SAN DIEGO, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The "10th annual ASU+GSV Summit", co-sponsored by Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley, was held on April 8 to 10 in San Diego, California, and got off to a great start. This major event gathered luminaries from the political, commercial, scientific, and educational fields of 45 countries and regions worldwide, including Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK, and Marc Brackett, Founding Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Being a representative of Chinese children's digital content field, Sally Xie, founder and CEO of KaDa Story, was invited to participate in this world-class EdTech Summit and shared her new concepts on early English language development for Chinese children.
The significance of Early English education has been recognized; the key to language Language learning is cultivating the right attitude
China has the largest number of English learners in the world. At the session "CHINA POP UP" held on April 9, Sally Xie, along with Lianzhong Zhang, professor of Beijing Foreign Studies University, Michael Yu, founder and Chairman of New Oriental, Chunna Zhu, Chairman and CEO of Micro-language, and other guests shared their insights on "Decades: a short history of English learning in china across the generations".
Sally Xie, a previous full-time English teacher, explained that compared to learners from the past, Chinese children nowadays are more privileged with easy access to various educational tools and materials during the process of learning English. Nevertheless, learning barriers still exist due to the different ways of thinking between Eastern and Western cultures. However, barriers to English study remain, the most significant of which is the differences between the modes of thinking of Western and Eastern people. Consequently, it would be more likely to restrain learners' progress without an adaptability to the thinking method cultivated in an English language environment. Just as Professor Zhang mentioned on the panel, "language learning goes for beyond language itself. It is embedded within the whole process of human development".
As the idea of early English education has become more popular in recent years, a clear trend towards Chinese children learning English from a younger age has emerged. A research in 2018 by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that nearly one third of the Chinese generations born after 1980 have bachelor or higher degrees. Among these newly-become parents, 72% of them are in favor of learning English from a younger age and making good use of the critical period of language acquisition, which fosters a positive language learning environment and creates opportunities for language learning institutions. With a full implementation of the Second-Child Policy, the market of English language education that is targeted at younger learners would reach at a billion-dollar level.
Visual Aids are Essential in Early Childhood Development, Audio-Visual Books Provide Optimal Learning Tools
Though the significance of early English education is widely recognized, most parents remain unclear about which methods to employ to fully unleash the potential of their children to learn effectively during their "Critical Period".
Sally Xie believes that since written Chinese uses characters, which were developed from logographic symbols -- meaning that a symbol represents a concept rather than a sound and it demands higher analytical and logical ability. As a result, Chinese language learners tend to be more left-brain dominant. Compared to this, the phonetic system used in English encourages learners' reliance on syllable memorization, which is more dependent on right-brain functions. Thus Chinese children have to switch back and forth between these two "linguistic logics" when learning English. During this process, negative language transfer can easily result. But images serve as excellent conveyors of information, helping avoid problems due to shifting between the separate logics of the two languages.Regardless of the inclination of left or right brain usage, children need to utilize pictures for a better learning outcome at an early stage. Therefore, audio-visual books become one of the most appropriate learning tools.
Launched on the platform of WeChat Mini Program and developed by KaDa Story, "KaDa Can" is designed on this very same concept. Language acquisition requires a large degree of contextualization of learning materials, while it is hard for Chinese children to be exposed to a sufficient and authentic language input. As a solution, KaDa Can collaborated with world-class content providers, such as Walt Disney Company, to introduce professional level reading books, like Big Cat and Farfaria. Furthermore, KaDa Can developed a unique level reading measure system to personalize reading experience for Chinese children. At the same time, it can greatly improve children's self-esteem and self-capacity during the AI assisted self-recording process of reading books aloud and eliminate the "silence period".
Education should serve for a full range of human development. The reasons of learning English, a universal language, exceed the expectation of mastering a communicative tool into the development of a global perspective and a comprehensive skill set. Sally Xie said, "Through English picture books, we want to empower our children to perceive the beauty of language, to experience different cultures and customs, and to facilitate the development of lifelong learning abilities, such as cross-cultural communication and critical thinking. KaDa Story will be a window for reading across the world. It will also be a starting point of studying and living abroad experience".
SOURCE KaDa Story