My daughter participates in a French immersion program within our school district. I researched the impact of language immersion on brain development prior to enrolling her and decided it was a wonderful learning opportunity. Now that she has been “immersed” for the last five years, I often think about the possibility of exposing her to other languages. When the opportunity to introduce her to an Asian language presented itself, I knew I had to sign up. This is a review of that learning experience, focusing on the technology, the instruction, and the impact of our brief introduction to Mandarin.
Asian Language School
Asian Language School is an Australian-based, web-based education service that provides convenient, one-on-one language instruction. The service offers age-specific instruction with certified instructors who actually hold degrees in education and/or the languages they are teaching. The cool thing about this service is that the lessons are virtual, they’re tailored to the learner, and you are able to schedule them at your own convenience.
Asian Language School provided a wonderful language teacher name Jill. Jill was prompt, communicated the goals of the course clearly, and worked well with my daughter. She was able to explain a short history of the Asian language and showed an interest in the reason my daughter was choosing to learn Mandarin. The instructors are certified by the school in addition to their various degrees in education or in language. The depth of Jill’s knowledge around teaching was apparent from the first meeting.
Support materials: B
The first materials we received came to my email inbox after the completion of the first class. Receiving these documents helped my daughter supplement the few notes she was able to take during the actual session. They included information regarding the tonal sounds of the language, including childlike icons to demonstrate the sounds. I appreciated the documents, but I wished they were more age-appropriate for my 5th grader. Her language level is beginner, true, but the visual content of these documents did not match her age/grade level. This change, along with a few links to online supporting resources, or even a recording of the online Zoom lesson would have been even more helpful.
If I could buy Zoom stock, I would. The Zoom platform was used for the one-on-one sessions, and it is just outstanding. The instructor was able to clearly demonstrate concepts on her own screen using a screen-share function. The instructor and my daughter could clearly see each other, and the sound quality was excellent. The reason I gave the A- was because it was not clearly stated that there should be a minimum internet speed for this service. For example, when my daughter had her session at my sister’s home, the internet speed was not quite fast enough to support the session. There was a lag time in the sound, and the video froze a few times. When sessions were completed at our home, or at a friend’s home in Virginia, the internet speeds allowed for very effective class time.
Rae’s feedback: A+
So, how did the student feel about her first round of Asian Language School? Like always, I asked Rae for her feedback, and she thought the service was A+. She said, “I wanted to learn the language because we have a background that is Asian, and I thought Jill was very friendly and taught me a lot. The hardest thing was learning the different sounds.”
If you are looking for a language service to support your or your child’s current studies in an Asian language, Asian Language School would be an awesome service to employ. If you are looking to learn a language from scratch, this would be a great way to launch into learning — it is one-on-one, it is convenient, the technology is easy to use, and it is non-intimidating.