motivation languages vivaling

If interest isn’t the best teacher, then what is?!

motivation languages vivaling

Many great educators believe that motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic, is where interest originates.  The sense of satisfaction a student gains from having  learned something is example of Intrinsic motivation.  The student is subsequently motivated to learn more. An extrinsically motivated student, on the other hand, studies for different reasons, such as receiving a reward or avoiding a penalty.

Every child has different levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for any given task. The ultimate goal of all motivational development is, of course, to engender intrinsic motivation in all students. It is vital for educators and parents to have patience and to work towards this goal, step by step.

Here are some tips, from VivaLing’s educators, on how to motivate young learners.

motivation languages vivaling

Stop comparing and give some thumbs up…

“Look, Donald’s son got A in Maths.”

“Your friend Jillian came  first in writing competition!”,

If this is the sort of thing you tell your kids, please stop now!

We all know that competitiveness can be a driving force when it comes to performing well, but it also has negative effects such as stress, loss of confidence, depression, etc.

Why not give your kids more encouragement? Provide them with positive feedback and help them set realistic expectations.  Give them a thumbs when they reach a milestone!

Studies have shown that encouragement helps to build self-esteem, motivation, and cooperation in children. Note that encouragement is not the same as praise. The effect of encouragement “You shared your book. Thank you!” is quite different from the effect of praise  “You’re such a good boy!” Parents and educators should always aim to give their compliments with details- be constructive. It makes more sense to the kids, and will help to motivate them further.

gamification vivaling

 

Gamifying the learning process

Gamification is a  technique that is rapidly gaining popularity, when it comes to engaging learners  in the e-learning field. It’s not about getting students to  make up their own games, or about playing commercially-made video games. It’s about applying game-related principles – particularly those relating to user experience and engagement – to facilitate learning and influence student behavior.

Compared to traditional learning, which focuses on meeting specific learning outcomes, gamification offers many possible benefits.  Gamification promotes a fun, relaxed learning environment that will ultimately foster intrinsic motivation along the way.

It is worth highlighting that customised gamification can further boost a student’s interest. Remember the picture of Elsa at the beginning of this article? VivaLing coaches build a rapport with young learners by tailoring the teaching materials to the student’s interests and making it fun!

 

interest vivaling

Stories always help

From the Aesop’s Fables to modern, inspirational picture books, good stories can always empower kids with positive energy and sow the seeds of imagination.

Reading a story together is also important. According to OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), telling stories or reading books to children when they are very young is strongly related to how well they read and how much they enjoy reading later on.

Good educators always engage students with story telling and role play.  This motivates students to explore the world of books, helping them to gain more from reading and studying later on.

teaching online

5 myths about Online Language Teaching

So you’ve been thinking about teaching online. You have likely taken an online course yourself, so you believe you have a pretty good idea about what the job entails. Hmmm…. You may need to think again. Your conventional notions may deceive you.

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1-Teaching online is a career supplement (not a career).

The scene is shifting. As we’ve shared before, 53% of education professionals believe real-time video collaboration and mobile devices will be the primary way students engage with content by 2025. As more and more content moves online, so does the demand for quality educational professionals to oversee, manage, and deliver that content.

With a global company, teaching online can be teaching without borders. A teacher in one location may be able to teach learners in different time zones throughout their day, making a good living from their home office if they choose to do so. However, teaching online also offers the flexibility to organize one’s work schedule around other personal or professional commitments as life demands.

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2-Teaching online is a lonely job without colleagues.

It’s true that many opportunities for online learning operate like a marketplace. This is business. You are the service provider. They do the marketing for you. They drag you in and lure you with the promise of more customers. You compete with other providers, more often than not on price, which far too often ends up being dreadfully low.  Once you are in, you are on your own. The platform’s involvement is to get a commission on your lessons. You have no colleagues. You have no support. You are entirely free if this is what you are seeking – free and alone.

