As research has diverted from a principal focus on the teacher to an expanded focus on the learner, the quest to discover what generates effective language learners’ success is under investigation. Research and theory indicate that successful language learners are highly motivated, self-directed, and use language learning strategies. While each of these tenets characterize successful learners, the latter, using language learning strategies, is of particular importance, not only because strategies play a key role in improving learners’ academic accomplishments, but because successful application of these strategies act as the propelling force behind learners’ motivation and self-direction.
Research suggests that an effective method to employ in accomplishing these objectives is the use of Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) software. CALL refers to the use of computer technology in the instruction and learning of a second or foreign language. The nature of individualized student-to-computer interaction promotes self-directed learning while providing an effective learning environment that increases learners' motivation to use strategies.
Because the teaching and learning of language learning strategies receives much attention in ESL/EFL classrooms, the use of CALL to promote strategy instruction in such environments has become quite popular. The internet is a commonly-used resource to locate CALL programs to teach and learn ESL/EFL. Other online resources have abundantly surfaced as well which offer free media and other materials to teach or learn English.
One such website recently launched by Reading Horizons provides free resources to learn strategies that improve reading, spelling, and pronouncing English. The company specializes in literacy development, including ESL reading programs. Some of the free ESL teaching resources offered on their website include workbook pages, computer lessons, online teacher training, and learning activities.
Technology provides a world of opportunities for teaching and learning ESOL. We just have to be willing to access the resources available to us!