The Learn English Kids website. Copyright: Mat Wright
John Worne, Director of Corporate HQ for the British Council, blogs about the digital technologies that are helping the British Council’s aim to develop a wider knowledge of the English language around the world, and how these are being used.
If you have it, you take it for granted. But English is the world’s ‘most wanted’ skill. A conservative estimate suggests 1.2 billion people are learning English, and millions more are working hard to teach them in state education systems worldwide.
There is so much English content on the web you might think ‘job done’. But learning English – like any language or subject – requires proper curriculum structure, quality pedagogy, stimulating learning materials and fun.
That’s why I was immensely proud to receive this comment from a Primary School teacher in Vietnam, which was sent to me by our LearnEnglish Kids Website Manager:
Can’t be more exciting!
My name’s Nguyen Thu Ha. I’m an English teacher at Lien Minh primary school in Vinh Yen town, Vinh Phuc province in Vietnam. Nowadays, there are many websites for learning and teaching English. But since I first visited “Learnenglishkids.org.uk”, I’ve found it’s the most amazing website. Being well designed with abundant resources, the website is useful for not only teachers but also children and parents. My children find it very easy and interesting to learn English through songs, stories and games that are very lively and close to their everyday life. My students have good opportunities to improve all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Especially, native speakers help them enhance correct and natural pronunciation day by day. The website definitely offers me many benefits. I use resources from the site for my daily lessons to make learning English no more hard or boring but really exciting and attractive. Today I use songs for Warm up, games for Revision, another day I use stories as a reading or listening tasks. Every day, every unit, I take the advantages of the website for my classroom activities and I believe I have achieved my goal which is that my students more and more love English and they have got remarkable progress.”
The British Council was founded in 1934 to ‘develop a wider knowledge of the English language’. It’s in our Royal Charter. Millions have learned with us over the years, but digital technology and the internet now mean we can reach people and help them with their English in ways our founders could only have dreamed of. And this moving comment brings home how even in the richest countries there is new hope and opportunity quality English teaching can bring to young lives:
I am a speech therapist who works on several Tewa Indian Reservations in New Mexico, USA. When I arrived to start working, I immediately saw that we did not have materials appropriate for young children with speech and language issues, nor did we have funding to acquire any. They did give me a laptop, and I was fortunate enough to come upon this website! My students adore the ‘Paint It’ pages, which I use to work on their preschool vocabulary and ability to follow directions, and the animated stories are wonderful for work on expressive vocabulary and language. I use your site almost every day with my students, some of whom are learning English for the first time, and others who have language delays. The English accent is difficult at times for them to understand, as most of them are only exposed to the Tewa language at home, but I think this only helps them to become better listeners in the end. I just wanted to let you know that in this small, very remote, part of the world, your website is making a difference! Thank you very much!’
High quality digital teaching materials are a modern way to fulfil our founding mission ‘to develop a wider knowledge of the English language’. Our present day motto is ‘English changes lives’. These comments show it can; and does.