Kyuhan's Assignment 14


Teaching language involves understanding the way people perceive words and utilizing methods of instruction that they can easily comprehend. Computer assisted instruction is of great benefit and more interesting to learners in that it adds a multimedia approach to learning (e.g. audio, video, graphics).

The market of general educational software is slowing down [1], but the market for language learning software is growing so fast that it is at a higher percentage than other titles. However, many language-learning simulations have poor interactions and no fun factor for students. Some programs are mere extensions of conventional teaching methods. In addition, the current common approach in language learning software does not embody computer technology and language learning theory in one simulation. The problem of current market selling language-learning software is that they have only one interface and methodology for both beginners and advanced learners. Additionally, these programs try to teach reading, listening, and speaking at the same time even though multiple directions and processes can traumatize most beginners [2].

I introduce a multimedia simulation called Keikan to suggest a new design to create the best conditions for learners to acquire communication skill in a new language with a multimedia approach. Keikan is composed of three different stages. Users will be guided through the fundamental stages of Japanese language acquisition, beginning with Hiragana, the Japanese alphabet, and advancing to basic grammar.

Keikan utilizes two languages learning strategies, ‘listening comprehension first’ and ‘no grammar-translation’. From research of Valerian Postovsky, speaking fluency is developed most naturally after sufficient listening comprehension has been established [3]. Also, Keikan supports no translation to let users learn Japanese grammar more effectively than in the conventional way because a language taught by the grammar-translation methods lacks a direct link to a network of meaning [4].

[1] M. Richtel, “Once a Booming Market, Educational Software for the PC Takes a Nose Dive”, The NY Times November 30, 2006

[2] J. J. Asher, “Fear of Foreign Languages”, Psychology Today, 52-59, 1981.

[3] V. Postovsky, “The priority of aural comprehension in the language acquisition process”, The comprehension approach to foreign language teaching (pp. 170-187), Newbury House Publishers, 1981.

[4]K. C. Diller, “Neurolinguistic slues to the essentials of a good language teaching methodology: comprehension, problem solving and meaningful practice”, The comprehension approach to foreign language teaching (pp. 141-153), Newbury House Publishers, 1981.