With a team of like-minded professionals, it doesn’t have to be so isolating. What if online schools operated like, well, schools? Teachers should be able team up to share best practices, discuss a student’s progress or learning needs, come together regularly to brainstorm ideas and resources, or just chat. At VivaLing, teachers are our greatest asset. As such, we offer them a collaborative environment where they can thrive through helping each other reach a common purpose – to impact the lives and learning of young children.

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3- Teaching online is impersonal and monotonous.

As one VivaLing Coach puts it, “Distance increases proximity.” Are you baffled by the paradox?  While teaching online, you are meeting your students in their world (both physically and generationally). They open up through the little window that is their screen, diving into the magical internet tunnel, dedicating unparalleled attention to the interaction, and building an incredibly strong bond with their coach. How do we know it? They tell us. Their eyes tell us. Their smiles tell us. The eagerness to join their daily or weekly session tells us.

Seeing each learner in their world also reveals just how different they are: their interests, their personalities, their preferences for learning. By customizing the lesson based on the child’s interests, pace, and level, you increase the learning effectiveness and student engagement. And with online tools for adaptive learning and spaced repetition, a truly personalized learning experience is just a click away. Each learning experience is entirely different and unique, far from impersonal and monotonous.

Of course, this only applies to online schools that recognize the importance of differentiation and building a strong rapport with learners. Unfortunately, most online schools rotate teachers and learners around as if they were interchangeable. Perhaps they even mandate you to teach a rigid curriculum or provide you with a script of exactly what to say. Such an environment can quickly lose any hope for creativity or connection with learners, which are often the very elements which attract us to teaching in the first place.

teaching online VivaLing

4- Teaching online doesn’t allow for career advancement.

Connected to the first myth above, as more and more educational content moves online, so does the need for teachers who don’t just know how to utilize technology, but who can enhance it through smart implementation combined with an exploitation of uniquely human qualities. Great teachers are and will be those who have become experts at motivating, personalizing, and interacting with their learners. The best online academies will develop them, recognize them, and promote them to reward their professional growth.

But it does not stop there. As the integration of automation into the learning process is being perfected, there is a need for teachers to utilize their many talents in new and creative ways. Traditional materials and methods must be adapted and optimized for the online environment, new standards for teaching and learning must be set, and new innovations must constantly evolve to meet the needs of the next generation’s workforce.

As experts in content, cognition, and delivery, teachers are the best-suited to lead these efforts when they are appointed as full-fledged members of their academies’ Learning teams. At VivaLing, for instance, all of our Master Coaches, teacher supervisors, teacher trainers, teacher recruiters, Language Consultants, and many more were initially hired by the academy as Coaches – myself included.

teaching online VivaLing

5-Teaching online is just like teaching offline.

It takes work…a lot of work, especially in the beginning, to adapt your years of classroom-tested activities, back-pocket games, and wealth of resources to a completely new environment. You aren’t just moving to a new classroom. You are moving to a new universe with different rules, new tools, entirely different class dynamics, and a new generation of learners who are likely more adept at online learning than you are.

It doesn’t come naturally, and you must be trained in many new skills and tools. However, online teacher training courses like VivaLing’s VOLT-YL course  can prepare you for the exciting adventure into online teaching through the perfect blend of knowledge, training, collaboration, rehearsal, and teaching practice.

How many of the myths above did you think were true? The correct answer is that none of them have to be. Keep in mind, however, that not all online schools were created equal. Choose wisely and you can build yourself a successful career path.

 

by Abbie Adeyeri

Man vs Robot - VivaLing

Teaching languages to children : Man vs. Robot

At the recent EdTechXAsia 2016 event, an eminent speaker confirmed what all have been witnessing: contrary to initial fears, technology has not replaced teachers. But, he warned, “teachers proficient with technology will very soon replace those who are not.” The speaker knew what he was talking about : he was none other than  Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State at the Ministry of Education of Singapore, the country that topped all global PISA rankings in 2016.

The digital leap and the rise of the (good) teacher are two of three current mega trends that we previously explored while reflecting on the future of language learning.  These two phenomena are intertwined. With the coexistence of Man and Robot, there will be dramatic adjustments and power shifts. There will be winners and losers. At this stage you may be wondering what to do to remain off the endangered species list.

