English is the main way of communication in most of the parts of the world. It is a medium of instruction in most of the educational institutes in and outside of Bangladesh. Students who want to achieve higher education must know English. Even economic development of a country largely depends on the use of English. English is taught as a compulsory subject across primary, secondary and higher secondary levels of education in Bangladesh. In real life, we need to speak fluently in English for communication. I worked in a non-government organization in education section and there I had to work on computer aided language learning. At that time I marked that students are more interested in technology as it helps them to get the message clearly through visualization and to know and listen to the exact pronunciation. So, technology helps students to develop their language skills properly in an interesting way.
In our country, students are not so good in English. So, they need to be skilled. But all the teachers are not also that much expert to teach the language and develop the fluency of language skills. Here audio technology can play a big role all over the country. Technology aided education can make their learning better and interesting with pronunciation, fluency and accuracy. Most of all, they can have a very good support of developing listening skills. Because, this education system may help them with standard language materials and teaching aids.
Language materials are closely related to students, teachers, teaching methods, instructions and evaluation. Audio materials will be a great support for the students of Bangladesh. They will get the exact pronunciation that will help them to speak with good pronunciation. This type of materials will develop their listening skill that is a very important matter to understand a language. This experience will help students to communicate (that is to speak and listen) with others in English and they will be expert communicator in English. Audio materials will develop not only the students but also the teachers. This sounds really great that if this type of materials are used in the schools of Bangladesh there will be a big group of people who understand English and communicate at a standard level. So there are some challenges of developing audio materials for English language education. Those are as follows:
1. Many teachers cannot understand how to handle materials in the classroom or they are not interested to use it. So they need to be motivated and they must be trained up.
2. Teachers and school authority are exam oriented. That means that they give importance to the school and national exams. But they should be make understand of the importance of developing language skills. This audio material can be enough standard to make the teaching more effective and successful.
3. All the students are not of the same standard to catch what is said by the audio support. So the way of instruction and the steps of delivering the lessons will be in a way to make it easy for all types of students.
4. Sometimes instructions will be a problem to make students understand what to do. So instructions must be easy and clear.
5. Sometimes both teachers and students will not understand the pronunciation. So it will be better if teacher are supported by a printed guide that will take away their confusion.
6. Sometimes it is very difficult to take the teaching learning procedure beyond the textbook, when some parts of the book are not easy to teach and understand. Here technology can play a great role to make the lesson easy and interesting.
7. Sometimes power supply will be a problem to run the audio equipments. So it will be better if the schools have power support when there will be no electricity.
8. Sometimes the audio equipment may go out of order. It will be better if the teachers are trained up at the primary level to solve some possible problems and so on.
So it’s very much clear that the teacher will play the main role. It should be remembered that audio technology is not the main way for language education. It is a teaching aid. If the teacher is not expert and cannot utilize the support of technology, there will be no outcomes or fewer outcomes. Technology cannot replace the teacher. But it will help the teacher. It can be the helping hand of the teacher and learners. But this audio material shows us a hope of having a skilled group of people in English and it must be a great asset and strength for Bangladesh.
ASMAUL HUSNA: BA (Hons.), MA in English, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka; MA in ELT, University of Dhaka; E-Teacher Scholarship Fellow, AEI, University of Oregon, USA.