Monday, January 30, 2012

Books more satisfying than native speakers

Yonhap posted this article on January 23:
"For English conversation education, reading an English book has a higher level of satisfaction than the native speaker's class"

Yun Sunsaengnim English Classroom parent survey

Parents with elementary school-aged children prefer native speaker English classes over reading English books when it comes to English conversation education, but the method that brings true satisfaction is reading an English book, survey results found.

On the 23rd, Yun Sunsaengnim English Classroom announced that according to a survey of 646 parents of elementary school children held between December 28 and January 5, 53.9% answered "I prefer my children to learn English conversation in a native speaker English class," while 46.1% chose "I prefer they read an English book every day."

As to the reason for choosing the native speaker English class (multiple answers), 62.6% chose "Children are not afraid when talking with native speakers," 33.9% chose "Pronunciation is checked," and 31.9% chose "Communication skills seem to improve in a short period of time."

The reasons for preferring that they read an English book every day included "They can read for themselves and direct their own learning" (41.9%), "Through various English books they can build up their general knowledge" (40.9%), and "They can learn English at little cost" (40.3 percent).

However, asking their real satisfaction, English book reading education got an average of 3.9 points (out of 5), which was higher than for native speaker English class (an average of 3.1 points). The percentage answering that they were satisfied was 67.5% for reading English books, which was much higher than the 30.4% who chose native speaker English lessons.

As for their method of reading English books, (multiple answers), 61.8% chose 'reading along with audiobooks,' 40.7% chose 'talking about the content after understanding the general meaning,' 15.7% chose "looking up the words and carefully reading,' and 8.2% chose 'reading the English book and writing a report.'

Yun Sunsaengnim English Classroom senior researcher Won Yong-guk said, "It's good for those in an environment like Korea with non-native English speakers to continually read English books to improve their English language skills." "Practical English language skills can be improved based on reading skills."
Yun Sunsaengnim English Classroom is a company which sends (Korean) English instructors to students' homes to tutor them using books that it provides. People I've known who have worked for the company tell me the whole point to is finish the books on schedule and sell as many books as possible. So no one will be shocked that though parents preferred native speakers, its survey found that their "real satisfaction" is found in books (though we're not told how such satisfaction is measured). Not that there's anything wrong with books, of course. (Though some are better than others).

Also amusing is that this article appeared almost a week earlier (though a few paragraphs shorter) in the Youth Hanguk Ilbo, so these results were certainly not released on the 23rd, as it says above. I imagine someone needed to publish another article for Yonhap before they could go home for the holiday, and they came up with this.


David said...

Very interesting article and survey results, I do also find the pleasure of reading as a great way to improve my English, including vocabulary, sentence structure an grammar.

I would recommend Voices in the Dark as a great website to find free audio books and stories in English.


Anonymous said...

It's very interesting article and surver to me. But I have contrasting opinion with that survey. I think the native speaker's class has a higher level of satisfaction than only reading a book.
Speaking capacity is in connection with the environment. Interacting with native speakers is the main point in foreign language. Moreover, reading a English book by themselves cannot give a tip associated with pronounciation & intonation and so on.
My major is related to foreign language, seen from my experience, contacting wiht foreiner directly is more effective than learning from books. It's important to understand their culture as well as acquire conversation ability
In order to do this learnig from nativer speakers more effective than reading a book.

Thank you.