We very much agree with Dr Puthucheary’’s view that teachers’ inherent value is increased by their ability to leverage technology. As a facilitator in an enhanced learning environment, the tech-enabled teacher offers more and better learning choices to her students. But this is only the beginning of the story. The rest of the story is that many teaching tasks are now performed better by machines than they are by humans. “Better” can be understood as more consistently, more accurately, more effortlessly, more teaching-effectively or more cost-effectively. Is there any need left for humans when it comes to enunciating a grammar rule, teaching vocabulary, drilling, correcting pronunciation, consolidating knowledge? There isn’t. As a matter of fact, when a teaching task can be fully and unambiguously described as “specialized, routine, predictable” (as Martin Ford, the author of The Rise of the Robots, put it in 2015), chances are machines have already taken over.
The saving grace for teachers is that several of the language learning drivers (as introduced in VivaLing’s ViLLA © ) remain much better activated nowadays by Man than they are by Robot. Let us go over these language learning drivers, from the least to the most favourable of Man over Robot.

 

Man vs Robot - VivaLing

  1. Consolidation. In addition to the natural occurrence during sleeping phases, knowledge consolidation happens when memory is retrieved at the right time and in the right manner.  Robots are already more effective at implementing well-known spaced repetition algorithms. They are also improving at memory retrieval techniques which diversify the ways a given piece of knowledge is tested, activated or reinforced.
  2. Language quantity. Computers are already tireless when it comes to offering unlimited language input to learners. Their ability to bring about learner output i.e. language production, however, is more difficult to control. As to providing feedback, today it can only happen in very structured environments such as Multiple Choice Questions or True / False questions, but not in natural language.
  3. Attention. Is the learner’s attention wandering randomly? A teacher can help them focus on the right elements. Machines can too, when highlighting specific elements to focus on. But the risk remains that the learner’s attention will just drift away, in the absence of a “big brother” watching and with the computer environment sometimes even adding to the distraction.
  4. Motivation. Machines have already made significant progress to satisfy extrinsic motivation by providing badges and rewards. But humans still have a significant edge by the timely and adapted encouragement they can provide with the right choice of words and body language. They can also outperform machines in personalization (content and pace), which greatly enhances learner motivation. However truly adaptive learning is high on robot makers’ roadmap and catching up fast.
  5. Social interaction. This is where the ultimate human advantage lies. Social interaction is an absolute requirement for younger children, and strongly recommended for true communicative language learning at all ages. As long as robots cannot fool children, human teachers will remain more effective at teaching. A few weeks ago, a famous US language app at the leading edge of technological disruption launched its chat bots. But after trying them out, we were surprised to note that these bots chat only in writing and in a rigidly structured context, make unexpected grammar mistakes and even used … suspiciously flirtatious vocabulary. They are still very far from matching authentic human interaction.

When adding a historical perspective to all the language-learning drivers, it becomes apparent that Robots are increasingly encroaching on what used to be Man’s exclusive teaching territory. For some drivers, such as consolidation or language quantity, the Robot has already made huge inroads and will soon undeniably and irreversibly overtake Man. Regarding other drivers, such as social interaction, Robots are further or even much further off. But let us keep in mind that Google’s AlphaGo beat the world’s best Go player in the world decades before it was anticipated. Artificial intelligence is making steady progress and it will most likely take no more than a generation or two for a bot to fool a child language learner.

 

Man vs Robot - VivaLing 2

It is even more important today for teachers to master the technology that is available, and to elevate their teaching skills to specific domains and levels still protected from the rise of the Robot. If a teacher is simply requested to deliver a pre-scripted lesson without being able to deviate from it, let there be no mistake: the teacher will be replaced by a Robot before they know it. But if they nurture the pedagogical expertise and social skills to truly offer a superior language learning experience to the learner, they will thrive.

Teachers are not naturally equipped with these skills, and are not sufficiently prepared to embrace their human advantages in traditional teacher training programs. This is why programs such as VivaLing’s VOLT-YL  for teaching languages to children online are progressively preparing them adjust to the fast-changing teaching paradigms.

