Should my child learn American English or British English?

Should my child learn American English or British English?

At Everest Education, we often hear our parents asking “Should my child learn British English or American English?”.  This question is very common, despite there being many other types of English that exist as well.  There are a few different spelling rules, grammar rules, and of course, different accents and vocabulary between American English and British English.  Some words have different meanings depending on whether they are used in American or British context.  For example, the word “pants” in American English refers to an item of clothing used to cover the legs, whereas in British English it refers to underwear.

If your child is learning English from a British, American, or Australian English speaker, you probably want to know if that type of English is acceptable.  In this article, we will look at some reasons why this question exists, and what the answer could be.

Why is American English different from British English?

The British actually introduced the language to the Americas when they reached these lands by sea between the 16th and 17th centuries.  At that time, the spelling had not yet been standardized.  It took the writing of the first dictionaries to set in stone how these words appeared.  In the UK, the dictionary was compiled by London-based scholars.  Meanwhile, in the United States, the lexicographer was a man named Noah Webster.

Webster wanted American spelling to not only be more straightforward, but different from UK spelling, as a way of America showing its independence from the former British rule.  He dropped the letter “u” from words like “colour” and “honour” – which had developed from the French influence in England – to make them color and honor instead.  He did the same to words ending in -ise to make them -ize, because he thought American English spelling should reflect the way it was said.

In terms of speech, the differences between American and British English actually took place after the first settlers arrived in America.  These groups of people spoke using what was called rhotic speech, where the “r” sounds of words are pronounced.  Meanwhile, the higher classes in the UK wanted to distinguish the way they spoke from the common masses by softening their pronunciation of the “r” sounds.  Since the elite even back then was considered the standard for being fashionable, other people began to copy their speech, until it eventually became the common way of speaking in the south of England.  

What Are The Differences Between American And British English?

The main difference between British English and American English is in pronunciation.  Some words are also different in each variety of English, and there are also a few differences in the way they use grammar.  Here are five of the most common grammatical differences between British and American English.

1. Present perfect and past simple
In British English, people use the present perfect to speak about a past action that they consider relevant to the present.
The present perfect can be used in the same way in American English, but people often use the past simple when they consider the action finished.  This is especially common with the adverbs already, just and yet.

British English

American English

He isn’t hungry. He has already had lunch.
– Have you done your homework yet?
– Yes, I’ve just finished it.
He isn’t hungry. He already had lunch.
– Did you do your homework yet?
– Yes, I just finished it.

2. Got and gotten
In British English, the past participle of the verb get is got.
In American English, people say gotten.
** Note that have got is commonly used in both British and American English to speak about possession or necessity. “have gotten” is not correct here.

British English

American English

– You could have got hurt!
– He’s got very thin.
– She has got serious about her career.BUT:
– Have you got any money?
– We’ve got to go now.
– You could have gotten hurt!
– He’s gotten very thin.
– She has gotten serious about her career.BUT:
– Have you got any money? (NOT Have you gotten …)
– We’ve got to go now. (NOT We’ve gotten to …)

3. Verb forms with collective nouns
In British English, a singular or plural verb can be used with a noun that refers to a group of people or things (a collective noun).  We use a plural verb when we think of the group as individuals or a singular verb when we think of the group as a single unit.
In American English, a singular verb is used with collective nouns.
** Note that police are always followed by a plural verb.

British English

American English

– My family is/are visiting Pakistan.
– My team is/are winning the match.
– The crew is/are on the way to the airport.BUT:
– The police are investigating the crime.
– My family is visiting Pakistan.
– My team is winning the match.
– The crew is on the way to the airport.BUT:
– The police are investigating the crime.

4. Have and take
In British English, the verbs have and take are commonly used with nouns like bath, shower, wash to speak about washing, and with nouns like break, holiday, rest to speak about resting.
In American English, only the verb take (and not the verb have) is used this way.

British English

American English

– I’m going to have/take a shower.
– Let’s have/take a break.
– I’m going to take a shower.
Let’s take a break.

5. shall
In British English, people often use Shall I …? to offer to do something and/or Shall we …? to make a suggestion.
Meanwhile, it is very unusual for speakers of American English to use shall.  They normally use an alternative like Should/Can I …? or Do you want/Would you like …? or How about …? instead. 

