Picture courtesy Wojciech Migda, via Wikimedia Commons
I recently came across an interesting article in the sports section of the Seattle Times. Sports and language learning, you might might ask. Where’s the connection? Well, here is how the two are related.
Na Yeon Choi is a pro-golfer from South Korea, one of the rising stars of the women’s pro tour. Last year, she felt that it was crucially important in her job to speak proper English. Though the golfers get prepared for some standard question-answer time with journalists after a tournament, we all know that journalists like to break ranks. In order to be able to react to questions spontaneously, she decided to start learning English with a personal tutor from Canada. Her learning was intensive as she spent one hour a day learning English with her tutor, first in person and later on via Skype. The two decided to focus on conversational English as this would fit Choi’s needs best.
Interestingly, when Choi analyzes what these English lessons have brought her, the benefits are far bigger than only being able to react to journalists’ questions. She actually feels speaking English made her a better golfer, too. Being able to express her feelings toward other people and to communicate with other players makes her relax more on the lawn.
As Choi’s story shows, even the busiest people can make time in their schedules for learning when they have the drive, motivation and dedication to make it happen.
Synchronous learning with a language teacher or tutor through live lessons is one effective way to acquire new skills. However, not all of us want to speak and learn with a tutor. It might put some learners on the spot, and others cannot afford to have a one-hour lesson a day.
For all of these types of learners, there are various other possibilities to integrate elements of learning in our busy lives.
At OpenLanguage we believe that your learning solution should match your lifestyle and be integrated into your daily routine. This is why the Tablet Textbook is at the heart of OpenLanguage. Busy adults should be empowered to use bits of down time to study throughout the day, e.g. on the train during their morning commute, waiting for their lunch order or even on the plane. But it’s also important that learning is broken down into chunks that reinforce each other rather than fragment the process. At OpenLanguage, we always start a lesson with a realistic dialogue to expose students to real-life language and situations. It’s accompanied by an audio featuring 2 teacher presenters walking students through the new language. The dialogue is further broken down into different sections that focus on vocabulary, expansion sentences, grammar, culture, etc. Each section is designed to be consumed in 15-20 minute chunks and they all circle back to reinforce and expand on the core dialogue. We hope the form factor of smartphones and tablets plus the academic design of a lesson will help students easily spend short chunks of time thourghout the day to listen, prepare, practice and perform the language. Dedicating only small amount of time everyday, but do it frequently will help you make significant progress in learning your target language.