Learning English in South Korea: Can Robots be Teachers?

English in South Korea
Photo: VOA – J. Strother

Welcome Mr. Robot.

Who said that students cannot learn English from a computer? Try asking some of the students in South Korea; their teacher is a speaking, moving robot.

Over the last decade, South Korea has realized the importance of learning English. To spearhead English learning, the South Korean government has been hiring native English speakers to teach English in their schools.

In addition to learning English at school, parents are also sending their children to after school programs to further improve their English. Because of the high demand, English teachers are in short supply and costing parents thousands and thousands of dollars each year.

The solution? Now, a group of engineers may have changed the way students learn languages in the classroom. These lead engineers have created an egg-shaped robot designed to act, speak, and move like a teacher.  This is not just a computer, this robot is an interactive teaching machine that teaches students to sing songs and repeat key English phrases. These engineers have even added motion and expression similar to that of a teacher in order to give students the full English language experience with their robotic teacher.

The hope for these robots is that they will be incorporated into schools to help South Korean students learn English in addition to saving money and making up for the shortfall in native English speaking teachers.

While interacting with an English speaker is suspected to be more rewarding, this is seen as a good way to help students start learning English.

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3 responses to “Learning English in South Korea: Can Robots be Teachers?”

  1. […] In South Korea, native English speakers are in demand and are being brought to South Korea to teach the locals and improve fluency. In fact, from our previous article, native English speakers are in such demand that it has exceeded supply and there are new opportunities being looked at with English language teaching robots. […]

  2. The human brain can distinguish between a human face and a screen. A computer program is not a substitute for a language teacher. These school districts are wasting their money and doing these students a disservice.

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