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Language Laboratories of the College 

Sound labs have been founded in 1987, the same year in which the college has been established. At that time the labs included four main audio visual halls as well as four other halls assigned to the scientific departments. In 2009, the year of the comprehensive change in the College of languages- as we call it, computers have been used, for the first time, in these labs to help students learn the correct pronunciation especially by supporting this study with computer lessons which have been included in the syllabuses, along with lessons such as reading, pronunciation, comprehension and conversation. The major achievement in this regard is the modern sound lab which has been received from South Korea. Iraq is considered to    be one of few countries to use it in 2010; whereas it has been used within the European Union, namely Germany, only in 2011. The lab can be considered as  a virtual electronic professor. It has scientific syllabuses for three languages, namely, English, French and Spanish. It also has huge database related to the pronunciation of these languages in addition to cultural and literary information about these mentioned languages. Currently, the college is seeking to obtain a second lab from the same origin but with as much as 11 languages, the languages which are currently being taught in the College of Languages, which represents a quantum leap upward in the way of scientific and technological progress in Iraq.

Sound hall No. 1

Contains an Italian –made sound lab model 2003.It has been installed in 2009.

Sound hall No. 2

Contains a sound lab which. It has been installed by the college in 2008.

Sound hall No.3

Contains a lab that has been supplied by the college in 2009. Now it is looked upon as a translation lab project to which plans and modern designs are drawn up to be the first translation lab of its kind in Iraq.

Sound hall No.4

In this hall, the South Korean lab has been installed; it is a gift from KOICA (korea International Cooperation Agency) to the College of Languages to enhance its modern scientific research in the field of foreign languages study. The language lab is considered as one of the most important means in the language teaching process, therefore, specialists in the educational process pay great attention to these tools for their benefits which can be outlined below:

* facilitate the task of the instructor

* solve most of the foreign language’s learning problems

* teach all foreign languages

For this important role which is played by the labs, we provide a summary about the importance of the language labs and their use. The summary will tackle two   points as follows:

First, what is meant by the language lab?

1- Definition: it is a room purposely designed to teach foreign languages. In this room students sit separately surrounded by sound- proof barriers to ensure that student can practice his listening and speaking without disturbing, or being disturbed by,  others in the neighboring small booths. In this case it can be possible that all students practice their lesson at the same time. In the front part of the lab there is a desk for the teacher, which lies facing the students’ booths, equipped with tools that enable him (the teacher) to listen to a cd player  with headphone and microphone. These equipments make the teacher able to speak and listen to his  students all together or separately by control panel in front of  him. Language lab is no less important than the labs in other fields of science such as natural sciences, chemistry etc. because it helps the effective process of language learning.

Second: the function of the language lab

1- The bases on which the language lab is established

There are two bases on which the language lab is based; the first is educational and the other is linguistic- theoretical and practical. According to the theoretical part, language is a set  of sound patterns which can be acquired through:

1- The way in which the material is presented: through imitation and repetition

2- Gradual appropriate training to acquire the linguistic habits and patterns

The lab provides the time and environment to learn.

On the other hand, the psycholinguistic theory confirms the role of the four skills, namely, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, when learning a foreign language. There are physical and psychological evidences to the importance of listening, as the first step, then practicing to speak. Of these evidences are the following:

1- Training ears to listen makes it easy to learn

2- Focusing on one skill at a time facilitates learning

3- Wrong listening to language leads to mispronunciation errors.

   

Accordingly, the function of the lab is to help student to listen correctly to words several times.

On the other hand, the practical aspect is based on what is called the programmed learning which enables each student to practice according to his ability and speed. The student in the lab listens to the recorded lesson several times until be satisfied, then starts to speed up the recorded material according to his ability then begins his training without being embarrassed by his classmates in case of making mistakes.

The conditions required to make the labs work successfully

Labs are machines like any other machines if are used correctly they will bring about the desirable results, if not they will turn into a place where money, efforts and time are wasted.  In order to make the  labs workable and successful it is a must to fulfill the following requirements:

1- preparing a skillful staff

2- instructing students on the right use of the lab which requires the following:

* Student has to learn how to listen

* Student must learn self-criticism to diagnose his own mistakes and correct them

* student suppose to know how to use the equipment in his booth prior to his beginning of a training session

 3- Preparing the appropriate lessons designed to the labs and the students’ levels because not all materials are designed to the lab.

4- Providing a technician to maintain the machines, electronic equipments and gadgets. He supposed to be available during the training sessions to solve urgent cases. In case these equipments neglected they would soon be out of work.

5- Since first stages of foreign languages learning depend on listening and repetition-which can be effectively tackled by the labs, therefore, a due attention should be directed to these helpful language labs.

Labs in the College of Languages have a qualified staff consists of technicians and employees; the staff names are listed below as follows:

Translator Asaad Khalaf Salih – Central Labs Officer

Technical manager  Haifaa Nuaman

Chief translator Iman Abdullah

Translator  Haider Isa

Translator Duraid Ala Al-Din     



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