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Unread Jan 10th, 2013, 02:12 pm
tiptoekid tiptoekid is offline
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Default Re: Is anyone familiar with the Helen Doron schools?

Hey everyone!

For the start i recommend that you find a school where they train teachers to use multiple learning strategies to teach your kids. Any school that uses one "perfect" method to guarantee your child's success is a fraud because different students need different kinds of approach and that applies to all children and adults.

I started teaching for Helen Doron in the Czech Republic after 5 years of experience in ESL in Asia and Europe and i wasn't so happy with the method.

I taught for them for one year and trying to fit my teaching style to their methodology was a constant struggle for me. They do push a lot of language down a child's brain but (and for me it's a big BUT) they don't teach the kids how to have a conversation and most of all how to produce questions. Most of it is just memorizing and listening to riddles or songs. I found the language structure chaotic and it was lacking roots. I mean, if you teach a foreign language you have to start somewhere and move in a certain direction. In their materials grammar is just scattered around. You do teach grammar to small kids "without" actually teaching grammar just as Helen Doron does but still, it has to go from point A to point B and you can't teach point F without points A, B, C, D and E because point F is then out of context and lacks foundations. Using songs and riddles is definitely a great tool for learning and they are right that songs and riddles are one of the tools used when you learn your a native language but la anguage course settings are very different and if you learn just songs and riddles then you won't be able to use the plain language to just get your message across. What use is it to a kid to be able to say "Sandy Mandy sugar candy." if he or she can't say "I want a candy". When learning a native language these two go hand in hand whilst in Helen Doron you just get the first part.

Their courses for babies and toddlers are really cute and they do teach your kids some English. They say these courses are also good for developing good mother-baby relationship and physical contact. What they don't tell you is that, in despite of the fact that children have an amazing ability to learn (kid's brain works much faster than that of a university student), kids also have a great ability to forget and if they don't use the knowledge they have gained, this knowledge will be erased and the space in their memory it occupied will be used for something else that the brain finds more useful for the kid to remember. This in practice means that whatever your kid learns he or she will forget it really fast if you don't constantly continue in English courses. If you make a bigger time gap all that English will be gone.

What they have really mastered is their marketing strategy. Sadly, i felt it was mostly that rather than actual teaching. Their teaching course is massively over prized, it was just 5 days, i had to have it in order to be able to teach for them and their certification is no use outside of Helen Doron. I also own TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) which is valid everywhere in the world. My Oxford trinity TEFL course was one month long (full time of course) and cost me just as much.

During the course in Helen Doron, my trainer often used the phrase: "Because it is / isn't the Helen Doron method." as an argument for using or omitting certain strategies for teaching and that's just not enough for me. They claim the method is based on a vast scientific research but they don't tell you which scientific magazine they published their study and where they let it undergo a wider scientific discussion which is a common practice for accepting new theories in any kind of science.

For me, Helen Doron was rather a "cult" than a valid methodology. (Yeah, cult. Search for the term "cult" and you will find that saying something is true because the leader said it's true is one of the basics for a cult.)

Somebody here said that people who disagree are haters. Well, if that's so can you just give constructive arguments why i'm wrong? I am very much open to a discussion.

Have fun with English!
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