Online Instruction for Immersion Schools Requires Academic Commitment and Authoritative Guidance, But Online Tutorials Offer “Fixed” – Enriched Learning
Comprehensive Online Preschool Instruction for Immersion Schools Requires Academic Commitment and Authoritative Guidance, But Online Tutorials Offer “Fixed” – Enriched Learning
Can Foreign Language Immersion be taught effectively online? A new study from the American University of Beirut (AUL) School of Education has analyzed the effectiveness of virtual immersion learning in children and confirms that online instruction is equally effective as face-to-face instruction in children with early language acquisition struggles, to a degree equal to that of face-to-face instruction.
“This study is unique because it is the first to use a data-driven methodology to analyze classroom teaching-quality and instructional quality for early language acquisition learning with foreign languages,” said AUL School of Education dean Michael D. Schmid. “The earlier stage of language development afforded by online programs may be a promising option for families with English language acquisition issues.”
The study, conducted on a pilot basis using 112 homeschooled children, was conducted by AUL doctoral candidate Jibril Adib. The participants were home-schooled children who had difficulty with the language of their country. The intervention provided children with a series of pre- and post-class activities and helped with vocabulary building. Importantly, the study allowed intervention to be administered “by the book,” using foundational vocabulary. The study also found that children who did not receive cognitive instruction during their pre- and post-grade-school years showed significant gains in the areas of basic vocabulary and vocabulary proficiency and, consequently, scored significantly higher on tests of new word comprehension. The results of the study will serve as an important basis for designing a more effective and efficient instructional methodology for early language acquisition.
The Study: Conducted on the pilot project of 11 families that served nine children ages 2–6 from Lebanon. The preschoolers were taught various languages using a “peer-to-peer” curriculum for the use of students who were also fluent in the language of their country. Compared to students who were taught English, results were consistent with measures of instructional quality.
• School-based instruction for early language acquisition is associated with greater comprehension of vocabulary and pronunciation than classroom instruction.
• Students who were taught English more than once did not differ in comprehension of a specific vocabulary vocabulary across elementary grade levels; however, they did perform better on standardized spelling and grammar comprehension tests.
• The presence of external language instruction is positively associated with both cognitive learning and academic performance.
• This study does not address the effectiveness of following teachers during class time or the strategies to improve teacher support.
• AUL is seeking additional family participants for a baseline study which will measure teaching-quality for further research.
American University of Beirut, a founding member of the American Association of University Professors, is the first American university in the Arab world, established in 1930 and headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon. Founded under the statutes of the American Academy of Beirut, AUL offers 60 master’s degrees, including a master’s of justice, a master’s of social work, a master’s of education, and a doctorate of education in human resources development. The Faculty of Education has been recognized with the 2011 Lambda Delta Psi University Service Award. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, including programs in technology, education, business, management, and social services.
For more information, visit http://www.ausonline.
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