David J. McCluskey
It is well documented that the current grammar-translation model of teaching English with numerous written tests utilized in Taiwan is not the best way to learn a second language. Taiwan student’s English proficiency is falling behind most of Asia. Students may be able to memorize grammar and pass a written test but they are often too shy to speak and use English in the “real world”. It is held that total immersion is by far the most effective form of second language aquisition.
Korea has emerged as a role model for creative and innovative English training strategies with the result being an overall improvement in their student’s English proficiency.
The concept of an English Village in Asia began in Korea several years ago. This model finds the student immersed in a real world situation such as ordering at a café where they are forced to speak English as opposed to sitting at the back of a class. This hands-on program has proved very effective and successful and has lead to numerous other English villages springing up all over Korea including an 85 million dollar(U.S.) town complete with a staff of live-in foreign teachers. Japan has now also embraced the English Village model. In 2006 the Taoyuan Education Bureau opened the first English Village in Taiwan at Wun Chang Junior High School.
Their success has lead to other English Villages in the county being constructed.