British English

American English

– It’s hot in here. Shall I open the window?
Shall we meet in the café at 5?
– Shall we try that again?
– It’s hot in here. Can I open the window?
Do you want to meet in the café at 5?
– How about we try that again?

Should my child learn American or British English?

English is a difficult language to spell correctly.  There are a large number of exceptions to the rules.  In addition, there are lots of differences between British and American spellings.  For example, colour/color, centre/center, organise/organize, dialogue/dialog.  Your child probably already uses one type of English, depending on what she is learning at school.  And that’s perfectly OK.  There’s no right or wrong type of English.

When it comes to standardized tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or other Cambridge qualification exams, it is perfectly acceptable to use either British or American English, and as all of these tests are considered as global standardized tests, they will accept different varieties of English in their exams.  For example, in Cambridge English tests, British or American spelling can be used.  

In Cambridge Assessment English Speaking tests, examiners are trained to give equal marks to candidates using British or American spelling.  Your child will not get a higher band score for using British accent.  They will simply care about her ability to communicate in a clear and effective way, this involves:

  • saying individual words clearly (pronunciation)
  • stressing the right parts of words and the right words in a sentence (word stress)
  • making sure the voice goes up and down at the right times (intonation).

However, there is one exception when choosing either British or American is more important, and that is when your child is writing – or speaking.  Once she writes or spells a word one way, they must continue to spell the word that way for the rest of the test – don’t suddenly switch to the other way around.  The simplest reason for not using both languages is that both languages are considered separate forms of English.  When we use British spelling, the examiner will make up his mind and consider our work as British language.  Therefore, if we switch later to American English, the examiner will consider it as a spelling mistake and will give us a low score for the Lexical Resource.

Parting words…

There are different types of English, and it’s great to teach your child the differences between them so that she knows how to recognise and not fall into confusion, but that’s no reason for us to get stressed or anxious. American English and British English are mutually intelligible: one can understand the other about 95% of the time.  And even the words that are different will normally be understood thanks to their context.  Accidentally using one instead of the other will not automatically lead to miscommunication.

If you ask us, should your child learn US or UK English, the only advice that we can give your family is: just let her learn!  Let your young learner enjoy learning the few differences that there are, and build up her own accent.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit more American or a bit more British, what is important is what she can learn.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at https://blog.e2.com.vn/e2-talk-tips-and-tricks-parents/

Reference:
https://www.britishcouncilfoundation.id/en/english/articles/british-and-american-english
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/intermediate-to-upper-intermediate/british-english-and-american-english

Understanding the stages of learning English for non-native students

Understanding the stages of learning English for non-native students

Do you know how good your child’s English is?  Where are they compared to their classmates on the English proficiency ladder?  If she owns a PET certificate, what is her equivalent score in IELTS, TOEIC, or even TOEFL?  Knowing your child’s English level will help you explore a range of support and resources specially matched to them.

There are many different levels of learning English.  It’s like stepping up a ladder.  For example:

  • Young learners of English usually start with very simple things like numbers and colors. 
  • Next, they might learn vocabulary and grammar linked to everyday topics, such as animals, family, food and drink, sports, and games.
  • Then, they might start to read about their favorite animal, write about their brothers and sisters, listen to a song, or talk about the games they enjoy playing. 

So, what exactly are the different levels of language learning? 

Getting your child to acquire native-like fluency in any language is hard in itself if you’re only focused on the end game.  However, if you break the entire process of reaching the highest level of English language mastery into multiple stages, then it’s suddenly a much easier picture to paint.

In this article, we introduce to you the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) as a benchmark for qualitative aspects of English usage against international standards.  Hopefully, it will outline the stages that children go through when acquiring an additional language and give suggestions about how practitioners can support them in this journey within an inclusive environment.

First, what is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability.  It describes language ability on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.  Each level has a series of descriptions of what a user at that level can do across the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 

The CEFR was created by the Council of Europe to provide “a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe” (2001a:1).  It was envisaged primarily as a planning tool whose aim was to promote “transparency and coherence” in language education.

The framework now isn’t just used in Europe.  It’s used all around the world.  It is a practical tool that can be used for anyone involved in language teaching and testing, such as teachers or learners, to see the level of different qualifications. 

