First things first. The English language is no longer considered a foreign language. Instead it’s a practical skill needed for everyday life. As it has acquired the status of a global language, learning English should be seen as skill-building. This calls for the need for changing our approach to language teaching and learning.
To understand this better, think of yourself as a learner for a moment.
Most of you spent years trying to learn a foreign language. And you know that the way it’s taught simply doesn’t work.
Why? Because the learner in you remains passive in class for most of the time. You are either listening or reading.
The result? You remember 10% of what you read and 20% of what you heard.
What does this mean?
This means that the conventional learning delivery doesn’t work – especially when it comes to language learning. The entire process has to be learner-centric. The learners must participate actively.
Downsides of Passive Language Learning
1. The major downside of passive learning is that it splits the language into different components – reading, writing, listening, grammar and pronunciation – which you try to learn separately.
2. When learners are not actively involved in the class, they continue to think in their native language. Whatever is bombarded onto them, they try to translate it into their mother tongue. It becomes almost impossible to process the information subconsciously or automatically.
3. Because learners aren’t taught to think in English, they are unable to communicate in English.
According to Clarissa Dirks, passive learning is decidedly passé – and maybe even unethical. Referring to a growing body of evidence that learners taught with active learning techniques learn better, Dirks recently told Nature News, “At this point, active learning techniques work better. It is unethical to teach any other way”, she added.
Active learning helps learners start speaking English fluently in less than a year. Active learning is more than just listening: it involves active participation of learners. They must use the language all the time and be emotionally involved in the process.
Transitioning from Passive Learning to Active Training English Skills
1. The best-kept secret is – comprehensible input. We acquire the language when we understand it. Support in the native language is necessary but it should be organized in a way that precludes subconscious translation into and from the mother tongue.
2. The learners spend more time actively speaking English when using the patented Language Bridge Technology (LBT) than in conventional classes. LBT introduces speech shadowing of pre-recorded lessons and drills that all learners, wearing headsets, perform at the same time. It also creates an environment for acquiring all language skills – reading, listening, speaking, writing, and pronunciation at the same time while re-experiencing familiar situations exclusively in English.
3. The mobile is an obvious choice for delivering information. It gives learners the access to learning material both in the class and after the class. LBT comes with an Android application that is interactive and dynamic. It contains built-in support for sharing sessions with friends or teachers, which is essential for digital learners.
The lessons added by a learner or teacher allow building a bridge between LBT program and your current curriculum. Learners can add existing texts to the LBT program and use them for speech shadowing and training of automatic speech.
Summary: Learning English is passive. Training English skills is active learning. Combining the LBT program to the conventional systems of passive learning will ensure a gradual transition from passive learning to active training of English skills.
Arkady Zilberman – CEO of Language Bridge Technology is going to present a demonstration of Active Training on CO16 on Saturday February 6, 2016 at 11 AM EST. The number of participants is limited to ensure high quality of all sessions, so please reserve your place for the demonstration by clicking on ‘save my spot’ button to register.
If you want to watch your own or your students’ transformation into fluent English speakers you may click on ‘save my spot’ button to register.