To become innovative, we need to look at the situation from a new angle, never used before. There are thousands of English Language Training Centers (LTCs) in China using a multitude of different methods for teaching English with a rather limited success. I believe that there are a couple reasons that explain why many Chinese can read and write in English, and few can speak fluently. In my opinion, the reasons are:
1.     LTCs teach English as information to be remembered.
2.    LTCs use passive learning teaching, which is less efficient than modern active learning.
English is not a knowledge set to be memorized
We spend years in school learning a lot of subjects. Schools teach most subjects using textbooks, lectures, notes, memorization and tests. The only problem is that language skills cannot be learned in this way, any more than you can learn to play the guitar or drive a car by reading or even memorizing the instruction manuals.  That is why after learning English for three plus years, you are still not able to communicate in it fluently. English is not a knowledge set to be memorized; rather it is a skill to be acquired by practicing under guided instruction or by using mobile application with the new pedagogy of active learning.

This article is aimed at adults learning English
This article is for adults learning English. Children do not have this problem and acquire any language in their environment subconsciously by forming direct links from images and concepts to words and phrases in the new language. So every language that a child learns becomes native to him. Children preserve this ability until about 12 years of age.
It is hard to persuade teachers that English is a skill to be trained since they believe that the only option for teaching it due to large class size is to lecture about the language.There is a much better solution that I will describe after elaborating on why all conventional methods involve passive learning. 
We only remember about 20% of what we hear 
According to the Learning Pyramid, we remember about 20% of what we hear. Speaking more, by itself, will not improve your vocabulary and grammar; actually, it can make things worse. To acquire language patterns and intuitive grammar - it is not enough to speak because you are just practicing what you already know. Some teachers think that because their learners spend 80% of class time speaking in English, they use active learning method.However, in reality, only one person speaks at a time, and the rest of the class passively listens.
Speaking makes language learning active: multiple use of all skills
The learning becomes active when each learner spends 80% of class time speaking in English. It seems that we have reached a dead end. How on Earth could you have all learners to speak all the time? No conventional method allows for that.
However, the unconventional method called the Language Bridge Technology (LBT) allows exactly this —active training of English skills.  LBT is a perfect combination of modern technology with new pedagogy. It helps learners start speaking English fluently in less than a year. To learn English effectively, it is not enough to read or listen or write or speak – all those skills should be practiced concurrently while a learner understands the context and is emotionally involved in it. 
Speech shadowing and drills
LBT introduces speech shadowing of lessons and drills that all learners wearing headsets, perform at the same time. This allows the brain to remember language patterns and intuitive grammar, and prepare it for thinking and speaking in English. Each learner, using the LBT application, speaks 80% of the time in class about familiar situations and concepts they understand. The application provides support in Mandarin when the learner needs it, but the main experience is in English. 
The application lets learners share recorded sessions with friends or with a teacher. Three types of texts are used in every lesson:
          1. Pre-recorded lessons on various topics and drills, which ensure training of language skills instead of memorizing vocabulary lists or grammar rules.
          2. Lessons added by a learner or a teacher, thus making the application interactive and suited for vocational training.
          3. Inspirational poem recorded by a native speaker, which allows learners to re-enact an understandable situation in English.
Signing up for the online language course
If you want to become fluent in English in less than a year, you may sign up for this online course here
This course offers a stress-free training environment instead of the stressful learning and memorization of the traditional methods. It combines self-paced self-training using the content of the course. For those who want to boost their experience by adding to the course the LBT android application we will provide the link on Alibaba to download it. After downloading it and installing all lessons you may use it anywhere anytime without the need to be connected to the Internet.  
Combine guided learning with self-study through mobile applications
This course is for students and teachers who want to encourage students to combine guided learning with self-study through mobile applications. We offer technical support for teachers implementing active training of EFL using LBT. Learners have access to the course content anywhere, anytime because the course is platform-independent. With this course, the learner starts speaking actively before he or she memorizes the rules of grammar or vocabulary lists. 
You may use this video for speech shadowing: read the text, listen to the recording and speak at the same time. This is the main drill of Active Training of English Skills.

by Arkady Zilberman

Arkady Zilberman

During many years of Arkady’s work as a scientist and simultaneous interpreter, he was trying to find an answer to the question: why do some people like him learn a foreign language easily, whereas most adults have such a hard time learning a foreign language that they simply give up? After many years of experimenting during simultaneous interpretation and doing research on how adults learn foreign languages, Arkady made a few discoveries on his website and in his Amazon Kindle eBook:

Arkady offers the patented Language Bridge Technology for free licensing for the first year to Language Training Centers in China. 