To help you understand the relationship between the six CEFR levels and other multi-level tests such as IELTS, TOEFL or TOEIC, we created a map drawing on the interrelationship between these standardized tests and other Cambridge Assessment English qualifications.

What can children do at each level?

The CEFR is a very practical way to show how learners progress through the levels.  The table describes some skills that learners can do at each level.

CEFR level Listening skills Speaking skills Reading skills Writing skills
A1 Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.  Can take part in basic, factual conversations. For example, “Where does your rabbit live?”-  “It lives in my garden.” Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know, and things they have. For example, they can go to a shop where goods are on display and ask for what they want: “Can I have this drink, please?” Can understand simple information, familiar names, words, and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogs. Can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings.  Can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering names, nationality, and address on a hotel registration form.
A2 Can take part in ‘small talk’ and express simple opinions. For example, ‘This looks like a good party.’ ‘Yes, and everyone’s wearing funny clothes.’ Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can ask for what they want and exchange basic information with others. Can read very short, simple texts.  Can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus, and timetables and can understand short simple personal letters. Can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. Can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
B1 Can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.  Can understand the main point of many radio or TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.  Can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions.  Can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe reactions. Can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language.  Can understand the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters. Can write simple letters stating facts and events.  Can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
B2 Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.  Can take part in conversations on a range of topics. For example, conversations about events currently in the news.  Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst traveling in an area where the language is spoken.  For example, they can bargain for what they want and ask effectively for a refund or exchange an item. Can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints.  Can understand contemporary literary prose. Can write letters expressing opinions and giving reasons.  Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.  
C1 Can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signaled explicitly.  Can understand television programs and films without too much effort. Can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion Can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style. Can understand specialized articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to their field. Can express themselves in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length.  Can write about complex subjects in a letter, an essay or a report, underlining the salient issues. Can select a style appropriate to the reader in mind.
C2 Have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided they have some time to get familiar with the accent.  Can present a clear, smoothly-flowing description or argument in a style appropriate to the context and with an effective logical structure that helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.  Can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, including abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialized articles, and literary works. Can write clear, smoothly-flowing text in an appropriate style.  Can write complex letters, reports, or articles which present a case with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.  Can write summaries and reviews of professional or literary works.

 

How do I find the right level for my child?

To define which level your child is at, the simplest way is having her complete these quick, free online tests for young learners or online tests for school-aged learners offered by Cambridge Assessment English.  You’ll see your child’s CEFR level at the end of the test.  On a more important note, having a good level of English does not automatically mean your child will get a good score. Your child will need to get used to the format of the test and also prepare some practice questions before taking the real test.  Parents can also use this information to find practice activities and exams at the right level:

>> Learn more about Cambridge exams for teenagers (KET, PET, FCE…) here: https://blog.e2.com.vn/most-common-acronyms-used-in-the-us-uk-education-system/

Taking an International English exam not only means that your child gets an internationally recognized certificate, but it also provides your child with the experience of preparing and taking an international exam.  This can help increase your child’s confidence and self-belief as well as motivating them to take higher-level English exams or improve their score. However, it is important to remember that the process of learning an additional language can take several years and is different for each bilingual child. 

For children entering a setting where a different language is spoken, it can take three months for them to begin to understand.  It may take two years before they can hold a conversation and up to seven years to have full cognitive understanding of the new language.

Testing is not everything

The CEFR is often used by employers and in academic settings as a general indicator to assess the English level.  It would be very useful for those moving out of the country and seeking for full-time jobs abroad, or pursuing higher education in a different country.

However, outside of the professional or academic realm, CEFR levels are not as important.  The CEFR has the advantage of being internationally known, but until now, it had the distinct disadvantage that it had been written for adults, and not for children.  Because of that, there were no descriptors of language interaction for the very young learner.  CEFR tests are really only necessary if you want to define where your child is compared to the target language.  However, don’t let that “testing culture” result in severe stress or pressure for your child. 

In a more casual language-learning environment, when you let your child learn English just because she enjoys it, then CEFR levels are just another tool to gauge where your child is at, so that we can more clearly define what she needs to work on, and work out what she would like to achieve in her target language.

Children need to feel that they are making progress.  They need continual encouragement as well as praise for good performance, as any success motivates.  Parents are in an ideal position to motivate and help your children learn, even if you have only basic English skills yourselves and are learning alongside your young children.

