Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Media Critique

With the high development of the modern society, educational teaching approaches are no longer instructor-as-authority-and-expert pattern. Technology-supported instruction has been widely introduced and accepted in today’s classrooms. Especially in the field of second and foreign language education, digital media, such as Internet, play an important role in the learning process. As both a life-long language learner and a student major in foreign language education, I strongly advocate for the Internet as a more motivational and effective way to study foreign language under the guidance of a teacher.
First, by adding sight and sound to the boring knowledge and facts, Internet has led a great revolution in the way of learning. Compared with the traditional way, surfing the Internet holds its own advantages. For instance, with the help of this new digital tool, teachers are not merely transmitters and students are not only recipients. Instead, teachers can let students choose their favorite movies and then assign them some films that related to the lesson they learned recently. Therefore, students will not only have a better idea how to use the language in a communicative setting but also will broaden their horizons. Through this kind of high-interest instructional strategy, students will devote themselves into this new engaging learning process.
Moreover, unlike printed books, an Internet -based learning environment will satisfy adolescent’s diverse learning levels and needs. Teachers can guide different level learners to use different online sources to improve their language study. For example, teachers can choose some target language songs for novices to arouse their study interests. And for intermediate level students, teachers can recommend to them some good foreign websites and let them read updated articles and listen news report with subtitles. What is more, students can even download movies that have bilingual subtitle so that students will have a better understanding of culture and be able to know how to use slang and master the standard foreign language in a pleasant atmosphere. As for the advanced learners, educators can suggest they search more sophisticated topics, such as presidential debates and dramas in order to let learners have a deep look at the politics of the foreign countries and analyze their literacy.
However, despite the internet's advantages for gaining information and knowledge, there are also flaws. Sometimes, students passively accept all sound bites, masses of advertisement, and fragments of information etc when surfing the Internet. For instance, instead of in-depth knowledge, what students get is only popular culture which can be easily appreciated by the majority. The completeness and depth of information have to submit to the entertaining and intricate plot. That’s why it is also teachers’ responsibility to organize group discussions in class and let students write short response paper for the purpose of thinking carefully, and generating their own ideas, approaching the real essence of learning---critical thinking and creation.
To sum up, powerful technology such as Internet can enhance largely students’ learning ability and help them effectively gain knowledge under the appropriate teachers’ guidance. Nevertheless, reading textbooks cannot be completely replaced by Internet and still occupies its dominant position as a way of learning. In the final analysis, the best approach of learning is to be informed by Internet and be enlightened by books.

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