Idit 博士毕业于哈佛大学和麻省理工学院，她是全球知名的教育和新媒体专家。MaMaMedia INC.CEO和创始人。我们就口语学习专题专门采访了IDIT，请她就中国的口语教学以及怎样更好地学习英语口语发表了自己的观点。
我认为口语结合了以下三种系统方法：1）记忆单词 2）逐词逐句练习 3）把新学到的词句立刻应用到真实的对话和解决问题的场景中——这是学习口语最好的方法
IDIT：说宝堂公司在英语口语教学中找到了一种完全不同以往的新方法。实际上，他们创造了革命性的教学口语方法。说宝堂用有效的方式将最著名和最有效的学习理论用强有力的技术结合起来，因此达到了前面所说的两大最佳学习方式： 1）边学边做 2）探戈需要两个人来跳。
体验了说宝堂的产品你会发现：它具有所有高质量效果英语所具备的一切重要特质： 1）练习真实的生活对话 2）有人倾听并及时纠正你所犯的错误 3）内容非常有趣吸引人，并且和你的每日生活息息有关 4）可承受的价格，随时随地便利使用。所有您所做的只要可以上网和一副耳机！这真是美妙极了。
IDIT: Saybot can help you learing spoken English simplely
Idit Harel is founder, Chairman and CEO of MaMaMedia. Idit Harel has been developing and introducing new-media technologies to kids since the early 80's - the earliest days of the personal computer. One of the first graduates of Harvard's Education Technology Program and the MIT Media Lab, Harel founded MaMaMedia in 1995, in NYC
Question: In China, more and more people are studying English. About 350 million people per year! But a lot of people still cannot speak English well. What do you think the key problem is?
Idit: In order to learn how to speak, a person needs to practice speaking on a regular basis. Most Chinese English-learners do not practice speaking often enough. They have no good contexts for doing that. Learning to read and write can be helpful in the English language learning process, but it is not sufficient for learning to how to speak English. In addition, a person needs to practice listening to English speakers in order to learn how to speak. Finally, in order to speak really well, people must practice listening to many different kinds of accents and pronunciations (e.g., American, British, or Australian; children, adults, or various professionals) and to different kinds of styles of speaking (street-speak, academic-speak, media-speak) and learn to respond and express themselves accordingly to fit with various contexts and situations.
Question: Even among the people in China who received high education, the spoken-English level is much lower than that of young children in any native English-speaking country. What do you think is the essential reason for this phenomenon? Is it the different way they learn English? Any other reasons come to mind?
Idit: Even among the people who received their higher education in China, we can see that they may be able to read and write well, but have limitations in their ability to speak English fluently and clearly. They lack practicing their speaking in meaningful, engaging, and fun contexts. We know Chinese people can learn to speak English well. For example, look at those who came to study in the USA – they speak really well! So it’s possible!
Question: Following the traditional way of teaching English in China, we are often taught to recite and memorize a lot of words, and we do many word-by-word speaking exercises. A lot of people study English words for tests. They may do well on these tests, and their vocabulary may be large, but they cannot speak English in their daily lives. What do you think is the reason for this? What’s the best way to grasp the “real” spoken English?
Idit: Learning to memorize and recite English words in a systematic way is not all bad. English language learners do need to memorize words and practice them through word-by-word speaking exercises, in order to enlarge and enrich their vocabulary. But it must be integrated with additional, daily practicing of speaking with someone real, talking about fun topics from their real daily lives, or work-related topics, or listening and chatting about their interests and hobbies.
I believe that the combination of the three systems – 1) memorizing words, 2) word-by-word speaking exercises, and 3) applying all newly-learned words immediately to real conversational situations or real problem-solving situation -- is the best way to grasp the “real” spoken English.
This philosophy of learning is what I call “learning by doing.” My many years of research as a learning theorist indicate that learners, young and old, cannot really appropriate information and own any new knowledge (in mathematics, sciences, technology, business, or in language arts) unless they are thoroughly engaged in hands-on activities that are real and personally-meaningful to them.
Question: Which do you think is more important: 1) receiving good training in the memorizing of words, or 2) in the speaking of real English words and sentences? How we can learn to speak “real” English more easily and more simply?
Idit: We learn a new language best by speaking it. Speaking, speaking, speaking it. But: not just speaking to myself! Language learners, who are interested in learning to speak the language, must have a native speaker who is listening to them, and responds to what they say in a meaningful and relevant way; a native speaker who can relate to the content of the conversation, but can also relate to their specific grammatical mistakes and mispronunciation, and has the pedagogical knowledge of correcting and inspiring their speaking, coaching and taking the learner to the next level.
