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AI-Powered Digital Lessons for Global English Learners
Anyone who has ever tried to learn a foreign language knows that it is not easy. It takes a lot of time, a lot of energy, and a lot of determination. In fact, the time required for Japanese speakers to obtain proficiency in English is estimated to be over 2,500 hours of intentional study (Inagaki, 2005). Scholars such as Nation (2007) also highlight the importance of "time on task", and argue that in order to learn to read and write you have to read and write a lot. In the 21st Century, non-native speakers of English are in the majority, and English is used as a global Lingua Franca. This means that English learners should be engaging with and producing English as a global language. And as we all know from our experiences during the pandemic, students need to be able to access learning content and activities whether face-to-face, fully online, or anywhere in between. Bearing these facts in mind, the speaker introduces "ZenGengo Academy", a new AI-powered content solution for Japanese learners of English at the A2 to B1 CEFR level. ZenGengo Academy contains one-hundred lessons of effective and engaging content, from Mario to the Titanic, from Flamingos, to Sustainable Development Goals. Each lesson contains five interactive activities that require students to both comprehend and produce English in a variety of forms. Teachers can easily keep track of how long students have spent studying, and how well they have understood the content. Supplementing classroom-based study with ZenGengo Academy increases time-on-task and provides learners with much-needed exposure to global Englishes.
Inagaki, S. (2005). How Long Does it Take for Japanese Speakers to Learn English?. 言語と文化, (4), 19-29. Nation, P. (2007). The four strands. International Journal of Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 2-13.
Paul Raine (MA TEFL/TESL, University of Birmingham 2012) is an award-winning teacher, presenter, author, and developer. His books include the best-selling 50 Ways to Teach with Technology and the innovative multi-path graded reader Journey to Mars. He has helped design and develop several websites for teachers and learners of EFL, including abaxlms.com and zengengo.com. He has published numerous research articles on the teaching and learning of English as a second language, and is particularly interested in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). He currently teaches at two universities in the Tokyo area.