South Korea’s Engkey, English teaching robot

Engkey is an English teacher/robot supposedly. As far as I can tell it’s only good for correcting pronunciation errors (as students run through memorized conversations) and even then I find it hard to believe it knows “natural pronunciation”. But the real issue is that we know Behaviorism and the ALM have severe limitations.

You have to wonder if Choi Mun-taek (the team leader working on these “intelligent” robots) knows his SLA not only because of the robots’ behavioristic teaching style but also because he says a robot with a female voice is more effective for teaching than a robot with a male voice. Is that backed up by science or just common sense?

Nevertheless, the Education Ministry wants every kindergarten to have one (8,400) by 2013. They say Engkey can replace native speakers. I say if you’re in Kindergarten you don’t need a robot or a native English speaker.

Filed Under: Education in general

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