Independent research reveals Helen Doron English is the Most Effective EFL Teaching Method. Here’s why.
Following an increase of foreign language programmes in Hungarian public and private pre-schools for children ages 3-7 years, Professor, Dr Judit Kovács set about evaluating the effectiveness and success of early language learning programmes, especially in the light of the lack of current EFL research. Dr Kovács researched three different types of ESL methods in various Hungarian towns, focusing on three key areas:
- Whether encountering foreign languages at an early age results in early multi-competence,
- The benefits, success and effectiveness of early English learning programmes taught by specially trained teachers, and
- The impact of foreign language learning on children’s’ skill development overall.
Learning language early boosts multi-skills
According to Dr Kovács’ research, encountering languages results in early multi-competence if the encounter is delivered in an activity-based, enjoyable way. Children who encountered an additional language in addition to their mother tongue through age-relevant, game-like activities proved to be able to use more than one language as a means of communication. By comparison, children, who were taught a second language through rigid, school-like methods, showed no signs of being multi-competent. They didn’t even realize that English could be used as a communication tool.
Specially trained teachers are essential to the programme
However, starting language early isn’t a guarantee of success. The curriculum, teaching methods, and quality of teachers all have a vital role to play. Dr Kovács’ findings further demonstrate that, “for success to happen, very young learners need specially trained teachers who follow a special curriculum, as Helen Doron English programmes provide, for successful early language development. “ All Helen Doron teachers are experts in this engaging and effective teaching method filled with singing, dancing and games. Students learn in in small groups of only 6-8 children and receive the attention and encouragement to learn and to feel confident while learning.
Benefits go beyond language acquisition
Dr Kovács found that the benefits of second-language learning taught through enjoyable activities by well-trained teachers extended beyond language learning alone. In fact, early second language learning contributes to a higher level of flexibility in children’s thinking and overall intellectual growth. These students not only learned English but the skills absorbed as they learnt with the unique Helen Doron methodology had a positive impact on their overall learning.
Kovács noted that there is no direct relationship between the amount of time spent learning English in the classroom and the quality of the results. She summarized that the key factor to success is that the children had access to a well-designed and elaborate curriculum with a clear purpose. Using the Helen Doron English method for learning, children starting from as young as 3-months-old enjoy learning English through music, play and fun, not realizing they are absorbing a second language as naturally and easily as they learn their own mother tongue.
Kovács Judit is associate professor and teacher trainer at ELTE TÓFK. She teaches EFL Methodology, Children’s Literature, British Civilization and assists trainees’ teaching practice at the ELTE Practice School. Her professional interest covers a wide range of topics in primary EFL teaching and primary CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). This is the field she wrote her PhD dissertation on. She also holds an MEd in Primary Teacher Training from the University of Leeds (U.K.).