Department of English &Literary Studies,
College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Benue State
This article advocates for the introduction of Technology Enhanced Language Learning Education (TELLE) through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as the modern form of global interaction in teaching Tiv language in schools in Benue State to eradicate the traditional ways of teaching. It highlights the ways, gains and roles of ICT, and suggests the stand-alone, intelligent-tutoring, web-based learning systems, inter alia, as some of the strategies of teaching Tiv language. It explores the envisaged challenges and proffers solutions. The article concludes that the introduction of TELLE and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in teaching Tiv language is imperative in order to maintain pace with global changes.
Technological development in this century through globalization has broken socio-political, economic and educational barriers between countries. Facilitated by Information and Communication Technology (ICT), it has spread to all facets of life, and like an epidemic or a new world order, all fields of life are infected and are joining to eradicate the old order into a more modern and efficient operations.
ICT has been accepted as a model in the contemporary world among industrialized societies (Olalube cited by Anyacho & Anyacho, 2013). All societies are bracing up to meet with the new challenges that enhance positive development in not only technological, social, political and economic transformation, but also in education to meet up with global standards.
In order to modernise our educational system, we must introduce, improve and develop our learning methods which are readily offered by the development in ICT. There is need to develop digital practice and internet facilities in teaching Tiv language. This will maintain the status, preserve and develop the language.
There are diverse methods of teaching and learning languages either at home or in a classroom. Such methods as the Grammar Translation, Natural, Comprehensive, Audio, Visual, exposure of learners to native speakers, the eclectic, etc. are presently used. This article stresses that these methods need to be improved upon to offer Tiv language teachers and learners digital resources that combine and integrate the four language skills to enhance task based learning (Padurean and Margan in Kezie-Osuagun, 2013).
The advantages that are offered by modern ICT in teaching Tiv language are not without some challenges from the government, teachers, learners and the environment. Nevertheless, government will be persuaded to provide the needed facilities and incentives that will overcome the envisaged challenges.
Information is the processing of data in a meaningful way. (Shore, 2000 cited by Hartoyo, 2012, p.2).
It is a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. In fact, it is transfer of information from one person to another which must be understandable to the receiver.
Technology is derived from the word, “techno” which means technique, art or skill, and “logos”, which means science. Therefore, technology can be defined as a scientific knowledge of art or skill. This definition shows that ICT is the utility of technology to support the conveying of information and communication, particularly in the area of education.
Information and Communication Technology refers to the forms of technology used to transmit, store, process, create, display or exchange information by electronic means. These include such technologies as radio, television, DVD, video, satellite systems, network hardware and software and services associated with these technologies, such as e-mail, blogs and video conferencing (UNESCO cited by Udu, 2014).
Need to Teach Tiv Language Using ICT
Speakers of Tiv language are spread over Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Cross-River States of Nigeria and in the Republic of Cameroon. The 1991 Census in Nigeria shows that Tiv speakers are about 2,210,000 in number. Tiv is classified as a Benue-Congo, Atlantic Congo and Niger-Congo language. By status, it is a language of wider-communication in Nigeria.
Undoubtedly, language is indispensible in education and also as a vehicle for the preservation of culture. For this reason, the development and standardization of indigenous languages should be a priority. In recognition for this fact, the government has devised means to use indigenous languages in our formal educational system.
The National Policy on Education, NPE (FRN,2004) places emphasis on the teaching and learning of the Mother Tongue (MT) as L1 and L2 respectively in primary and secondary schools and eventually the creation of a Department of Nigerian Languages in the Colleges of Education. It is believed that the numerous school leavers and dropouts who cannot further their education will be judged literate. This will assist them participate in the socio-economic and political spheres of life, and fend for themselves. This will reduce cases of certificate forgery in order to be accepted since the 1997 constitution of Nigeria as amended has made provisions for the use of local languages in our legislative houses. Therefore, literacy in Tiv language will develop, standardize and create equal and higher opportunities for those trained.
