A 5 year plan for improving English Language Skills

It is now widely agreed amongst the thought leaders of the world as evidenced at the World Economic Forum meeting in January 2016, that we are entering a stage of accelerated change in the fourth Industrial Revolution.

While newer technologies such as robotics and machine intelligence together with advances in genetics will drive the engine of the economy with innovative products, the global business system will be increasingly driven by the English Language, and it is estimated by some that about 2 billion people will be using English as a Foreign Language.
If Indian youth has to maintain its leading position shown by our alumni from IITs, BIT, and other leading Institutions, then it is clear that our young learners must leave School with English language skills at the CEFR level of C1 or above.
One clear goal of leading School education should be that all their graduating students have achieved a language skill level of C1 on the CEFR scale.
This can be implemented as a 5 year plan, for learners in classes 6 to 10. Those who miss the opportunity because they were in a higher class may continue into classes 11 and 12.
Research suggests that it takes approximately
200 guided learning hours
for a language learner to progress from one level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to the next. This translates to about 20 minutes per day everyday, a very desirable and doable cognitive load that is not only bearable, but also perhaps quite enjoyable.
However, there are a number of factors that can affect how long it might take a specific learner to achieve the desired level of English, including:

the existing language learning background
the design of the language learning intervention
the amount of study/exposure outside of lesson times
Personalising the learning experience is therefore crucial. As all children have mobile phones and love to use them, but they are banned within school premises, the possible model is to deliver the language skills improvement mission outside of school hours, on the mobile phone with whatsApp as the tool for social collaborative learning. This allows practice and improvement of all the 4 skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Continuous improvement can then lead to achieving the targetted goals.
This journey of improvement would be monitored by an  ‘English Language Learning Coach’ assisted with tools such as Duolingo and practice/diagnostic tests to be able to deal with larger learning cohorts.
There is no reason to believe that groups of about 150, the Dunbar number cannot be effectively managed as a whatsApp group, which now allows upto 256 members.
Of course, as we try out the model, it would evolve  and with experience we will move towards a new model of effective English Language Learning.

About mmpant

Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation. Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s. He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era.. Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada. He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published. During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management). With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT” Prof. Pant is presently; • Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education. • Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan • Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education • Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT • Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training • Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education. Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ; • Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms) • One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University • Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government. • Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.
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