(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2e9LFOT)
For any language school the student is the most precious of items, it is they who determine the direction of the school. Their presence indicates that the school is a legitimate business and their love of the school and the teachers determine the future of the school.
So if this ingredient is so powerful, with all the technological changes happening now, what will happen to the ESL student in the future?
Already it is the young who are leading the old. It is them who are jumping on anything new and creative and taking it to the sky. They are the ones who are gripping their mobiles minute by minute to keep up with the world. It is they who are the ones who are swiping past any ad or promotion making a judgement in a simple split second as to whether they will give you a second look.
But there is one thing the young don’t know that the old do, and that is that people are everything – live people that is – whether you love them or hate them, reality is something precious that can’t be missed.
So this is what I see/hear the average ESL student saying nowadays:
- Online learning is cheaper but not necessarily preferred.
- Mobile learning is preferred but not always successful.
- Learning English is about – getting into a university course or finding a mate.
- English is the key to the future, because all things are becoming increasingly online and that means more likely to be in English and if you want to keep up, you have to learn.
- Learning online maybe cheaper, more convenient, more successful, but there is no ‘real’ school life through it.
Most of us are people who love to meet like-minded people, and though social media has enabled that in an amazing and immediate way, so many of those people we may meet online (for whatever reason), may never meet in reality and or if they do, the whole feeling about that person is very different.
So – what is it?
This difference between reality and online goes across the board. Whatever you are doing online has ultimately only one dimension – the cyberspace dimension, but in reality, the face to face connection holds so much more.
For the ESL student, I do believe they know that, but online learning is so seductive because of the price and convenience, but they do also know that over time the lack of real social impact will take its toll.
So my prediction for the ESL student in the future is that though they would love to do a face to face course in a foreign land (or even their own land), the price of the course may be so high that they will be forced to go online and have a ‘reasonable’ outcome.
Tell me – what do you think? A 5 year prediction isn’t all that different, but maybe you are considering more 20 years in the future where all children will be born with an implant translator so they don’t need to even think or learn a language, it will be already there. Or perhaps when genetic modification comes into play all children will be modified to speak English easily as a first language….
Whatever is the idea – I’d love to hear it…