Today, these are IT-enabled or software-driven and state-of-the-art computerized systems that run on a network of multimedia PCs, fully-controlled and monitored by a teacher at all times. This gives the process of acquiring fluency in a foreign language a much-needed impetus through its intractability, modularity and user-centric approach that not only makes the learning process enjoyable for the learners but also makes it 100% effective from a teacher's perspective as it perfectly complements everyday classroom sessions, seamlessly.
The right process of acquiring proficiency in a language is the way we learn our mother tongue. This occurs through the four fundamental steps of Listening, Speaking, Reading and then finally, Writing or the LSRW language learning technique.
Our process of listening begins while still in the mother's womb continuing through our birthday and early formative years where our brain is hammered with constant sounds and usages of our native tongue.
This most important first-step to acquiring proficiency in a foreign language is continuously possible through a language lab where we are listening to native speaker(s), unlike in a typical classroom setting where the listening process is minimal and the teacher is a non-native speaker of the language.
We begin to speak our native language slowly but flawlessly, right from approximately 12 months of age and our vocabulary grows in leaps and bounds in tandem with our biological growth. Once again, this occurs without any formal training as we mentally train ourselves to mimic the speakers around us.
In the same manner, after repeatedly listening to native sounds and intonations over the headphones with microphones in a language lab setting, the students start to mimic them and they can compare themselves to the native speaker in absolute privacy, without fearing ridicule or comments from peers and/or teachers, when doing it and so will gain confidence to converse in that language quickly.
We begin to read, usually at school, which is good. But in a classroom setting, instead of beginning to read in a foreign language after repeated listening and speaking attempts, we often start reading blindly aping the teacher, a non-native speaker and also without phonetic help to help with the pronunciations, when we start to read.
Unlike in a classroom, the language lab facilitates role play and reading exercises with dictionaries and phonetic help for the student. This helps the students a great deal when they compare themselves to native speakers in reading effortlessly with zero non-native speaker influence.
This is again something we start doing usually when we start school, where especially when being taught a foreign language we are first taught to write the alphabets of that language, then read it out aloud after listening to the non-native teacher reading and explaining the language – that is, almost a reversal of the LSRW methodology which is the fundamental steppingstone to acquiring foreign language skills.
When using the modern language lab to attain proficiency in a foreign language, the process of learning is in the proven LSRW methodology and this gives students an added edge in improving their writing skills phenomenally, especially when guided by a mentor who is assigning appropriate levels of learning material as they progress through their lessons.
In a typical classroom of say, 40 students, the comprehension levels of students vary drastically, especially in language classes, depending on the students' social background and upbringing. For instance, a student who has done his/her early schooling overseas where English was the native language may not require as much help as a student who learned the language in a rural primary school setting but is in the same high school classroom.
The teacher can assign individual lessons according to student needs in groups and/or individually, without holding-up the entire class, as well as monitor student progress personally, while bringing them up to speed with the rest of the class effortlessly and in absolute privacy.
Teachers can monitor incognito, control, deliver, group, display, review as well as assign lessons, check & give feedback in real-time and assign web based multimedia content.
It provides equal opportunity to all the students to hear the instructor irrespective of place where they are seated. There will be less miscommunication because of direct nature of the sound transmission. It also provides the privacy that encourages the shy students to speak without any hesitation.
Efficient use of time and learning efficiency is much more than usual classroom learning. This set up fosters more interactive session between students and teacher. The language lab brings variety to the teaching and learning process far removed from the boring verbal-centric classroom methodology. The teacher can easily provide feedback based on individual student pace and ability.
With the Lesson Maker function of the lab, the teacher can develop his/her customized content for the class. Appropriated learning materials can also be effortlessly downloaded from resources such as the internet and soft encyclopedias and books and assigned to students instantly.
Students are often shy and inhibited in a typical classroom setting and hesitate to ask for clarifications from the teacher or even express himself/herself accurately. The language lab opens up a whole new world for the student where the sessions are interestingly absorbing while permitting them to learn at their own rate.
Communicate with the teacher anytime in absolute privacy without having to raise his/her hand drawing the attention of the entire class each time they need help.
It develops the listening and communication skills, since students hear correct pronunciation through their headphones from native speakers. Students are motivated to talk freely and uninhibitedly with their peers and elders. There is more excitement and enthusiasm for the learning process.
User-friendly and fun to use, this set up fosters more interactive session between students and teacher. Focus and attention on the subject is substantially increased resulting in better retention and understanding language nuances.
Instant exercise results and graphical comparisons of speech make the learning process enjoyable, fun and captivating while helping grow their understanding of foreign cultures and traditions as apparent as visiting those nations.
The primary form of linguistic communication is speech and so listening is the most important receptive (and learning) skill for foreign language students. An ability to listen and interpret many shades of meaning from what is heard, is a fundamental communicative ability.
Presumably, institutional managements are always working towards bettering the capabilities of their wards. Very often, managements seem to have spent substantially on expensive hardware without the appropriate software to make them effective tools for learning. Almost all institutions have an audio-video lab and some also have the so-called Smart Class. But in reality, how effective are they in helping your students pass out not only as better human beings but also as pillars of our communities and the society?
The language lab is truly cost-effective as it easily runs on any network of computers, which means it can be installed right away on any existing network of computers.
Fully equipped with a vast database of 100% complimentary learning resources to which any multimedia content as the teacher deems appropriate can be added.
The software license is perpetual, which means it is a lifetime license and requires only a minimal one-time investment. It offers fantastic value-for-money.
Training at the time of free installation and delivery is also free as well as 24/7 after-sales support, which is also 100% free in the first year of installation. Reasonable AMC packages can be opted to for the subsequent years.
It enhances the communication skills of your students making them instantly more attractive to potential campus recruiters which in turn enhances the institutional image many fold.