We’re delighted and proud to announce that AAA English from English Language school in Russia have completed their trial period of the GoLearn solution and have decided to continue using GoLearn as their primary English teaching and learning platform.
We sat down with School Director Michael Lang to get his view on AAA’s progress with GoLearn.
Michael Lang Interview
How has using GoLearn impacted the teaching and learning experience at your school?
Over the course of the trial we used GoLearn with 15 individual students. Such was the success of this that we are confident in using GoLearn with many more individual students in the future. This has freed up the teachers’ time for less basic teacher management tasks, such as planning and marking, and given more time to reflect on how to improve the learning experience for the student. I feel this approach has offered a more satisfying experience for the teacher and it became a self-supporting virtuous circle. As the student made deeper, wider, and quicker strides in their English language, the teacher, seeing that the student is reaching their aim, felt an increase in their own value that they bring to the learning partnership. Happy teachers are an essential element in ensuring strong development in any student. In the future, this continual improvement in teacher well-being will feed into the student body which will in turn be happy in its progress in English language learning.
“If you are in an English-speaking country with native speaking students, then I would have no hesitation but to implement GoLearn as your preferred online learning solution. It will free you up to develop a more fun and engaging way to teach English.”
What were the educational challenges you’ve managed to overcome while trialling GoLearn in your school?
My school holds the firm belief that you must win hearts and minds when teaching English. This means that our lessons are built on a foundation that makes language learning fun and engaging. Without this crucial element, especially with young learners, the teacher’s task becomes much harder, akin to pushing water uphill. Therefore, it was encouraging from the get-go when we saw that GoLearn supported our approach. At the first exposure of the students to the initial assessment, (which was wrapped up in an almost-quiz-like task) this education challenge of combining fun and learning has been overcome and all the students who have trialled GoLearn over the last 6 months have enjoyed the experience.
What were the key benefits of using GoLearn for your students?
With GoLearn, grammar and vocabulary are learnt in an environment where language knowledge is assimilated by usage in context. Whether it be a listening or reading challenge, or a comprehension and grammar quiz, the student maintains their position in the centre of the process, in the centre of the language and not transported from exercise to exercise, with one day the focus being on present simple in a sports background and then next day the focus on past simple in tourism and travelling. As a consequence of this, I can say that a second benefit for our students has been a widening of language lexis and a deepening of usage. This improves the student’s confidence (a third benefit) in their English knowledge and so we have seen an increase in the speed of development of our students. Another benefit is that the GoLearn system’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables GoLearn to adjust the level of the difficulty that a student is working on from task to task. This ensures that the student is always challenged enough at the boundary of their current knowledge, but not so challenged that they become frustrated and discouraged if the tasks are beyond their abilities at that particular time. GoLearn’s AI technology brings an added dimension that most other systems don’t have and helps the teacher to be confident that the material being used by the student is at the optimum level. A final benefit I would like to mention is that our Russian students are using the UK Key Stage continual assessment curriculum. As such, they are able to measure their own progress against the standards of an English-speaking native student; that really gives their development a lot of confidence.
What were the key benefits of using GoLearn for your teaching staff?
GoLearn does all the planning and marking for the teacher, which has given us the benefit of having free time to develop a lesson focus that allows us full reign to use supplementary materials in order to deepen and expand the learning process.
In the main, most GoLearn lessons are broken down into 20-minute chunks, which fits in nicely with the standard lesson time in my school of 40-minutes. Consequently, we use the first five minutes as a warmer, based on the context of the GoLearn lesson plan. Then the GoLearn lesson plan is completed. And finally the last 10 to 15 minutes are used by the teacher to introduce material that consolidates the focus of the GoLearn lesson plan. Sometimes, as most lesson plans consist of 2 tasks, the 2nd task might remain unfinished, and the teacher will give that task as a homework assessment for the student to complete. On completion, GoLearn advises the teacher that the piece of work is available for marking. The marking of writing work is the only area where a teacher is required to assess a student’s work, although the teacher can still review each individual task as required. And even then, the assessment is carried out within the recommended guidelines provided by the system.
How has the data from GoLearn’s continuous assessment impacted your approach to teaching?
GoLearn’s continuous assessment has given me a lot more confidence in my understanding of a student’s development. It has given me confidence because the students themselves feel more assured in their own development. The continual feedback that the student receives from GoLearn ensures this. Moreover, all stakeholders are able to understand at any one point in time where the student is situated on the timeline of their language acquisition. Being freed up from the marking requirements needed to assess a student’s development has allowed me to use this time to analyse and consider the student’s progress more deeply and produce other approaches to improve the teaching process and make it even stronger.
What would you say to someone considering using GoLearn?
If you are in an English-speaking country with native speaking students, then I would have no hesitation but to implement GoLearn as your preferred online learning solution. It will free you up to develop a more fun and engaging way to teach English. Moreover, it is very cost-effective. For countries where teaching English as a Foreign Language is the main focus then some more thought is needed. Students starting out on the GoLearn journey need to already have strong English language skills. But once such students are exposed to GoLearn, they, and you, the teacher, will not look back. With regards to young ESL learners, I understand that GoLearn is in the process of developing a Key Stage 1 unit for 5- to 7-year-olds.
What is it about GoLearn that stands out the most to you?
Most of all GoLearn frees up the teacher’s time to build on the confidence boost that the system gives the student and allows the teacher to expand the horizons of the teaching process.
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