As Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, I oversee our pedagogical approach to second language acquisition (SLA) and all of our SLA-related research. Learning a second language is one of the most complicated things that a person can do, and I’ve dedicated my career to identifying the most effective ways to help language learners and teachers.
I was 20 years old when I first taught English as a second language, and I realized almost immediately that I loved teaching. The only problem was that I didn’t exactly know what I was doing back then! Since then, I’ve spent countless hours in classrooms learning as a student, researcher and instructor, and I know a lot more about language learning and teaching than I did 20 years ago. Today, my role at Voxy gives me the unique opportunity to apply the latest research to Voxy’s groundbreaking English learning platform.
In addition to leading the Voxy Education Team, I’m also back in a teaching role, this time at Hunter College here in New York. The course will cover a range of topics, including the academic theories that explain how language learning works, the qualities that make it easier for some people to acquire second languages, best practices for teaching languages with the help of technology and how to use real-world tasks as a teaching method.
I’m so excited to be back in a classroom where I can continue a dialogue with other instructors about how to best meet learners’ needs. Teaching gives me new insights into the challenges facing English language learners and their teachers today, and it also requires me to be as up-to-date as possible on the latest language research. At Voxy, we’re not just committed to providing the most innovative technology—we’re merging the most advanced language learning platform with proven teaching methods to help our learners improve their English proficiency and accomplish their language learning goals in the real world.
Throughout the course of the semester, we’ll be creating special video lessons based on what I’m teaching week to week. Check out the first installment below! You’ll hear a high-level overview of how SLA works, what type of practice language learners need and the way environmental and psychological factors affect language acquisition.
Dr. Katharine B. Neilson, PhD, is Voxy’s Chief Education Officer.