A very interesting article on January 30, 2008 from the PR Newswire (U.S.) stood out to me today. It said the Wall Street Institute (WSI) is the world’s premier provider of English language instruction. I was intrigued. I finished reading the article and went straight to their website to see what this was all about.
From the article, they said that the WSI teaches students “how to communicate in English in everyday conversations in both social and business settings”. If you’re an English language instructor, you might say to yourself that that’s not a new concept (at least that’s what I said to myself).
After reading further down the article, I tried to understand what they were talking about. Why this school is being dubbed “the world’s premier provider” of English language instruction is because the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations showed that their curriculum is at par with the Common European Framework Reference for Languages (CEFR) English Proficiency Scales.
As a student of family literacy, I became even more fascinate about WSI’s method of instruction. Their new corporate website showed that they follow something called an Acquisition Cycle. This cycle is an English as a Second Language technique and procedure that follows the “3 Ps of language learning”: Presentation, Practice and Production.”
Reminiscent of an article I read in class by James Gee’s called, “What is literacy?”, I realized that maybe this school is on to something. Gee said that “acquisition” is when we acquire something subconsciously and through the process of trial and error. “Learning” is then a conscious way to gain knowledge through formal teaching.
Everyone learns differently, that’s a given. Researchers will always continue to find new teaching methods to cater to learners needs. In a way, education is organic – it will shift, change, and always try to cultivate the best people who live in our society (even if it means re-inventing the wheel).