The Importance of Cognitive Skills
Its important to understand how the brain builds itself for language and cognitive functions including, memory, attention, the ability to process speech sounds accurately and speedily, and the ability to sequence sounds.
Neuroscientists have been studying these areas for over twenty years. They have built technology that can supplement what you do in a classroom with these students. It can make your English language learning initiative faster and more effective with your students.
#1 It’s just going to prepare the brain to hear the sounds better. So it is actually building the capacity to map the brain for the English language. The brain would be mapped just like an infant brain would. A child who had only heard English their whole life
And we can get those students to move into our education process better. We like to think of this as three components of what technology can do to augment your excellence in English language interventions that you are using.
#2 technology – because a child is sitting in front of a computer and because the computer is a non-judgmental responder, the student can hear and respond, hear and respond, over and over again.
In a way you cannot do in a classroom, where you have to call on a child and get them to respond and then call on another child. So technology allows you to increase the intensity of very specific kinds of activities.
FOR EXAMPLE let’s say you want to build grammar, and you can say “ show me the girl who is running”, “show me the girls who are running”, “show me the girl who is running”, “show me the girls who are running”.
You can build that over and over the students can hear that repetitively and respond very quickly. So, you can get a lot of practice in a very short period of time.
#3 Finally, there is technology out there that has voice recognition software/speech recognition software. Reading Assistant is an example. Where the students can read aloud into the computer, the computer can correct, can recognize if they got it right. If they mispronounced a word or if they didn’t really read the word or read it correctly, the computer can correct them and provide guidance. So, you can have guided reading on a computer now.
So, you can build these 3 components of preparing the brain, practicing intensively and guiding or reading with technology in a way you do in a classroom but you just do in groups with much less intensity.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE of that – there is one exercise, you can think of it as preparing the brain. Where the student is listening to words, that we call minimal pairs, they are almost identical. Like – sip, chip, zip and dip. So those words vary by only one sound. Again, the computer in an intensive way can say, show me “sip” now show me “zip”, now show me “chip” now show me “dip.”
And the child is practicing over and over again and building up this piano keyboard of the maps in a way you just can’t do in a classroom situation as nearly as easily certainly.
Now what happens is then rapid and accurate language processing makes the learning easier. So, what happens is that the students are sitting in the classroom, they are learning on demand, they are able to spell more easily, they are reading more quickly and easily, they are writing and they are just progressing more quickly. All you are doing is supplementing what they are doing. You are just taking all of your excellent programs and augmenting them with half an hour on a computer every day.
That again as I said, a computer allows for intensity of practice and a computer can have guided reading. For example students uses something a program called Reading Assistant where they read the words on a computer, They can hear it read to them first and then see it and read it aloud and have it correct and guide them if they have a little bit of trouble.