At the end of the day, exams and scores are just one of many measures that should be used to evaluate your child’s English ability, and offer them a positive, confidence-boosting exam experience that motivates them to continue learning English.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at https://blog.e2.com.vn/e2-talk-tips-and-tricks-parents/

Reference:
https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/learning-english/parents-and-children/information-for-parents/tips-and-advice/what-are-the-different-levels-of-learning-a-language/
https://amyklipp.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/cefr-descriptors-for-young-learners/
https://speechling.com/blog/the-5-stages-of-becoming-a-native-like-english-speaker
https://www.fletcherearlylearningcentre.com.au/uploads/supporting_children_english_2nd_language.pdf
https://www.englishprofile.org/images/pdf/theenglishprofilebooklet.pdf

Most Common Acronyms Used in the US, UK education system (part 2)

Most Common Acronyms Used in the US, UK education system (part 2)

Continuing our previous article of Most Common Acronyms Used in the US, UK education system, this week, we’ll focus on some acronyms and abbreviations indicating international qualifications, programs, and examinations such as GCSE, AP, IB, O-Levels, and A-Levels.

IB, A-Levels, and APs are academically challenging and are considered the highest high school options students can take.  If you are sending your child to study abroad, you might have heard about these programs, and the question inevitably arises: What courses will be the best suited to help my child excel and to nurture her interests?  Which will improve the odds of getting her into a top school the most? 

This article will explain to you these popular and prestigious academic paths, key differences, and how to choose between them, the pros and cons of each, to help your families decide what looks best on college applications.

GCSEs and IGCSE

GCSE stands for the General Certificate of Secondary Education.  This a set of exams taken in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and other British territories.  It’s a replacement for the old O (Ordinary) Levels and CSEs (Certificate of Secondary Education).  The IGCSE and the GCSE are equivalent qualifications.  Both are designed to test the completion of Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) of the English National Curriculum.

IGCSEs were introduced in 1988 and are internationally recognised qualifications. The “I” in IGCSE is for “International”.  The courses are more relevant to those studying them internationally.  So for children being schooled at home, who may be based in any part of the world, they are ideal.  Candidates can take IGCSE examinations all over the world.  Similar to GCSEs, they are perceived by some as academically more rigorous, and for this reason have recently been adopted by over 300 independent schools in the UK.  IGCSEs are widely accepted by universities and colleges as part of their entry requirements. 

Although equivalent, there are a few differences between IGCSE and GCSE:

  • The GCSE may be taken only in the UK, whereas there are opportunities to take the IGCSE in nearly every country in the world as well as in the UK.
  • The GCSE is set only in May/ June of each year. But students may sit for the IGCSE also in October/ November, and in India only, also in March.

O-Levels

O-Level is the abbreviation of Ordinary Level. It is one of the two parts of GCS (General Certificate of Education).  The other part of GCE is Advanced Level (A-Level), which students enter after completing O-Level.

O-Level is the final certification for secondary school, to be taken in fifth form or year 11 at approximately age 17 (or age group 14-16).  Students that have completed O-Level are considered to have completed formal education.  They can further their studies to A-Level (at their school’s sixth form or private colleges),  Foundation Courses or diploma courses, or even simply leaving school.

O-Level is offered by Cambridge International Examination (CIE), American Council for Higher Education, and Edexcel International.  Though schools in the UK had replaced O-Level with GCSE in 1988, it is still used in many Commonwealth countries, such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and also in Trinidad and Tobago.

A-Levels

A-levels (short for Advanced levels) are the UK national curriculum designed to follow the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in the UK.  Students usually choose three or four subjects and take two years to study for these A-levels between the ages of 16 and 18.  A-levels are two-year courses, the first year is called the Advanced Subsidiary (AS), the final year is called the A2 Year.

The program offers a choice of 55 subjects and schools that can offer any combination of subjects.  International A Levels are offered by Cambridge International Examinations, but the teacher can decide how to teach each subject. 

If you are sure you want your child to study in the UK, it might be preferable to take A-Levels, as it is the country’s traditional high school qualification.  A-levels is also a great choice for a student who has a clear idea of which subjects they excel in and what studies they wish to pursue after school.  A-Levels allow them to focus their time on achieving the highest possible grades in the 3 or 4 most relevant subjects.

