Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Linguist System

by AJ

Ive had a chance now to play around with The Linguist's system and Im impressed. I think its a great way to learn a language.

As a tutor/coach, my job is to lead group discussions (using Skype) and also to have short 1 to 1 conversations with students. I like Steve Kaufman's philosophy... he considers encouragement to be the number one job of the coach. In other words, he recognizes that emotional factors are THE biggest obstacle to success. An optimistic way to put this is-- a great attitude is THE key to language learning success.

In addition to leading discussions, Ill also be correcting/rewriting student's essays. This approach reminds me of the "focused rewrite technique" used by Dr. Ashley Hastings. The idea is that simple corrections are not helpful because they provide very little input. Therefore, the teacher not only corrects mistakes, s/he replaces the mistakes with CORRECT PHRASES OR SENTENCES that are common to proficient native speaking writers. Its a very small and simple distinction, but important. Important because the student not only learns what was wrong, but also learns how better to say (write) what they were trying to communicate.

The Linguist encourages students to save these new phrases and review them often.. thus absorbing them into their knowledge base.

Though all of the above are nice features, truth be told, its the teacher-less aspects of the system that most impress me. Students can, at any time of day or night, access a huge library of reading and audio material. This material is seamlessly connected to an online dictionary. While reading, the student needs only to highlight an unknown word in order to find its meaning (in both English and their native language).

Furthermore, the student can then, with one click, save this word to a personal database. This database saves not only the word, but multiple examples of the word in context. These examples are drawn from material the student is reading or already has read.

All of this reading material is also available in audio form... which students can download to an MP3 in order to listen repeatedly throughout the day. At home on the computer, they can review their saved words and phrases, choose & read new material, save new words/phrases, and then download the new article's audio file.

The Linguist gives the student maximum learning for their time and effort.

As such, I think Im more excited to join as a Spanish student (coming soon) than as a teacher !!!

San Francisco, CA