Why I use English Out There for general English courses
English Out There is a new methodology in English Language teaching which takes students beyond a two-dimensional classroom experience. English Out There provides personalized, experiential and dynamic learning experiences backed up by scientific educational research and testing conditions. It is lauded by educational experts such as Stephen Krashen. The methodology has been rigorously tested over a ten year period with a bank of case studies to prove that it works.
How is Language Acquired?
Social Media for Language Learning
I say it’s new because it’s the first ever social media general English Course to be launched online and offline, and because the rest of the ELT world has yet to catch on to its significance..
Think of standard ELT curricula as a map of learning objectives
The above map of London is a two-dimensional view of a place. You can talk to a student about this map for thirty minutes, get students to talk to each other about it, or you can take the student out onto the streets to see, hear, feel and experience the reality of three dimensional, experiential learning.
This is exactly what Jason West started doing in London ten years ago. However there was ingenious method in this apparent madness.
English Out There School
Firstly he designed general English courses with exceptional content in pdf form. Then he added the social aspect which makes EOT stand apart from all other methodologies. Each lesson plan has a homework plan which requires the learner to practice the lesson live with real fluent speakers of English in the real world beyond classroom walls.
To quote Jason West
“In London (real world) the teacher and students go out onto the streets immediately after the input in the class…this summer we didn’t even use classrooms, just comfy free public spaces and cafes for the input. The speaking task was meant to be done immediately but we found it could be done later (homework/online).”
With the precise planning inherent in the EOT lesson packages, teachers were confident enough to take their students out onto the streets of London for spontaneous speaking practice.
Students were able to enjoy a multi-sensory experience, stretch their comfort zones, and speak English in fun-filled, adrenalin-rich atmospheres.
Just as talking about the map of a place is not the experience, talking about language from text books is not the learning.
What has this got to do with WiZiQ and online learning?
“How ‘3D’ is virtual living becoming”?
“How can I get my students out on English speaking streets if I live in China”?
Then realize that online social networks with VOIP, virtual classrooms, google hangouts and all kinds of multi-media outlets will allow your students to speak live online with any native speaker they connect with via the internet.
We can use technology to add suspense and colour to the lesson plans via comic strip, video, mindmap, music or whatever adds a multi-sensory quality to the learning experience.
This supplementary material can be used in a flipped classroom style by adding activities to learning management systems before live online sessions, or the actual lesson plans can be used for self-study and the multi-media materials can be expanded on in class. This is part two of what I’d call a three-part procedure or ,as war historians would say, “ a three-pronged attack”…..
Not that we are not attacking language learning, but rather we are attacking two-dimensional forgetfulness and inertia.
THE most important part is when your learners build their English speaking networks and really get into the swing of chatting online with English speakers who really want to talk to them.
Many people are already trying to do that in a haphazard way on facebook, but they have no system and probably end up pestering native-speakers or fluent English teachers, who are too busy to chat to just anyone online… ( I know). Also, if they are not following a carefully designed EOT course, the learning will also be haphazard.
As I write, Jason West is designing an important “How to” on building up social networks for speaking English, and whoever gets the course materials will be guided on best practice.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you will learn
- The psychology of speaking
- Proof and case studies
- How to plan your personalized English Course
- Your free technological toolkit
- Meeting English speakers
- Building relationships
That is just a peek. There is also indepth analysis of the learning process for teachers.
If online communities are the future of language learning, I think it is fitting that teachers on WiZiQ should get together to share experiences and ideas. We have this blog and the online community forums to help us.
EOT Course on WizIQ
I believe that if a group of English teachers decided to use EOT on WizIQ, then we could collaborate in helping our students build up English speaking networks. We could start with supporting each other and providing voluntary speaking support for our pool of students. This only takes a few minutes a day – much less than traditional, painstaking correction work.
This would be independent, yet interconnected. We would have our separate classes but collaborate with the speaking aspect till students got confident enough to reach out across wider social networks or language exchange sites.
Social learning is a topic that we can expand upon in future articles or online discussions via WizIQ called course feed.
Stay tuned for the release of Jason’s EOT manual where he reveals the relationship-building process and best networks for connecting with English speakers.