Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Entry 17 IDT14156 Bax's CALL - Past, present and future: a critique of Warschauer

Do you think Bax's criticisms of Warschauer are valid? If so, in what way(s) does his approach deepen our understanding of the history of CALL?

First of all, I found Warschauer's introduction paper to CALL less accessible than Bax's in terms of description and definition of terms. Also, I somehow managed to position and identify myself and my own practice at different times throughout his article. For instance, I strongly agree with Bax when he says that 'CALL will be normalised when computers are treated as always secondary to learning itself, when the needs of learners will be carefully analyses first of all, and then the computer used tom serve those needs' (p24) and this statement positively reassures and reflects my own practice as described in my reflections to the question posed by Cecilia on whether our teaching was driven by technology or pedagogy here and which briefly addressed a set of self determined criteria applied to potential technology in my lessons. In light of Bax's argument and my previous reflections then I would say that if I have not reached normalisation yet, then I am on the right track and this is comforting. Also, I fully agree that in my local (not own) context at least, technology is more often than not considered a magic wand rather than, as Bax (p26) suggests, for the role it can play in the classroom with principals and state school teachers asking for advice on the app which will make their students' English improve overnight. 

I would also agree with Karina that the inconsistencies in Warschauer described and supported by Bax are distracting but also contradictory. I particularly find Warschauer's implication that 'language in authentic social contexts is post communicative' (p19) confusing as providing authentic social contexts for communication is still clearly part and parcel of teaching and reflected in most course books and my own practice. I feel the same as Victoria in regards to the need for a new categorisation which I believe to be more accurate or at least clearer and more in line with my own understanding and practice of CLT in a fortunate private sector school context which offers me the possibility to experiment with, implement and be an active part in the 'normalisation' process of CALL. 


Bax, S. 2003. CALL - past, present and future [online], Article from Science Direct, Online at [accessed: October 21, 2014]

Warschauer M. (1996) "Computer Assisted Language Learning: an Introduction". In Fotos S. (ed.) Multimedia language teaching, Tokyo: Logos International: 3-20 Online at [accessed: October 21, 2014]

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