Self Study

The World Wide Web offers many opportunities for Self Study.

Self study is an important part of a language course, allowing learners time to consolidate, prepare for future F2F classes, develop independent learning strategies etc. The work a learner does in Self-study could be systematic and focused, or relaxed and ad hoc.

As there is no regulation of the Web, there are many unsuitable web sites and it easy for learners to waste time and achieve very little by way of improving their language.

Typical areas to work on in self-study are: grammar, vocabulary, language skills, phonology and business skills.

Grammar

There are many sites containing grammatical information and practice exercises. Some have been criticised for focusing on grammar as “product” at the expense of grammar as “process”. Interactive exercises typically include gap-fill, multiple choice and mix and match exercises.

http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/index.htm

Vocabulary

Learners can use an on-line English-English dictionary, as this can be updated instantly.

http://www.ldoceonline.com

Students can use the Web to keep up to date with new words.

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/resourcenew.htm

Language skills

The Web can be useful in developing language skills. It is arguably easier to work on the receptive skills of listening and reading on the Web. The Internet provides limited opportunities for developing the active skills of speaking and writing.

Listening

Learners can listen to current and breaking news on the Web. A popular and motivating Self Study activity possible on the Web is to listen to a recording and read the transcript at the same time. Try:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish
/work/handy/index.shtml

Reading

The Web offers unlimited opportunities for reading for pleasure – using a search engine can locate a suitable text within the learner’s interest area. For ease of reading, it is usually preferable to print out a text, as on-screen reading can be tiring.

Speaking and writing

The Internet offers opportunities to speak and write using software designed to chat with friends or colleagues etc. The absence of a teacher to provide language feedback may make these activities somewhat unstructured.

Phonology

Students can find exercises on the web to practise their pronunciation.

http://esl.about.com/cs/pronunciation/index.htm

Business skills

Students who need to develop business skills such as giving presentations or negotiating can use the Web to find out information on improving these skills.

http://ec.hku.hk/epc

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