Leading names in ELT separate fact from fiction in new report that has implications for Middle East ELT educators
Dubai, 22 May 2016: A new report from Pearson and ELTjam, ELT: Fact or Fiction has been released in the Middle East.
ELT: Fact or Fiction questions ten of the most prevalent global ‘myths’ within the English language teaching sector today – asking which are fact and which are fiction. Some of the biggest and most influential names in English language teaching have been enlisted to tackle assertions such as: online language learning is inferior to classroom learning; advances in automated translation services spell the end of English language teaching; individual learning styles don’t matter, and whether computers can evaluate language proficiency as accurately or better than humans.
With growth rates of the Middle East ELT and digital learning sectors some of the highest in the world, the new report holds relevance for parents, educators and policy makers across the region. A study from Ambient Insight titled The 2013-2018 Middle East Digital English Language Learning Market found that in every Middle Eastern country analysed, mobile English learning ‘apps’ consistently rank among the best-selling ‘apps’. The countries surveyed consisted of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Yemen. The report attributed the high levels of growth in the ELT sector on a number of factors, including government-led initiatives to bolster English language proficiency and private sector demand for industry-specific forms of English (such as ‘Aviation’ English or ‘Oil and Gas’ English).
Karim Daoud, Managing Director of Pearson in the Middle East believes the ELT: Fact or Fiction findings will have a powerful impact on teachers and institutions in the Middle East, where English language skills are closely linked to employment opportunities and earning potential. He says:
“Improved English language capability has been proven to enhance earning prospects and improve living standards. English language uptake at a national scale is also linked to private sector development in key industry growth areas. With English language skills such an important aspect of an individual’s ability to secure meaningful work and earn a good wage, and widespread economic growth, it is only natural that a burgeoning number of people across the Middle East, from all stages of life, are looking to find high quality English language learning opportunities. It is therefore important that we continually assess ways in which ELT education can be improved and stay up-to-date with the latest global developments”.
New data accompanying the report highlights that English as a Second Language teachers feel the sector has been transformed by the digital revolution, but many are sceptical about its benefits and the capability of digital solutions. Whilst 79% of the 600 surveyed agreed that technology has transformed English language learning and teaching, just 20% thought that online learning could be as effective as classroom learning. Only 9% felt that computers are as effective as humans when it comes to delivering assessment scores.
Mr Daoud says of the statistics:
“Many countries in our region are finding it difficult to secure a requisite number of appropriately trained English language educators to meet rapidly increasing demand. Improving the quality of ELT educators, and the quality of the teaching tools available to these educators will therefore be an important step in ensuring all English language learners in this region have access to a high standard of English language education. This report is very helpful in demonstrating how technology can be used more effectively to enhance ELT learning, and which ELT teaching myths are helpful (and which are not) in promoting student outcomes”.
The full report is available to download at www.english.com/ELTmyths/
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