Most importantly, students receive separate certificates in each subject they pass, rather than one overall certificate as with the IB. 

AP

AP (Advanced Placement) course is a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board, which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. Similar to the SAT Subject Tests, there are AP tests that cover a range of subjects from Biology to European History to Music Theory.  There are currently over 38 AP test options, though few high schools offer classes in every subject.

Students that study the AP program will usually undertake three to four courses each year, in the final year up to seven courses may be studied.   Each course is developed by a committee composed of university faculty and AP teachers and covers the breadth of information, skills, and assignments found in the corresponding university course.  The idea behind AP courses is to present college-level concepts and course work to high school students and then test them at the end of their courses, using a 1-5 grading scale.  American colleges will often grant course credit and placement for AP courses in which students scored 3 or higher.  

Nearly all U.S. and Canadian colleges accept AP scores for placement or credit, as do many international universities. AP might be the right choice if your child is over-scheduled: unlike the IB Diploma Program, which includes extracurricular commitments, AP is solely curricular.

Another point worth considering is that similar to A-levels, students can take AP exams without being enrolled in an AP class. If students have proficiency in a language that’s not offered by their school or they want to self-study for a niche subject such as art history, then the AP program will give them more flexibility.

IB

IB, or International Baccalaureate program began in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland, and it was intended to produce highly educated, cosmopolitan students from children, whose parents were involved in diplomacy, international and multinational organizations.  The IB Diploma Program (DP) is an assessed program for students aged 16 to 19.  It is respected by leading universities across the globe.

Students must choose 3 Higher Level subjects and 3 Standard Level subjects from each of the 6 compulsory core areas: Language & Literature, Language Acquisition, Sciences, Maths, Social Sciences, and the Arts.

They must also complete additional components of the course.  This includes a Theory of Knowledge module, which promotes critical thinking, as well as participating in at least 3 hours-worth of arts, sport, or community service activities as part of their Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) module.  They must also complete an Extended Essay, an independently researched 4,000-word essay on a topic of their choice.  The IB program has been described by advocates to be a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to a student’s education.

The IB diploma offers a well-rounded education. This makes the course particularly suited to students who are interested in a broad range of subjects but haven’t chosen what they would like to study at degree level yet.

The essay and Theory of Knowledge components of the IB program also provide ideal preparation for university education, giving students a solid grounding in critical thinking independent research skills.

Final Thoughts

Only you as the parent and student can decide which organization or program best suits you and your academic goals.  However, no matter which pathway you decide for your child to take, remember that selective colleges care that your child challenges themselves academically in high school: the particular coursework they take is less important.

According to the Yale admissions website, students are only expected to take advantage of AP or IB courses if the high school provides them.  Princeton’s admissions website offers similar advice: “Whenever you can, challenge yourself with the most rigorous courses possible, such as honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and dual-enrollment courses.  We will evaluate the International Baccalaureate (IB), A-levels or another diploma in the context of the program’s curriculum.”  Ultimately, what matters to colleges most is whether your child took advantage of the advanced options offered by their school.

Amidst COVID-19’s Spread, Hope For Education Innovation Glimmers In Vietnam

Amidst COVID-19’s Spread, Hope For Education Innovation Glimmers In Vietnam

With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, I’ve watched the impact on Korea and Vietnam with some measure of connection and concern.

As the countries to which I journeyed on my Eisenhower Fellowship in 2014 and studied their education systems in some depth, the manner in which the disease’s spread has shut down their schools has struck me on two levels: worry about the health of the communities and hope for innovation.

It’s with an eye on the opportunity for innovation—improving an educational system that needs an overhaul—that I’ve paid close attention to the response of Everest Education, an after-school tutoring organization I got to know while in Vietnam and whose board I joined after my return to the United States.

Schools and after-school programs were shut down in the beginning of February in Vietnam. With no opportunity to learn in traditional classrooms, students became nonconsumers of education—literally unable to access formal education—overnight.

As students of disruptive innovation—the process that transforms complicated, expensive and inconvenient services into ones that are far more affordable, convenient, and accessible—know, disruption typically takes root in areas of nonconsumption. There the new service has a marked advantage, as its competition is nothing at all.

