Review of WordPress Blog by Rofikoh Roka’aitun .

Review of:

BY Rofikoh Roka’aitun

By Christopher C. Corcoran
This blog by Indonesian Student Rofikoh Roka’aitun, a post graduate student of English Education at the University of Muhammadiyah raises many good points.  Roka’aitun, the author, mentions how in the past, vocabulary was given little priority in Second Language programs (it was left to look after itself and little specification was given to its role) but that recently there is a renewed interest and the status of vocabulary is changing and that the nature of words have been broadened to include lexical phrases and routines. I  mentioned this idea before by expressing that vocabulary should also include ideas and concepts and not just definitions. Roka‘aitun raises the idea that this concept plays a primary role in communication and language acquisition.  The author’s main point of the article is that the computer is the best technology to increase students’ vocabulary. Roka’aitun reminds us that ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and communication can be a catalyst for pupil activity and that computers invite learners to be active. One cannot just stare at a computer screen as one can with a TV.  Roka’aitun also mentions how working with computers can be a challenge (yes, it certainly can…) but it is those challenges and problems that have to solved, and it these challenges and problems that facilitate activity and vocabulary acquisition.  Roka’aitun goes on to explain how students learn new words and how teachers learn the best approaches to teach vocabulary. Advantages to using the computer include less time in preparation and the endless resource material that computers provide.
Included in this article is information and a view point from Vicente Lopez who discusses some improvements brought out by ICT.  Lopez sees a future with a connection of relationships of different curricular areas brought out by language teachers that have contributed to the linguistic development of other teachers and students. ICT will enable this intercommunication with an extension of communities hooked to wider thematic areas. We do see this today with learning communities and other combined educational environments.  Basically, the idea is that because every subject has technical vocabulary, teachers will know this vocabulary and pass it on.
Roka’aitun’s objectives include exploring the role of vocabulary learning within a language teaching program, looking at evidence on the nature and process involved in acquisition, and the nature of CALL. Roka’aitun covers “meaningful learning” and how it can mean either teachers’ curricular demands or students’ interests and expectations.  Also the “incremental process of vocabulary learning, and how readers with better vocabularies learn more from context. Roka’aitun mentions how new “words” mean more than that. A new word can be a phrase or an idiom.  Learning this new vocabulary involves many different strategies and how these strategies are combined are important to teacher as well as students.  Activities in and outside of class are best to experiment and evaluate which activities to either adopt or reject.
Roka’aitun feels that most teachers find their teaching and learning to be influenced by ICT. When teachers develop ICT skills, this increases their confidence and helps them decide when to use ICT in their teachings.  Teachers also gain insight into the subject that is being taught, and this in turn helps them to see the difficulties students may have. ICT motivates students and develops their collaborative learning skills and raises their expectations. Ultimately Roka’aitun agrees that reading is the most reliable approach to vocabulary. Exposure to words in different ways and in varying degrees and contexts solidifies their meanings for students. Helping learners encounter new words and helping them learn the words they encounter are the best approaches. Roka’aitun feels that computer use in vocabulary learning is a more efficient approach, but that some students will still ask for clearer explanations without applying the skills learned from certain programs, and are also still overcome with shyness. In these instances Roka’aitun pays particular attention to all of the types of communication that helps them. Roka’aitun finally refers to Nina M. Koptyug Ph.D. who fully supports computer use in her classroom and finds it motivational.

Personal Response: This review of an article by Indonesian Student Rofikoh Roka’aitun has some good points but is flawed as well. Many valid points and ideas were raised in the writings and research, but unfortunately, an English speaking proofreader was needed as a final step before published this article. Many points and ideas were unclear and lost because of language errors, omissions and clarity.  The article was ultimately marred because of this.  I am always surprised by the number of L2 students who do not go through this final step after working so hard on a paper. The article was written in English, and was intended for either English readers or students of English. Thus, many errors are obvious and/or will be picked and reinforced by the ESL/EFL readers of this article.


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