Pairing Senior Citizens with ESL students solves two problems at once


[image credit: Adweek]

Non-native English speakers need native speakers to speak with and lonely senior citizens need someone to talk to

Opportunities to communicate with a native speaker is essential for language learners to make progress in gaining language proficiency. However, learners often have difficulty finding native speakers who will take the time to speak with them.

Senior citizens often feel confined and isolated in assisted living facilities. They need opportunities to provide a useful service and speak with others to increase their sense of well being.

Solution: use video communication technology to pair language learners with native speaker senior citizens

A Brazilian school needed an opportunity to help their students connect with native English speakers. They formed a partnership with a retirement community in Chicago. Volunteers from the retirement community are paired with students and their video conversations are uploaded. Teacher’s screen the videos and use them to give students feedback and students form meaning relationships with their senior citizen conversation partners.

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Category: Education


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Article by: McKay Barrow

McKay is researching leading practices in second language acquisition. He has M.A. degrees in Anthropology and Second Language Studies from UC Santa Barbara and the University of Indiana. On a good day he'll tell you about living through the 2009 Urumqi riots in Xinjiang.
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