That describes the unintended opportunity in which Everest Education found itself, as after-school programs have remain shuttered and students have had no options to continue their studies.

One Everest student, Nguyen Viet Khanh Linh, who is studying for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)—the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education—said she was worried she wouldn’t be able to stay on track for her test in May. Currently pursuing an Advance Diploma in Multimedia at Arena Multimedia Education Center in Hanoi, Linh’s plan is to transfer to an exchange program in Korea, Singapore or Europe to complete a bachelor degree after earning the 30-month program diploma.

“I’m not sure which exchange programs I will join eventually, but almost all of them ask for IELTS as a prerequisite,” Linh said. “I’m trying to get it done in my first year before the arts workload gets heavier. I [was] afraid I [wouldn’t] be able to study for IELTS and work on my portfolio at the same time.”

Everest had fortunately been developing an online-learning solution for some time. After experimenting with a range of products, Everest had settled on a platform that facilitated a live online class that, much as Minerva does in its active learning platform, takes advantage of the learning science around active learning to create an experience in which students are interacting with each other and the teacher in real time and taking part in learning games.

As Don Le, CEO and co-founder of Everest, shared, “Most online learning involves watching videos or listening to lectures, and students get bored easily. With our live online classes, students… feel a social bond. The experience feels really natural and fun.”

At the onset of the crisis, Everest swung into action and took its research and development into overdrive, as it deployed its online-learning experience across all of its classes to support all of its grade 1–12 students. An astounding 98% of its students successfully transitioned to its online-learning solution.

From there, Everest began focusing on serving the now-vast market of after-school nonconsumers in Vietnam. To date, it has amassed more than 1,000 online registrations and is scaling up to open as many classes as possible to meet the pent-up demand.

And here’s the opportunity—to help take a system built on rote memorization and turn it into a student-centered learning experience that is marked by active learning far more in line with the research around how students best learn.

“In some ways, it’s even better than a physical classroom,” Tony Ngo, Everest Education’s Chairman and co-founder said. “Online learning is a great solution while students are out of the classroom, and in the long run, it will become a critical tool in how students learn.”

I’ve noted before that disaster preparedness—and, it follows tragically, outright disasters—represent opportunities to innovate. Put another way, “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”

Amidst the challenges that COVID-19 brings, I hope we see education innovations that don’t just take subpar brick-and-mortar experiences and move them online where they will be even worse, but instead transcend the traditional lecture model to leverage technology and fundamentally transform the learning experience into one in which all students have a much greater likelihood of success.

In a country in Vietnam in which innovating in education is challenging, my hope is that Everest begins to blaze a new trail for the nation’s students.

 

4 key questions to ask to choose a good online course for your child

4 key questions to ask to choose a good online course for your child

In an attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus, many schools and educational organizations across the world have been shifting into virtual classrooms.  In the time of virus crisis, learning has turned out to be more online driven. In lieu of letting children attend class in person, many parents are seeking out online resources, websites and apps to keep their kids’ minds engaged at home.  More schools and companies are investing in providing distance learning opportunities.  

Since online classrooms seem to be the only solution now to keep your child learning while minimizing contagion, you are maybe considering seeking a suitable online course for your child. However, with many marketing tactics at play and unaccredited programs on the market, it’s important for parents to do your research and gain a strong understanding of the specific program you’re signing up for your kids.  In this article, we provide you with some helpful factors that you should take into consideration when choosing an online course for your kids.

Good Online Course Options & Offerings

The best online courses mirror the quality of the in-person classroom experience.  They do so by utilizing technologies to create accessible and engaging environments.  Engaging students in online learning is key, especially when face-to-face interactions, both between students and teachers, and among students and their peers, do not occur. 

Some initial best practices being implemented include interactive measures to encourage online student engagement, effective use of technology to make for easily accessible and well-produced materials, opportunities for mentoring, peer collaboration and more.

Here are some questions to explore when selecting a good online course for your kids:

1. How is the course designed?

The e-learning development process should be ongoing.  Good online courses will continue to find unique ways to keep online students engaged with out-of-the-box thinking.  Many online courses lack multimedia elements or provide the same format each week, which can make for a boring experience.  You should look for courses that have invested in e-learning innovation and are utilizing multiple formats for interaction, including multimedia elements to create an engaging learning experience for your child.

