We are excited to announce that we are taking on a new direction of bringing #one_on_one#peer_to_peer#interaction in #foreign_language to high schools and universities across the world. We envision that high school students will be teaching their native language to their peers in the classroom using our platform at the price of an app.
Most states and most private schools require students to take at least 2 years of foreign language classes in the US. However, these classes are mostly focused on theory, reading, grammar rules (all the boring stuff) and completely lack the one-on-one interaction in the language being learned. As a result, nobody is able to speak the language they are learning after the course is complete. Only a small percentage gain sufficient proficiency and to improve speaking and comprehension ability. Many study abroad to improve their abilities, which is NOT cheap.
We have an idea
Bring the experience of studying abroad directly into the classroom. After all we have free video conferencing already available. When students go to study abroad they mostly learn from their peers through personal interaction and less from the actual teachers. On top of that, most teachers are looking for more a personalized learning approach to bring into their classroom. So what's stopping schools from adopting this relatively obvious solution?
Fear of Loosing Control
Academicians have always been reluctant to embrace the change precisely for the reason of loosing control. We hope that our solution will convince them to try.
Can high school students be effective instructors of their native language?
Students are already teaching each other by collaborating on take home projects, interacting during and after school, and across social media. Yes, there is an opportunity for inappropriate behavior. Doing this during classroom time minimizes those possibilities and creates an environment where interactions can be safe on either end of the connection.
But what will be the actual teaching process and how can we promise the teacher that they will retain control and sustain accountability? Click here and find out.
How to find the kids from other countries that will reciprocate
This is something we've already been testing and, considering how much red tape there is in high schools to adopt new solutions in the US, it makes us very skeptical that we will be able to convince high school officials to do it oversees. Also, English teaching brings quite a bit of income to English teachers in the rest of the world and this solution of $10 a month per student could be perceived as a threat. Therefore, we've decided to reach out to the parents of teenagers in some Central American countries and are currently testing some marketing campaigns there.
We truly believe that this will bring immersion into a foreign language through one-on-one interaction at a fraction of cost and hence democratize foreign language learning. Everyone will be able to afford to learn a foreign language, not only those who have enough money to go and study abroad or those who are currently paying $20- $40 a lesson for an English tutor. Additionally, the students who will learn how to use our platform can join our marketplace and make money on the side. The instructors set their own rate and we keep only a small percentage. This will create an opportunity for Rural and Inner-City American teenagers to earn $15-$25 an hour.
In the end we hope that this exposure to other cultures during high school years will create lasting friendships for people across different cultures and have an impact on the society overall.
Because there is such a high demand in the world for English (close 2 billion by some estimates), we have to find young people who are able to teach English and start here in the US. Depending on which language they are currently taking in their school, we will be looking for the students from other countries who will reciprocate. The idea is that they will educate each other and let the actual teacher monitor the process.
Diversity of Languages
According to edweek.org Spanish represents 46% and French 23% of what's being offered in the US high schools right now. As we add more schools we will be asking kids what language they would like to learn and not just offer Spanish, French or Mandarin and expand our offering to those countries as well. We hope that will help students sustain motivation.
We understand that it won't be easy to convince the higher-ups to give this a shot and we can't promise that we won't encounter some obstacles on the way. Logistics, time difference or any number of unforeseen obstacles can create minor difficulties. But we are hoping to find people who are not afraid to try something different especially since the existing approach failed time and time again.
If you found this idea interesting, please sign up below and we will set up a call.