Another major advantage will be to develop a concept for the language and a standardized form of the language for On net teaching and learning.
In addition, it will serve as a culture orientation about the language. It will also promote teacher – learner interaction.
ICT and Language Teaching Packages
ICT involves computers, software, networks, satellite connectivity and related accessories that provide data for use in contemporary education process where the teacher does not need to be present in a classroom to teach and distance of learners is no barrier.
Learning programmes abound on the internet such as: e-chatting, e-mail, e-conferencing etc which brings ease, excitement and is less stressful to learners.
The Application of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is important in the teaching and learning process. CALL is a stage in the application of computers in language teaching and learning. Series of brands and models of computers have inbuilt devices to assist in the provision of data, problem solving and analysis. Initially, computers were used as means for delivering lecture notes. Where it is used as an instructional material and teaching topics such as grammar checks, spellings and desktop publishing, the application is referred to as CALL.
Today, the adoption of computer application in language teaching has advanced to the level of hypermedia. At this stage, computer provides language teachers and learners with multi-media resources such as texts, graphics, sounds, animation and video links. The advantage is that, it combines listening with seeing and learners are motivated.
Further, a telecommunication firm, MTN in Nigeria launched an e-learning package that includes encyclopedia Britannica with every imaginable topic, over 10,000 classic literatures, e-book learning and African folklore among others. Akingbade (2012) asserts that they are designed for all categories of learners for which the Tiv language would also benefit.
In fact, Technology Enhanced Language Learning Education (TELLE) will motivate, improve the learning process and standardise the learning of Tiv language. According to Majt (2010) cited by Anyacho & Anyacho (2013), TELLE triggers learners’ satisfaction and autonomy.
TELLE is simply the integration of technology through the use of computer and the Internet in teaching and learning of language against the limited experience offered in the traditional classroom.
The Role and Gains of ICT in Tiv Language Teaching
ICT through CALL and TELLE grant people information and knowledge that would have been difficult either due to time, distance and financial hindrance. It improves global access and participation in knowledge (Ogwessy, 2003). In fact, it is an end to meeting language learning needs (Nwobia, 2010). The access and participatory benefits ICT provides will play varied roles and gains in Tiv language teaching as follows:
ICT will motivation teachers and learners of Tiv language towards personal commitment and involvement. The internet, video conferencing and other digital media would definitely offer satisfaction to learners to achieve this motivation.
ICT will encourage learners to have a proactive and focused attitude to learning which will improve knowledge.
The interaction and collaboration offered by ICT will assist learners to exchange information and participate in discussions through the internet.
There will be exposure of teachers and learners to new ways of learning that will give a greater understanding of the language, especially in speaking correctly.
The introduction of ICT in learning Tiv language will make teaching less tasking and reduce the cumbersome routine presently experienced.
CALL shall offer instant and accurate feedback, diagnostic testing of abilities and the opportunity of independent learning to learners.
The diverse reference resources offered by the internet such as e-dictionaries and e-encyclopedia will prove useful to learners.
To develop and standardise Tiv language, the internet offers easy availability of other languages for contrastive analysis for which vocabularies and grammatical structures of other languages can be compared to enhance learning.
Present Methods of Teaching Tiv Language
The goal of teaching and learning in a formal setting, especially a school, is to achieve curricular objectives through interaction between a teacher and the learners mostly in a classroom situation.
The class situation in most circumstances finds the teacher playing a dominant role. He dispenses information, asks questions, provides answers, directs the course of discussions and resolves arguments. He tries to motivate learners and integrate the various levels of students’ abilities. Tests are conducted during lessons and assignments given, marked and recorded.
This accounts for how Tiv language is learnt. The teacher that is holistically involved uses the chalkboard and magic board using board markers to indicate date, topic and other key items in lesson delivery. Where necessary textbooks are used and recommended.