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 12:12

ESL: Teaching Reading to Young Learners

Reading is 'dreaming with your eyes open'. Teaching reading to young learners activates their imagination and enables children to master intonation and word stress from a young age. Reading also passively teaches punctuation and grammar. These skills are very important in achieving near-native English skills.
Using Technology to Teach Reading

I teach reading to young learners aged 7-9 in my English corners. As a modern teacher, I use my iPad and free online fairy tale books from my (Chinese) App Store. I have found a variety of free interactive books from TabTale.
Before we start reading, we play a ball game to review what we read during the previous English Corner. This allows them to physically warm up (it's winter), and to get ready for an hour of English only. I do not have an assistant teacher in these reading English corner sessions, so a good warm-up activity is essential.
Interactive Fairytales: Repeated Listening

Once our heart rate is up and our lungs are filled with good laughs, it’s time to listen to a fairy tale. The fairy tales are interactive and during the first listening they enjoy moving the characters and copying their voices. (I encourage them to go crazy – I believe children learn best when they don’t feel boxed in)

The first listening is for them to make out what the story is about and for them to settle down from a hyped-up warmer. The second listening is often calmer, as they know which characters move and they are aware of what is going on. During this session they listen more intently to the words in the interactive story and the sounds of the reader.

New Words in the Story
Inevitably there are new words they learn with each fairy tale; we play an interactive counting game to practice the new words e.g. 1 Witch, 2 Huntsmen, 1 Huntsman, 2 witches.  an apple, 2 oranges. etc…
Our third and final listening/reading is easy on the ear for them because they know the full story and understand all the new words. I read to them and ensure I stress each syllable and repeat each word and ask them to repeat after me as I read along. This helps the young learners greatly with pronunciation and correct word stress. 

Get the Students Reading Themselves
We then activate “read to myself”. I pick my strongest student to read the first page while the others listen, fairy tales from TabTale are often 15 – 20 pages long. Because each page is interactive, the reader has exclusive “rights” to the iPad. We each take turns reading. I encourage silly eyes and faces while they are reading. This allows me to see which student understands the story and which one doesn’t; a handy tip for teachers teaching reading to young learners! 

Teaching Reading: Difficulties in Pronunciation

Difficulties in word pronunciation come up while reading and I encourage them to correct each other. I only step in when none of my students know how to say the word. Fairy tales usually have simple language but occasionally words such as “conscientious” pop up and I step in, but aside from that, I encourage the kids to help each other read.

Doing Puzzles After the Relay Reading
After relay reading, that is, the students assisting each other to read and teaching reading in repeated steps, we do a jigsaw puzzle of the characters from the fairy tale. Each student relays the part of the story the puzzle refers to. There are a few good jigsaw puzzle programs you can use to make your own jigsaw puzzles online.

Read Once More a Little Faster
After the puzzle, we read once again, this time at a slightly faster pace than before. They enjoy it because they try to reader faster, louder and better than I do. After our third reading, we do a colouring activity in which each student gets to color in their favourite book character and say why they like that character.

The Final 10 Minutes of the Reading Class
By now I have about 10 minutes to the end of the reading class and I ask a volunteer to read. I usually have a child who is ready to show off their reading skills. They read and everyone reads and repeats after them. Then, each student has a sentence each and we read the book from start to finish. 

Same format, different story
The beauty of using the same format for different fairy tales (it’s important to always have a different fairy tale for each session), is they become accustomed to what is expected of them and have fun whilst reading in the class. The first week can be chaotic, as most Chinese students are not used to reading a long fairy tale all at once and mastering it in an hour. I have found that after three weeks of using the same format but different fairy tales, you will start to notice just how much better your students read than when they started. Teaching reading to Young Learners is a wonderful way to improve a broad range of laguage skills and I would encourage all teachers to incorporate reading into their classes.

by Rene Elliott

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