“I Prefer to Think for Myself”: Upper Secondary School Pupils’ Attitudes towards Computer-Based Spanish Grammar Exercises

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Author: Kent Fredholm, Stockholm University, Sweden
Published: February 2014
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.2.1.04

Citation: Fredholm, K. (2014). “I Prefer to Think for Myself”: Upper Secondary School Pupils’ Attitudes towards Computer-Based Spanish Grammar Exercises. IAFOR Journal of Education, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.2.1.04


Abstract

There is an increasing pressure from school leaders in many countries for teaching to be based solely on ICT tools. The present study is interested in what this does to pupils’ attitudes towards ICT in language classrooms. Is a digital monopoly a good way for pupils to learn languages? Is it what they want? To understand for which tasks students feel that computers are an appropriate tool, a qualitative survey mapping upper secondary school pupils’ attitudes towards the ICT use for learning Spanish has been conducted. The study looks at ICT use for grammar practice. A group of pupils have completed lesson diaries, reflecting upon web-based grammar exercises, comparing them to paper-based exercises, and a questionnaire survey on general attitudes towards ICT in language learning. The results indicate that the majority of participating pupils ask for a greater variety of tasks and see a need also for traditional forms of grammar practice, especially written exercises which give time to reflect upon grammar, syntax and vocabulary. They want ICT use to be an option, not a constraint. Many complain on flaws in the design of web-based grammar exercises. This shows a need for more research into the effects of different designs of web-based tools. It also becomes clearer that decision-makers and teachers must focus more on the pedagogical purpose of learning tasks and that the first question to ask is: “How can I teach this in a way that suits my pupils?” rather than: “How can I add more ICT to my teaching?”.

Keywords

ICT, CALL, foreign language learning, pupils’ attitudes, grammar learning