Technology can make or break online student engagement experiences. When participating online, the quality of the video, audio, graphics and design are key to student retention.  Before enrolling an online class for your kids, you should ask to let your child experience the demo lesson to get a gauge of the quality of technology being used or the interface?

Is the website and are course materials accessible to those with varying learning needs? If your child misses a live lecture for example, is there any way for her to review the missed materials and assigned homeworks?  If she encounters technical issues during the class, is there any you way to ensure there are tools to help her receive immediate support?

On the flip side, some courses utilize complex technologies, which complicate the online learning process.  Making students download many apps and plug-ins can have the opposite effect. Students can get frustrated when technologies don’t work properly and spend too much time troubleshooting issues and not enough time actually learning.  Instead, look for courses which use reliable technologies that are universally supported by different browsers and devices. Your child should be fully aware of how to access resources on the provided platform.

2. How big is the class?

It’s helpful to consider factors such as class size and completion rate.  The more students a teacher is responsible for, the harder it is to teach.  This statistic can help you gauge how strong a course is and how much time the teacher is able to allocate toward students to ensure their success.

Is the course attracting a lot of students?  What is the student to teacher ratio? It’s important to know how much attention your child can receive from the teacher.  Many online course instructors offer online office hours, which can prove helpful when things are not made clear, especially when your child takes up online courses that provide recorded lessons, which don’t allow for live assistance and Q&A. 

3. Is there an opportunity for peer interaction?

When evaluating online courses, an important question to ask is whether the course was specifically designed for online use.  A well-designed learning environment can make the difference between an enjoyable and frustrating online course. The student’s online experience should be intuitive, interactive and engaging, so look for evidence of this when you’re selecting a course.  Does it use a cutting edge platform with interactive content? Are group projects part of the course? Online programs can often feel isolating and group assignments can foster a sense of community and camaraderie. Kids can learn a great deal from working with their friends and benefit from the opportunity to collaborate with them. Studying for exams with peers, even virtually, can also be a helpful tactic to ensure your child is prepared to complete the course successfully.  There are some online classrooms that are easy to use and navigate, even if your child is not a computer expert. Modern virtual classroom technologies allow your child to interact with her teacher and classmates intuitively and provide a personal feel to the online environment.

4. How qualified are the teachers?

This is not only about teacher’s certifications, years of experience, but also their ability to inspire and interact with their students.  One could argue that having an engaging instructor is even more important when face-to-face interactions are lacking.

Teaching is an interactive process.  Teacher-directed instruction plays an important role, especially in online classes. A teacher’s guidance will be even more important to facilitate the whole class and keep everyone engaged.  A good teacher will have many instructional approaches for learning the same material, hands-on learning, immediate feedback on errors, and other methods that may benefit students with learning difficulties.  Here are some suggested questions to ask about teacher qualifications and teaching approach: What are the teachers’ credentials? Are they highly qualified to teach their academic subjects? How much of the instruction will be teacher-directed?  How much and what kind of contact will a student have with the teacher? How quickly will the teacher get back to my child if he has questions or gets stuck on an assignment? How will my child’s learning be evaluated? Will the evaluation include mastery in real-world applications?

When you hear the terms “online learning,” “distance learning,” or “virtual classroom,” you might imagine a student working alone at a computer on an old-style, self-directed correspondence course, with minimal instructor contact. But, in fact, today’s more sophisticated online schools may offer students such features as “real time” classroom discussion with the teacher and other students, regularly scheduled, assignments based in the real world and the chance to join group projects. To find out if a program is a good match for your child, both academic and technical, research thoroughly, try to ask these key questions, consult reviews from other families, and let your child experience the demo class if possible.

Reference:
https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/online-classes-middle-and-high-school/
https://verbit.ai/choose-good-online-course

5 reasons why you should join Everest Online

5 reasons why you should join Everest Online

The coronavirus outbreak has hampered our children’ s opportunities to study for quite a long time.  We understand that this is causing problems for many students to maintain their daily learning routines, to continue studying, and to gain more knowledge during this outbreak.  As Vietnamese governments delay the reopening of schools to limit the spread of the new virus, parents are forced to search for alternatives to keep their child learning. And here comes a chance for e-learning to come in thick and fast!

