Rus Articles Journal

Councils of experts: how to choose the computer textbook of English

In the article Anatoloy Zhislin, the head of group of developers of popular kompyyuetrny programs for learning angilysky language calls signs on which it is possible to distinguish easily rather effective training program from a low-quality product.

This article for those who want to study language independently and decided to use for this purpose the computer training program. On what program to stop? The author could write the comparative review about ten training programs for English and finish with the table with estimates of these programs. But, unfortunately, I just have no moral right to act as the objective expert for the reason as itself it is involved in development already of the second training program for English. So this article not about as far as the program X is better than the program Y, and about that, properly to the reader to work if he wants to choose for himself the program consciously, not to fall at the same time a victim of advertizing tricks and not to be sorry then about the hours which are aimlessly spent at the computer.

But at first we will talk about what tasks connected with learning of foreign language can be decided by means of the training programs, and about what it is not necessary to hope for not to feel then disappointment.

If you begin with

studying of English with the zero and have at the same time no sufficient linguistic experience, then the most correct for you will be to receive the first lessons under the leadership of the “living“ teacher. And here if you set the task to restore the forgotten English, to enrich a lexical stock, to increase skills of understanding aurally, pronunciations and readings, then the good training program gives you quite good chances.

the good program can quite be

very useful addition to classroom occupations with language. And I would not advise you to oppose the computer program to your textbook and the more so to your teacher. It is not necessary to consider that there is only the one and only program which will suit you. The same as during the serious work on a foreign language you will address at different times (and sometimes and at the same time) to various textbooks, it can quite turn out that will bring you benefit of several training programs.

So how to recognize that which will be really effective among a set of programs?

the First sign that the program will be useful - existence in the program of such exercises in which the user actively participates in dialogue (even if using for this purpose only one keyboard though it is better - both a mouse and the microphone). the Second sign of possible usefulness - the program undertakes functions of supervision of actions of the pupil: gives it marks, gives advice.

Unfortunately, not all programs offer the user these opportunities. It is easy to guess the reason. Sometimes these programs become according to the same ordinary recipe: went, found the old book - the textbook of English, drove texts from it into the program and if use of the sound card is supposed, then besides and read these texts. Worked over the interface, made it modern. Further everything is simple - the computer is used generally as means of display and playing of these texts. Decided to publish all this on CD, but at the last minute noticed that the volume of a disk allows to place on it and still something. Here the computer dictionary turned up under a hand. There it, on a disk! The number of words of this dictionary declared in advertizing by that number of words which can be learned by means of a novelty. That`s all! The computer textbook is ready.

time for work with such products and time of programmers spent for their development, too Grudges

. The methodical material made for the book is the best of all in the book and works. It is unlikely he will allow to achieve that active dialogue of the pupil and the teacher - the program about which the speech already went. Now you also will formulate the third sign of the good training program for English - it has to have good stuff as a methodical basis. It is better if it was developed especially for the computer textbook. Should prick up the ears if from the text on packing you cannot understand from where this material undertook.

Practically all modern training programs for English anyway work as

with a sound. At least, they allow to listen to the text or its separate fragments, and the most advanced programs give the chance also to work with the microphone. To hear itself as if from outside moreover quickly, without vanity with a recorder tape, to compare the pronunciation to the announcer`s pronunciation, is a valuable opportunity, one of advantages of the computer textbook before the textbook traditional.

Some programs went further away. The user has to give the oral answer to the question posed, having pronounced the word or the short phrase in the microphone. The program right there will report, it is correct or not. However, it is healthy? Only it is not necessary to be under a delusion too. The real computer recognition of the speech - the most difficult task demanding such resources and software solutions which the user of the home computer, most likely, does not have (walk on any large computer exhibition like “Comtek“ and you will see, how serious efforts undertake the firms specializing in this problem).


In computer “teaching tools“ instead of full recognition of the speech realizes strongly simplified its version which allows the program only in general to understand, or not that word was pronounced by the user. Quite so person absolutely hard of hearing perceives the speech. There is an example. If instead of the English word “morning“ (morning) you say a senseless set of sounds “o - o - o - ni“, then the program will decide that everything is all right. So this possibility of allegedly automatic recognition of the speech - rather entertaining attraction on which, nevertheless, advertizing strategy of advance on the market of some programs is based.

However, this reception nevertheless is useful at least that it does work with the program of more entertaining. It is especially important if the child works with the program. But you should not hope that thus it is possible to deliver himself a pronunciation. However, there are programs in which intonation and the user`s pronunciation is really analyzed. The result is displayed in the form of schedules. The user needs to decide as far as his schedule is similar to the schedule corresponding to the announcer`s pronunciation. Strictly speaking, this way of comparison of two options of a pronunciation is also not objective, as well as comparison “aurally“, but nevertheless it can help. If with hearing at you everything is all right, then hardly you in general need something, except simple comparison of own speech and the speech of the announcer. So, one more council - is quite good if in the program there is a so-called “recognition of the speech“, but do not lay too great expectations on it and prick up the ears if it - “the main number“ of the program.

Which - that about quality of the training program for English can be assumed also how it is advertized (certainly, in that case when this advertizing proceeds from developers). If main “bait“ is the many thousands number of words which you allegedly will be able to learn, then, most likely, you are deceived or deceived together with you. The knowledge of language is by no means not only and not just knowledge of very large number of words. The lexicon only in one thousand words is already brilliant result at learning of foreign language. In our daily speech in the native language we manage slightly large number. Therefore if promise to teach you to seven - eight or, it is worse than that, to twelve thousand words, then know that you are just wanted to be shaken by the number of zero.


that you by some miracle learned not only all these words, but even in full eight hundred-page English - the Russian dictionary of Muller. I assure you, to sense will not be if you do not feel functional communications between these words and are not able to connect them in intelligent phrases. With the same result it would be possible to crush the mentioned dictionary and in the small portions to eat the received weight. Even having swallowed everything, you will not speak and understand in English! If it is unconvincing, then we will explain the same thought on absolutely simple example. Imagine the person who learns Russian, new to it, and learned only three words:“ to wash“, “mother“, “frame“. If he does not know anything any more, then by any forces you will not achieve from him that classical phrase which nearly all abc-books of Russian begin. And now present whether it will be better for our hero if he in the same way learned not three words, and several thousands. The answer is clear. So, one more council. Be careful if from a packing box you are seduced with a huge number of words.

needs Especially to tell

about programs for children. Practically all of them are engaged in the fact that all of them induce the child to learn words. It and is clear as interactive exercises with difficult logic are simply inaccessible to the child who and native - that language still knows not in perfection. From work of the child with such programs there can be an advantage if this work is strictly dosed and passes against serious occupations with the teacher. It is necessary to recognize honestly that opportunities of the computer program in this case a little. The “living“ teacher is necessary. In this regard one more prevention. Buying by the training program, find out whether it is told in the text on its packing for what age and for what initial level it is intended. Assurances that the program suits all and always - a bad sign.

I, at last, the last. Run away if on packing follows from the text that with work you will be helped by mysterious sound or visual signals which or do not give in to rewriting on any equipment, or influence your subconsciousness. You remember a popular song of the Fox of Alice and Kot Basilio: “So far there live on light fools, to deceive to us, so, from a hand“? It just about that.