 

future-of-education

The Future of Education: what will Education look like in 2025?

According to the professionals who participated in the new 2025 Education Innovation Survey Report *, in 2025 the key methods of engaging with material and content will evolve to be real-time video collaboration and mobile devices. What are the 5 key trends for the future of education? VivaLing would like to share the main takeaways of this report with you.

 

future-of-education

 

  • The ability to learn anywhere and at any time

Accessibility for all those who want to learn is considered to be the most important factor in the future of education success. Schoolprofessionals from around the globe (25%) ranked accessibility above all other factors; this view was most pronounced in respondents from the UK (31%). In the context of education, accessibility refers to the geographical aspect: that distance is overcome in order to deliver education to where it is needed. Convenient access to education is also factored in: that students and professionals have the ability to learn anywhere and at any time.

  • Real-time video collaboration with real teachers

67% of school professionals consider the focal point of education delivery to be the teachers and lecturers themselves.  However, the use of remote learning technologies in teaching is expected to rise significantly: 53% of professionals believe real-time video collaboration and mobile devices will be the primary way students engage with content by 2025. Despite this shift, many professionals still believe that the teachers and lecturers will continue to play an important mentoring role in 2025.

By allowing an engaging, accessible, and cost-effective approach to education, technology opens up the prospect of higher education, personalized courses, and teacher-training to a much broader population.”

  • Improving the quality of teacher-learning, and personalized and contextual learning should be the main focus

A majority of teaching professionals across the globe are convinced that the main focus, after deregulation and revised compliance standards, should be on improving the quality of teacher learning. Those in North America (18%) and in India (21%) feel that the creation of a more personalized and contextual learning would also be worth focusing on.

 

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  • More online access to education materials

According to 47% of the people interviewed (the majority being from North America and the UK) online access to content and lectures is what students and parents are demanding more of, from the   institutions.

  • More resource sharing online and self-learning for teachers

In 2025, resource sharing via online channels will better facilitate teachers’ professional development. School professionals see teachers sharing resources within online environments and becoming more independent in identifying their own professional learning needs.

NB: This survey covers mainly North America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. The rest of Asia is not covered.  However the trend towards online education in Asia is much stronger, especially in China.

* 2025 Education Innovation Survey Report by Polycom. More than 1,800 people from a range of professions within the education industry participated in the survey, with more than 80% above the age of 30. The majority of response comes from North America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. The majority of participants were management and c-suite (26%), educators (47%) and those in administrative roles (27%).

http://www.polycom.com.au/forms/education-2025-thankyou.html

 

Back-To-School-test

Why is game-based learning so effective?

A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”

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The concept of game-based learning is not new. Plato asserted the importance of the role of play in children’s education, in his work, The Laws. In the fifteenth century, people were already teaching the alphabet and mathematics to children in attractive ways, using card games or counting biscuits. The use of games as a learning tool is a pivotal theme for child psychologists. In the early thirties Piaget formulated a serious of developmental stages in children’s play, which highlighted the importance of play in relation to children’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.

Today, all experts in the field of child development agree on the usefulness and effectiveness of learning through play. When children play, they discover, create, improvise and learn. According to Lev Vygotsky, games are the main source of children’s physical, social and cognitive development. Psychologist David Elkind, also asserts that games, while being source of creativity, are essentially a fundamental mode of learning.

Professionals everywhere, recognize that play and school work are not two separate categories; for children, creation, action and learning are inextricably linked.

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Motivation, social skills and knowledge structuring

According to Dr. Fraser Mustard, playing games increases intelligence, stimulates imagination, encourages creative problem solving and helps to develop confidence, self-esteem and a positive attitude to learning.

The virtues of educational games are indeed numerous: children develop the ability to relate to others, to negotiate, discuss, collaborate and share emotions and ideas. They bond and develop friendships, learn to work in teams and enjoy competing with one another. Competition between players enhances learners’ motivation.

Games also promote the structuring of knowledge; they allow the learner to build and organize patterns or representations in order to understand a concept or a situation. Thus, games improve and reinforce learning.