Any spoken-language learner must experience often, daily, a conversation that is meaningful to him/her, or else they’ll quickly get un-engaged and stop the learning process.
So it is about the “Learning by Doing” theory, but, we also say “It takes two to Tango.” What I mean is that it takes two people to learn to speak a language. Any learner needs a partner on the other side that is a native speaker (an expert Tango dancer), who is also a good listener, who understands the learner’s interests and motivation, and can be a good coach who knows how to continue to engage the learner in the spoken-language learning dance!
Question: There are many successful English-Language Training Schools in China, such as, the New Orient and Wall Street English. What do you regard as the best thing about these training schools? How do they enhance the teaching of spoken English?
Idit: I have never experienced these specific training centers and their learning environments. So I cannot speak about them from first-hand experience. What I heard from others is that they cost a lot and that they are not so good in producing results, that is producing fluent English Speakers.
I think Wall Street English is known for its “English Corners” where you can pay to come to speak real English with real people – so that’s a good feature. I also think Wall Street English uses technology, I mean software. Although I never tried it, I do believe that using technology is important for “Learning by Doing.” If done right, it can contribute greatly to the spoken-language learning process.
Question: As you know, we teach Spoken English at Saybot in an entirely new way. It is a revolutionary approach to teaching and learning any Spoken language by using advanced technology and the Internet. Moreover, we designed all the products and services especially for Chinese learners of spoken English. Saybot uses the best technological features for participation and interactivity for assisting Chinese people learn how to speak “real” English. What we do is far different form the traditional teaching of English in China. What do you think of this software and the overall Saybot experience?
Idit: The Saybot Company is approaching the teaching of spoken-English in an entirely new way. In fact, it developed a new and revolutionary approach to teaching and learning any Spoken language. Saybot integrates the most powerful and well-known learning theories with powerful new technology in the best possible ways -- to enhance the two key features I discussed earlier: 1) “Learning by Doing,” and 2) “It Takes Two to Tango.”
Moreover, Saybot designed all its first-generation services especially for Chinese learners of spoken English. In addition, Saybot uses the best technological features for creating active participation and interactivity for assisting Chinese people in their learning how to speak “real” English that is relevant for their lives here and now – because they want to find a better job, or travel abroad, succeed in their businesses, or get high TOFEL scores.
What Saybot does do is so far different form the traditional teaching of English in China and from the other organizations like New Oriental and Wall Street English. But on the other hand - it is also complimentary of these other methods. It can work well together, and that’ the beauty of it.
The overall Saybot experience has all the important characteristics that are absolutely essential for quality spoken-language learning: 1) Practicing your real-life speaking; 2) Someone listens and corrects you based on your mistakes; 3) Content is fun, engaging and relevant to your life; 4) It is affordable and easy to use - anytime and everywhere. All you need is an Internet connection and a headset! This is fantastic.
Question: Let’s look into the future, and think about the ways in which Saybot technology and methodology can transform and improve the learning of spoken English in China. Will our technology replace the traditional learning? Or do you think the traditional way will eventually be found better or relatively easier for Chinese people? Is there a contradiction between the two methods, or will they eventually compliment each other?
Idit: Saybot can create a serious revolution, for years to come, in the ways Chinese people approach their learning of spoken English. Its services are so affordable, and easy to access and use, from any where in China. This will also introduce “equal opportunity” to high-quality English learning. It’s on the Net. There are free samples. Everyone can try it. The cost is not high. So eventually everyone will use it in one way or another. All the individuals who would like to improve their English speaking should give it a try. I am serious.
Another nice feature is that Saybot created a technology infrastructure that listens to their customers. From the very beginning, Saybot encourage its customers to send feedback – to praise, to complain, to suggest improvements, and even to suggest content and topics! And Saybot is committed to developing curriculum based on the ideas and demand of their customers. They “pull” not just “push” their own ideas – which is what the new Web 2.0 is all about. Now, show me another company that teaches English in this way?
It is so hard to find a good English teacher in China, who is a fluent native speaker; who can listens and corrects you based on your accent, level, grammar; who can coach you on your terms and at your convenient time! Private tutoring like this, at this level of quality and expertise costs a fortune! And Saybot makes it available for all – which is another one of their great contribution to Chinese society and the development of its citizens, its businesses, and its education.(For more, please visit http://www.saybot.com)