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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.

 

VivaLing language academy for kids

A Foreign Online Language Academy for Kids Enters China

微龄:专业儿童在线外语教育登陆中国

2016年11月12日,首家国际儿童多语言在线教育学院微龄在中国正式上线。微龄总部位于新加坡,提供针对儿童的英语、法语、西班牙语及德语在线课程。自2013年创办以来,全球学员遍布30多个国家,得到家长及相关教育机构一致好评。

针对儿童在线教育的专业师资

微龄专业儿童语言教师均为纯正母语者,全部拥有本科或研究生学历。所有教练不仅拥有TESOL英文教学资格证,而且均通过专门针对儿童在线教学的VOLT- YL的培训和考核认证。

据了解,目前国内已有多家在线教育机构,但教师培训及认证情况并不乐观。儿童教育专家指出,对于儿童语言在线教育,教师的培训尤为重要。因为儿童获取语言的方式和成人有很大差异,如果没有专门针对儿童的学习特性进行相关培训,那么教学效果很有可能并不理想。 “而目前国内多数学校所宣称的TESL/TEFL培训认证体系并非直接针对儿童,也不适合在线教学。” 微龄学习部总管Abbie Adeyeri介绍道,“不仅如此,教师所使用的课程体系同样需要针对儿童在线教育而特别开发”

微龄基于英国诺丁汉大学所研发PCA语言教学法,推出ViLLA©儿童在线语言学习框架。该体系针结合儿童大脑发育特点及微龄多年实际教学经验,约定了儿童语言学习的基础,微龄相对应的教学法、使用工具,以及优秀教练应具备的能力等,更适用于儿童在线学习环境。

个性教学开发儿童语言天赋

“个性是孩子的天性。对于儿童语言教学来说,寻找孩子的兴趣点,发挥孩子天性尤为重要”微龄联合创始人王子涵说道。

据相关研究结果显示,通过充分调动儿童学习积极性,儿童学习成绩可提高达43%。微龄所使用的ViLLA©儿童在线语言学习系统,就明确将以儿童兴趣为导向的上课方式作为其核心,并以此最大程度开发儿童语言潜能。

王子涵向记者说道: “没有孩子不喜欢学习外语,只是传统的教学法往往难以调动孩子积极性。微龄的个性化课程能够精准找到每一位孩子的独特个性,结合孩子的性格和喜好来量身打造最让他心动的个性化课程。不仅让孩子成绩提高,更让他乐在其中。”

http://m.sohu.com/n/473421036/?_trans_=000115_3w