaches and methods of the usage of critical thinking in the lesson: cluster, insert, brainstorming, prediction tree, diaries and journals, thick and thin questions, traffic light, zigzag discussion, fishbone, six hats, bloom chamomile, the basket of ideas, explanations and names, sink vein, essay writing, association method and task with notes.

Every planned lesson should include elements and even approaches of critical thinking, through setting of goals and tasks, creating problem tasks to the topic, interpretation and generalization on the given problem, introducing concepts (theories, models, principles), usage of critical thinking skills in the lesson, defining barriers and difficulties, and come to the definite opinion. Indeed, more effective and successful ways of teaching critical thinking is the usage of different strategies, not repeating techniques that are known to everyone and often used in the lesson. Methods may use in accordance with the plan and theme of the lesson, providing different exercises for effective perception of the lesson theme and memory training, sharing time for the usage of Information Communication Technologies in the lesson, which will assist consolidating the topic and analyzing the information through visual aids.

In fact, there are many various approaches in educational process, which were mentioned above, but there is no definite concept and strategies how to define gifted and talented students among other learners. In this case, you need to use techniques, based on research, i.e. dialogic forms of teaching, case study, debates, projects and intellectual tasks. However, there are some barriers in the usage of these techniques: lack of time, lack of infrastructure and psychological stereotypes. To define gifted student is not as easy as it seems, you need special pedagogical intuition (parent or teacher talent), or professional psychological training. Gifted and talented students able to do all tasks faster than other learners, able to explain opinions about the task clearly and are differ from others by a wide range of interests and by expressing their own leadership skills creatively.

Gagné (2008) provides research-based definitions of giftedness and talent that are directly and logically connected to teaching and learning. According to Gagné, gifted students are those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains of human ability:

- intellectual;

- creative;

- social;

- physical.

Gagné’s model recognizes that giftedness is a broad concept that encompasses a range of abilities; it also recognizes that giftedness is only potential and that it must go through a transformative process in order to become a talent. As such, Gagné makes it clear that adequate school support is necessary if students are to develop their gifts or high abilities into talents or high achievements.

Another important issue, that should be clearly work out in the lesson is how to define students, who understood the theme of the lesson? Feedback gives us an image how the learning process goes on, it informs us about achievements and knowledge gap of every student, it gives atmosphere of self-respect and hospitability, it gives time to students to answer correctly, to change the way of thinking and correct their mistakes, it provides the success of teaching.

Practice shows, working out criteria, make the process of assessment open and understandable for everybody:

- correct criteria of assessment allows understanding of material more deeply;

- criteria demonstrate to learner, how they will be accessed and what is expected.

The usage of formative assessment is a base of effective teaching; it can be a strong instrument for improving learning processes. Formative assessment is essential part of interactive teaching, in which:

- adoption of the culture of mutual discussion in classes;

- development of skills of critical and creative thinking;

- formation of the environment, encourages learners’ questions;

- support of learners’ confidence, when student will be able to improve his/her result.

The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning, to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. More specifically, formative assessments:

- help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work;

- help faculty to recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately.

Formative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have little or no point value. Examples of formative assessments include asking students to:

- draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic;

- submit one or two sentences identifying the main point of a lecture;

- turn in a research proposal for early feedback.

However, summative assessment evaluates students learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.

Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include:

- a midterm exam;

- a final project;

- a paper;

- a senior recital.

Information from summative assessments can be used formatively when students or faculty use it to guide their efforts and activities in subsequent courses (Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation, 2015).

Therefore, innovation significantly enrich foreign language education by the use of innovative approaches, methods, methodology, information communication technologies and multimedia resources. Modern education creates optimal conditions for cognitive activity that “helps to create a personality of a new type, active, purposeful, directed on constant self-education and development” (Lomonosova, 2016).


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016

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