However, even though there are a few platforms and tools appearing in the market to enable students to learn online, it’s still hard for families to find an online class that’s engaging, interactive and personalized.

Having been pioneers in the education technology industry, we have researched, tested and developed different tools to maximize students’ learning experience.  And now, in efforts to minimize the learning disruption for families, Everest Education is offering free Online Math for G1-9, and free Online IELTS Class for high school and college students. 

“Why should I choose Everest Online?” Let us tell you 5 main reasons that make us on top of all other e-learning platforms out there.

Live lessons with real teachers

Unlike other online course platforms having the entirety of the content presented in the format of talking head videos – which is hard for students, especially little graders, maintain their concentration for a long time – Everest Online delivers high-quality lessons, live online via our innovative, safeguarded online classroom. 

You can imagine Everest Online as a digital replica of a traditional classroom.  The instructors teach, and the participants learn in real-time, face-to-face but via internet-enabled technology devices.

Our teachers are highly motivated trainers with intense experience in teaching.  All your child needs is just a headset with a microphone to speak. Teachers will display lessons on the “virtual whiteboard”, so everybody can see them and work together.  This will transform your child from being a passive receiver of information to being active and involved in the learning process, and help hold their attention longer.

High interaction with teachers and friends

As educators, we understand that interaction plays a crucial role in fostering children’s love of learning and keeping them into the lessons.  That’s why when designing courses and doing lesson plans, we always try our best to implement student-center activities that keep them involved and engaged.  Fortunately, Everest Online has a lot of features that can create a variety of synchronous interaction opportunities, such as voice chat, live chat, interactive whiteboard, polls and quizzes.

The interactive online whiteboard comes with a full-screen mode, creating a bigger learning space.  Students can see full lessons, videos, or pictures, and even can draw, share their own screens to do presentations and discussions.  They can also use the live chat feature and Raise Hand feature to ask questions. With the option of live screen and application sharing, teachers would be able share their screen in real-time and provide remote assistance. Using the voice and live chat functionality, we also try to set up games, student-facilitated discussion opportunities where students craft the discussion prompt and guide the ensuing dialogue. 

Free from interruption by the CoronaVirus

As the virus keeps children at home, online classes are now the only way to maintain their learning routine. Staying away from school for so long will make it even harder for your child to get over the “holiday lag” – they may not be able to keep up with their peers when schools reopen.  With that in mind, we decide to design Everest Online following the Vietnamese national curriculum, specific to grade level and will be delivered in our unique teaching style. 

With Everest Online, students can quickly get in front of a great teacher without a commute.  This is a perfect solution for families to minimize the negative impact of the CoronaVirus – schools may stop, yet not teaching, and learning. 

Parents can know what your children are learning

Not many parents can really understand what their children are doing at schools. Our tight work schedules don’t allow us to spend as much time exploring how well they are doing at school, what they are learning, what we are teaching them and how active they are compared to other classmates.  While your child is taking Everest Online with us, this is also a good chance for parents to sit with your child, and watch your child in action.

Even the shy person can raise their voice

Some studies have shown that e-learning can increase interaction for certain personalities.  In other words, online courses offer shy or more reticent students the opportunity to participate in chats and discussion forums more than the traditional classroom environment.  Some learners experience a lot of performance pressure when attending a course with other people.  Studying on their own at their comfort place lessens this type of stress and can bring better results in the end. 

Everest Online offers more flexibility over a traditional classroom so that students have more chances to talk. Furthermore, we encourage every learner to raise their voice, embrace any idea and give away badges as rewards for those who dare to talk.

Conclusion

With the above advantages, we believe Everest Online can be just as effective as face-to-face classrooms. And in the long run, it will become a critical tool in how students learn. While we hope the outbreak ends soon, with Everest Online, your children can still acquire new academic, social and emotional skills, and more importantly, they are learning to acquire the skills with cutting-edge technology and diverse ways.  This will hopefully accelerate modernization of the education system, and also increase their capacity and abilities to face new challenges in a rapidly changing world.

So, don’t let the virus stop your child from learning!  If you’re finding an online course to help your child make the most of their time away from school due to n-Cov19, seize this opportunity! Sign up to experience E2 Online Class at: http://bit.ly/EverestOnline

We welcome your child to study with us, for free!