In oral teaching, learners are guided on word pronunciation, stress and intonation pattern repeated till a level of perfection is attained.
In word and sentence structures, exercises and illustrations are done by the teachers.
In fact, both teachers and learners are gathered in large classes where errors committed are corrected, weak and strong areas are discovered and corrected.
Field trips to native speaking areas are occasionally conducted to acquaint learners with the native environment or culture which is an integral part of language.
Suggested Methods for Tiv Language Teaching Using ICT
There is no one best way to teach or learn language, therefore, ICT has offered new avenues of language teaching and learning that any progressive language must embrace and not lag behind in development.
One of ICT’s medium in teaching language is the e-learning system where lessons are delivered by electronic methods such as video conferencing, e-mails, CD-Rom and Websites through the internet. This brings lessons to learners without the physical presence of the teacher. By this, learners learn at their pace and convenient time. It is pertinent that Tiv language should explore this approach.
Oyelami (2007) cited by Anyacho & Anyacho (2013) have advanced three ICT based language learning systems that can be used in teaching and learning Tiv language. They are:
Stand-Alone system: This system involves the use of computers, laser disk player and/or a CD-Rom drive. This application designs self study operations that a leaner can follow even without an expert.
Web-Based Learning: This electronic learning device avails learners the opportunity to learn any time and any where online. The learning contents are delivered online with examination stored on a server and available to students on a Web browser. There is self evaluation through online examination and continuous assessment. It is convenient for long distance learning.
Intelligent Tutoring System: This system provides an individualized instruction. The software tracks student’s work tailoring feedback and hints. The information collected on learners performance depicts the learners’ areas of strength and weakness, where possible suggests reinforcement of work.
These systems offer an interactive learning environment online, offer learners opportunity to progress at his time, speed and space, and make lessons interesting. Learners are motivated by use of electronics in learning than the continuous teacher’s presence in a classroom (Chatcall, 2005 in Ugwu, 2013).
The Challenges of Using ICT in Tiv Language Teaching
The use of ICT facilities in teaching Tiv language will not be without some challenges. Simkin, (2005) cited by Ekpoli (2013) has advanced some challenges which will be applicable to the teaching and learning of Tiv language through ICT.
He states that structures for ICT and facilities are expensive to acquire.
Lack of qualified ICT compliant trainers and trainees. Those not ICT compliant may either be afraid to teach or will frustrate it so as to continue with the old methods of teaching (Abimbade, 1999, p.49).
The technological level of Nigeria, particularly Benue state is low and the awareness is poor. Therefore, the technical assistants to assist teachers will not be easily available.
Schools time table system and available facilities cannot cope with high number of pupils/students in a classroom.
Government is slow or unwilling to provide ICT facilities to schools.
Pupils/students cannot afford internet facilities due to the present economic hardship.
Lack of computer skills may scare or discourage some learners from learning.
The power supply is very low in the state and in most villages, non- existent while the population of learners is more in rural areas.
The idea to introduce ICT in teaching Tiv language is like an idea whose time has come and no armies of the world can stop it.
Globalization through the internet facilitated by ICT has broken educational barriers and introduced modern ways of teaching and learning language. All languages should embrace it to escape the threat of endangerment and extinction.
ICT must be employed to teach the language because it is one of the ways it will be standardized and preserved to escape the fear of extinction. Udu (2014) states that “it is an imperative that constitutes the hub of education at all levels.”
It is the only way the Tiv people in Diaspora can maintain their language and culture. Non-native speakers will also have the opportunity to learn the language online.
The envisaged challenges identified can easily be resolved in the following ways:
Electricity should be provided both in the towns and rural areas.
Government should provide structures and ICT facilities in schools and public places.
Teachers and technical assistants should be trained, and where necessary have refresher courses to update the fast changing ICT techniques.
General knowledge of the computer and internet should be enforced at all levels of education.
A software package for learning Tiv language be developed with laptops given to learners in all schools.
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