Games and language learning

How do games contribute to language learning?

Language experts recognize several advantages to using games in language courses:
• They help to break up the monotony of a course.
• They are motivating and challenging.
• They help to maintain effort.
• They offer the opportunity to practice oral and written skills, in the form of comprehension and expression.
• They encourage learners to interact and communicate.
• They create an interesting, authentic context for language use.

For games to be effective, teachers must take into account the number of learners, the level of language proficiency, the duration and theme of the lesson as well as the learners’ cultural background. Above all, teachers must adapt and tailor games to the specific learning situation.

At VivaLing, all of our coaches are trained to exploit the spectrum of digital resources available, in order to make the learning of English, Chinese, Spanish and French playful and interactive, and as a result, highly effective.

So what are you waiting for? Register your child at VivaLing now!

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The future of language learning

Three mega trends are currently shaping the future of second language learning.

 

  • The digital leap

 

The advent of digitalization came with a three-fold promise from the very onset: increased reach, decreased cost, and enhanced learning outcomes. The first two were pretty obvious. By going online, learning content could reach anyone with an internet connection and would be accessible at a fraction of the cost of traditional education. MOOCs (massive open online classes) were born – although the great initial expectations would later give way to some disappointment.

But even greater was the revolution leading to enhanced learning outcomes. Its basic principle laid in personalization: teaching to the learner’s individual needs. Long gone was the age when personalization merely amounted to choosing subjects and electives or to self-pacing one’s progression. In its most sophisticated form, powered by a heavy dose of technology and science, personalization came to be known as adaptive learning: when a machine could identify the learner’s strengths and weaknesses along the journey and subtly adjust the learning pace and content accordingly. Elusive at first, it is slowly rising to stardom due to its elegance and considerable impact on learning effectiveness.

 

  • The comeback of (great) teachers

Amidst the initial craze for education technology, many were quick to herald no less than the end of teachers. This notice of termination was at best very, very premature – and most likely completely erroneous. Within a few years, emerging from the hangover, technology resumed its role as a very valuable supplement to teachers, rather than a replacement of them. Teachers are indispensable in their ability to guide and motivate their students. In the case of language learning for young learners, research has shown that social interaction is a prerequisite to learning.

Teachers will remain central in providing social interaction until bots powered by artificial intelligence can deceive language learners in this new avatar of the Turing test. This leaves teachers, say, at least one generation. However, emerging tools are already replacing teachers for increasingly sophisticated tasks. To stay on top, teachers need to embrace a continuously evolving role, reinforcing their strengths in “humanness” to establish a strong rapport with their learners, mastering new technologies and tools, upgrading to higher value-adding tasks, and seizing new opportunities at their disposal. In a word, teachers will need to reposition. Less skilled teachers will disappear and great teachers will thrive. Interestingly, very little is done to guide teachers through this transition, whereas they should be cherished by their employers for the determining role they play in education and the irreplaceable value they bring to the table.

 

  • The rise of outsourcing

Ask any school principal and they will tell you at length how difficult it is to recruit competent language teachers, especially outside of large, sought-after urban centers. Once recruited, it is equally difficult to keep their skills current and equip them with the right tools. To top it all off, after proper training comes the biggest challenge of all retaining them. This should not come as a surprise. Teaching languages to young learners requires scale, expertise and resources that are easier to attain for a limited number of global-expert providers than for a large number of schools. This is why the outsourcing of language learning has already started amongst the most progressive schools on all continents.  We foresee that it will develop into a massive trend.

Sound unlikely? Look around. Until the late 90’s, all IT departments were entrenched within the walls of companies and it appeared to be the only way.  Yet over a relatively short period of time, it became apparent that many things could be done more effectively and efficiently outside than in-house. This led to massive outsourcing of manpower and services, culminating in large-scale web services.

 

We will be discussing these three topics and their repercussions further in our upcoming posts: the digital leap, the comeback of the great teacher and the unstoppable rise of outsourcing. In the meantime we want to hear your thoughts!