‘How to learn English quickly?’; this is one of the most popular queries on Google search, especially in the Indian region. This reflects despite having schooled in an English medium, some students struggle to speak fluent English throughout their life. Some even invest exorbitant amounts of money in coaching institutes that claim to teach English in just a week or month. This reflects the need for English Language Lab in Indian schools and colleges.
This happens because of the inadequate curriculum of Indian education institutes and lack of attention given to learning a foreign language. The curriculum doesn’t stress much teaching English to the students as their second language. Thus, the student despite being schooled in an English medium institute struggles to speak English fluently throughout his life.
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Even though reading books, watching English movies help a great deal in improving English, but that isn’t the correct approach to address the issue. A foreign language should be imbibed in the system right from the initial phase. This means we have to follow a different and result-oriented approach to tackle language issues in schools.
To handle this situation, English Language Lab in Indian Schools came into play. English Language Lab is a one-stop solution to tackle the language barrier among Indian students.
What is an English Language Lab?
According to Wikipedia, an English Language Lab is a combination of hardware and software to make English language lessons less tedious and more wholesome for students. In this setup, students can learn English with the help of audio-visual course material. It not only builds students’ vocabulary but also corrects their pace of speech, removes mother tongue influence and teaches them the correct pronunciation of words.
Language Labs were widely used in educational institutes in the United States for 20 years after the World War. Now they are popularly known as self-access language learning centers since students can obtain Foreign Language Lessons on their own, assess themselves and learn at their own pace.
Structure of English Language Lab
A traditional English Language Lab in Indian Schools consists of a trainer PC along with several other students PC in which the trainer’s PC is networked to other PC to assess their lessons, assign them tests and monitor their growth. The students and instructors are also assigned with headphones and microphones to communicate and also interact with each other and also perform the assessments using the audio/visual content.
Importance of English Language
Though nothing sounds better than our mother tongue, the importance of English Language cannot be mitigated. In corporate culture, one needs to have a good command over English to communicate his ideas and excel in life. Having a rich vocabulary of English and fluency give the person confidence to convey his ideas and open doors to millions of new avenues in his life.
A person’s career trajectory, if not defined, is determined heavily by the language he speaks. Thus, the English Language serves as a platform to rise and evolve in your professional life. Therefore, absorbing English into your system like your second language is the need of the hour.
How to learn to speak English efficiently?
When it comes to teaching English, the onus lies with the educational institutes. Apart from appointing an educated English teacher is not enough to ensure that students develop a hold over a language. An institute can make infrastructural arrangements to set up a good, adequate English language lab for its learners.
Aside, the students can also keep up with their personal practice to stay in touch with the language. Remember, classroom training is important but it’s not the only thing that can adopt English as your second language. Self-practice and assessment are as important as classroom lessons.
You can read classic English books and mark down the difficult words. Find the meaning and maintain a journal of new words you learned. Try to manifest the words in your regular conversations. This way, you can develop a vast vocabulary in English which will play right into your favour.
Benefits of English Language Lab
English Language Labs are becoming increasingly popular among the students as studying only the books and theories are no guarantees of successful language learning. With the traditional methods, the students might score well in the examinations but their practical knowledge may not develop accordingly. There is more than just one advantage of having an English Language Lab in the schools, colleges and training rooms.
- Language Lab gives a practical outlook of a language
Learning a new language is just like exploring a new culture. Thus, to explore something new one needs to experience it in real-time. For this, the books and curriculum might fall short. English Language Lab teaches English in an interactive way to acquire the four major skills of learning a foreign language: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Students can explore their learning capabilities more comprehensively through a language lab than the traditional pen and paper method.
- Increased pace of learning
Absorbing a concept through the traditional pedagogical method can take time. On the other hand, practicing the new words, pace and pronunciation on the English Language Lab software make them learn the language faster. In the places where English Language Labs have been installed, students have achieved higher level of understanding of English Language and greater retention.
- It increases teacher’s participation in students’ growth
Contrary to popular belief that a Language Lab facilitates the work of a teacher and thus reduces their role in student’s growth, it actually increases their participation. With the help of an English Language Lab, the teachers can focus on more important parts of the curriculum instead of wasting time writing notes on the board or reading out the course material to the students.
- Use resources and tools for advantage
English Language Lab allows students and teachers to access unlimited resources and tools from the apparatus which otherwise lack in case of traditional blackboard and book setup. With the help of these preset activities and exercise, learning takes place in a more structured manner. The visually attractive content engages the students and promotes language use actively. Even at home, students can watch videos, listen to audiobooks and practice the pronunciation with the microphone to learn new words.
- Language Lab nurtures diversity in classroom
Every student doesn’t learn in a similar pace and manner. Some might be slower than others. In a traditional setup, shy students tend to remain silent on their doubts and problems due to hesitation. This is not the case with the English Language Lab. The teacher can monitor the growth of each student separately without letting other students know. This way she can divide her attention accordingly while letting the shy students learn.
- Language Lab initiates a dialogue in classroom
As we have mentioned above, learning a language cannot be confined to just pen and paper. Practical manifestation of the language is equally important. With the help of the Language Lab, the teacher can encourage students to have a conversation or a debate in English. With the help of microphone and headphones, she can monitor each student’s command on English individually and access the further course of action.
- Cost-saving and environment-friendly
This might sound a bit strange to you but the English Language Lab actually saves money. Yes, your electricity bill might go up a little but the cost of paper, chalk and other stationery will go down. This way, you can reduce your institution's reliance on paper and go green in your teaching methods.
English Language Lab in Indian Schools is no longer a new phenomenon in India. There are many schools that have readily invested in Language Lab solutions for their students. In terms of brands, Dexaway, Orell, Sanako, Globus Infocom, EduComp are some of the most reliable and cost-effective ones that deal in the Language Lab software. However, Globus Infocom provides not only the software but sets up the entire language lab for the school and college. In short, it transforms an unoccupied, empty room into a full-fledged language lab. It provides everything right from air conditioner, student and teacher PC to a digital teaching system.