The people who I’ve been working with on the Spanish and Chinese sites over the last few weeks are all PhD students. It’s amazing to see the research they are doing, which is basically the same we do here, namely find an educational need, propose an idea to fill it and then test the results.
I’ve been asked several times in the past to write up the Genki English ideas for a PhD, and I’d always figured we’d need to research for 6 years to really learn the long term effects. But it seems you can get a PhD from a simple several month study! This could be very interesting indeed.
For example with the India project we’re in the lucky situation of introducing Genki English in a very controlled way to 10 new schools. The people from Newcastle University are testing all the kids at the moment. Then as Genki English rolls out across the schools we’ll test the kids again to see if it really does work. As I’ve seen so many kids in other countries do well, I’m pretty confident myself that the results over such a time period will be great. But of course the people in charge of the Indian programme need hard data from their own studies before they move Genki English on to lots (and lots) more of their schools.
My background is in scientific testing so I’m quite happy to leave all this up to the social science people who know how to correct for all the various different parameters that effect educational testing, you wouldn’t believe how complicated it can get!
As I said I’m confident the current research well come out with good improvements in the kids’ abilities over a period of weeks and months. But for me it’s the improvement over years and years that I want to know. How much of a long term effect are we having? How far does the motivation and ability continue to improve into high school? I’d love to be able to research that.
So before then I am seriously thinking about looking into doing a PhD study over a shorter time frame. It does seem there’s no problem with me also being the materials creator, as everything is peer reviewed, these days (after many changes) just about everything about Genki English stands up to any educational scrutiny, so the only problem is writing it up which would take a lot of time.
Time is the thing we are all limited by. Would I be better using that time to make new materials and help more kids? Or to get the qualification and hence the credibility so more people would start using Genki English sooner?