Soon, 200 Cambodian students will start by watching one hour of English Netflix series every day. Later, they will be connected to English speaking students of other countries through Messenger. During this process, we will evaluate the effectiveness of our digital language acquisition method. This is a new vision on how to teach young children English in an efficient way. This methodology is part of a larger study concerning the optimal language learning method, which takes the actual world's education constraints into account.
There are two methods of learning a new language, the structured or classroom and the exposure method. Multiple studies show that exposure, rather than classroom teaching, is the optimal way of learning a new language. This is especially the case for young children, because their brain has the capacity to learn languages by exposure. The structured language learning approach appears to be more effective for students older than 16 years of age. At this age, the cognitive maturity is already more developed, and the structured learning method relies on this capability.
Overall, the structured method is used in the current way of teaching languages. However, research shows that this method mainly works well for older students, since sufficient cognitive maturity is required to learn a language this way. It is clear that the optimal way of acquiring a new language does not correspond with the currently used one. Research is insufficiently implemented in practice.
We are convinced that the available digital tools should be implemented in our language education, with the goal to develop an optimal digital language acquisition method. Living with people speaking your learning language is the optimal way to acquire the language. We believe that recently developed digital tools such as Netflix and Messenger can be used to mimic this exposure of living with people.
This project aims to implement a more efficient and practical way to learn a new language, using the existing digital tools. We will connect researchers and developers of educational systems, so they can implement and evaluate systems together, based on theory and existing tools.
We distinguish ourselves from preceding studies by connecting the researchers and schools. Connect theory and practice. Schools can give feedback to an on-going research, which makes it possible to evaluate and adapt the hypothesis, and finally obtain a good method of learning, which can be implemented in existing systems. Whereas past studies mainly focussed on abstract theories, which routinely missed a link to reality. The consequences being that they were never really applied.
According to past studies, the digital language acquisition method will be superior compared to the current method, specifically in efficiency. But, apart from this, our method has three other major advantages.
1. First, it is way more pleasant for students to master a language this way. Watching Netflix series or interesting youtube videos is more fun than classroom lessons. That is why there is a gap in level of English between the young and old generation, where young people deliberatly watch English tv-shows and learn English by doing so.
2. Second, this method is more reliable since it is less dependent of teachers who can speak English themselves. This is not readily available or abundant in countries with a weak education program. Our approach relies primarily on material provision and wifi-connection, of which is more plentiful than the amount of English speaking teachers in the world.
3. Lastly, watching videos is one of the most efficient ways to educate a population about the important topics in society. Problems such as war, crisis, climate, injustice etc can be explained easier by watching videos covering this subjects. Since we also invoke the visual part of the brain.
We will start applying our pilot program of "digital language acquisition" in a Cambodian school of 200 students. Examining the students every 6 months and use the results as an evaluation of our method. Our piloteprogram exists in two stages.
During the first stage, we expose young students to their learning language (L2), by letting them watch English shows everyday for one hour, either by youtube, netflix or other streaming platforms. We strongly belief that this is the most appropriate method to grasp the basic language formulation, which is the very base upon which a language acquistion stands. When the students reach a certain level of understanding, we enter stage two.
In stage two, the pupils are connected to students in other countries via online texting applications, such as Messenger, Telegram or WhatsApp, to let them develop their active language 'speaking' skills. Also, we will start by the structured learning approach, in-class, with the purpose to let them understand and use more high-level language, which is hard to acquire by solely passive exposure.
By conducting research and asking feedback, we hope to find out which feasible methodology is optimal to acquire a new language.
Finding out how we can implement this method in the currently existing education systems.
By showing schools the benefits for their students, we hope to convince them to implement our method.
At the end of our journey, we hope the world will be able to communicate and understand each other better, and maybe one day, reach the moon, where all kids have equal opportunities to develop and grow .
This project cannot exist without funding. For the setup of the project, we need projectors, laptops and streaming-accounts. We also need support for the transportation of the educational tools to the respective schools.
The lack of research to this particular domain may be one of the main holdbacks for schools to start implementing it. Scientific proof of the superiority of our method is required in order to implement the method on a larger scale. That is why we look for researchers, students or professors, to help evaluate, summarize and conclude existing studies and conduct new studies concerning the topic. More researches specific to this project would enforce and stimulate the development of it. We hope you contact us if you can be of any help!
Changes in education systems do not happen often, yet are very needed. That is why a support base of people promoting and supporting our project will be necesarry. We hope to share our mission with students and parents who dare to critize the system and be open for change. It will only be together that we can establish this and improve education systems.