There are several components necessary to master a language. It is not just about being able to read and understand certain words. It also entails mastery of the spoken language. There are language learners who learn how to read and write fast. However, if they are asked to talk, they could barely pronounce the words right. This is true especially in learning the English language. This is the reason why speech laboratories are essential.
Laboratories in schools might only be associated with science subjects. This serves as their workplace to experiment on specific subjects. However, this is also necessary for language learning. This provides an avenue for the students to improve the way they pronounce the words and be corrected by the teacher whenever necessary.
Types of Speech Laboratories
• Traditional/Conventional laboratory. This is the earliest form of language laboratory developed. It makes use of a recorder and cassette tapes to help language learners. The tape usually contains texts or stories read aloud by a native language speaker. There are also listening and speaking exercises that follow in each chapter.
• Modified Laboratory (Lingua Phone). This works just like the traditional laboratory, but headsets are already provided. They minimize the distraction caused when everyone listens directly to the same audio device. The use of the headset also removes unnecessary noise especially if everyone in the class pronounces the words at the same time for practice.
• Computer Assisted Language Laboratory. This is one of the most modern speech laboratories available today. The entire course module is already stored in the computer. There are also some courses that can be linked with the internet. With this strategy, students can enjoy more a variety of lessons for language learning. They can also practice different types of exercises to avoid boredom. Most of all, they can listen to different speakers when practicing the language. In fact, they can also learn grammar and other language skills with this modern laboratory.
Advantages of Using a Speech Laboratory
Being able to master a language, especially English, is important the moment students graduate from school. They need to speak the language for various purposes. This is why the presence of speech laboratories can be of great help. Here are some other advantages in using the speech lab:
• The lab is perfect for any type of language. For foreign language learning, it can also be used as long as the course materials are available.
• It allows learners to pronounce certain words correctly. Small details like accent, stress and blending of words can also be corrected.
• Not only primary students can learn from this laboratory. It is also designed for junior and senior executives who wish to improve their speaking proficiency.
• Teachers and education specialists make use of the laboratory in creating technical materials and other important teaching materials.
• English examination courses such as IELTS, which require speaking proficiency, can maximize the use of the laboratory to enhance students’ ability.
• Kids and adults suffering from speech disorders can also use the laboratory to minimize the problems.
• Since language learning in laboratories can be done privately and at their own pace, students who are shy or quite slow in learning the language, become more confident.
Though it costs a lot to build a speech laboratory, schools should still invest on it. At the end of the day, the advantages they can get from it outweigh the overall cost.