Body language

Don asks if we deal with body language and if we use videos. We do not address the issue of body language nor do we use videos.

If you are surrounded by native speakers you may pick up some of their body language. I do not think this is something that is necessary nor is it something that can be taught over the Internet. We have decided to use the web as our classroom. We concentrate on things that are easily delivered via the web.

We offer interesting content for intensive listening and reading. We offer a systematic way to learn new vocabulary. We offer writing correction and on line discussion. We offer the chance to interact with native speaking tutors and other learners from different cultures. All of this prepares the learner for encounters with native speakers.

We have stayed away from videos for several reasons. First, they are not as language intensive as the spoken or written word. Second, they require the learners to sit in front of a TV or computer. We want the learners to listen and read a lot wherever and whenever they are. We want the learner to achieve up to two hours per day of interaction with the language, every day.?? This is hard to achieve with video. Video, movies, TV , radio, newspapers etc, are all additional activities that are no doubt beneficial, but not central to the program we offer.

As to the issue of a neutral accent, I think this is quite subjective. I personally feel that the Canadian or General American accent is quite neutral and the most universally useful accent to learn. But I recognize that I am prejudiced by the fact that I speak that way. Learners living in Australia would want to learn the Australian accent. One of the weaknesses of our system is that our content is mostly in Canadian or General American. Even though most people find this easy to understand, we do intend to add more regional variants of English to our system. People should be able to imitate the accent they find the most useful or appealing.

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