Have you ever wondered how a visually impaired student studies English? Yes, I have been blind since I was a 5-year old kid. I always have a dream of studying abroad to learn about medicine so that I can help disadvantaged people like me. And I know for sure that English skills are the must-have skills I need to acquire first. I hope my story today can help you understand more about me and the world of visually impaired people.
- Tran Viet Hoang
- 18 years old
- Freshman at Fullbright
- How I studied English: studying English at school, focusing on Grammar and Vocabulary
- What I’m studying now: learning English through videos
- eJOY’s products used: eJOY Go, eJOY App
- Improved skills after learning English with eJOY: Listening, Speaking, Vocabulary
I used to only learn English grammar and vocabulary
I’m always a hard-working student. I never hate English, not to mention that I really like this subject. However, back to those days, all what I was taught at school was grammar and vocabulary. You know, things like passive voice, relative clauses, reported speech, etc… The funny thing is I was always good at English grammar. However, my English communication skills were very bad. I never had the confidence to speak English. I couldn’t join any English conversations. My speaking was bad, and so was my listening. I used to think my English vocabulary was never a problem until I had to put them in use. Because even I know the meanings of those words, I never learned how to use them in real-life conversations. That’s why my writing and speaking always sounded very unnatural and dull.
Fast forward to last year, I got a full scholarship from The University of Fullbright. I was very exciting. However, the moments of joy soon ended when I got to know that English is one of the essential skills that I need to be able to keep up with my studies at this university. Most of the subjects will be taught in English and I have no choice but to try my best to be fluent in this language, not just grammar but the other English skills also. I had one year to prepare for this new journey.
How did I know about eJOY?
Last year, when I was a member of Khat Vong family, I had the chance to join a public talk held by eJOY. Thanks to the talk, I started to learn more about eJOY and knew that the eJOY team developed products that helped me to learn English effectively through videos. I downloaded the eJOY app to my phone and learned English every day. Learning English on eJOY was so joyful and relaxing. Every day I try a little bit harder than the day before.
How have I learned English with eJOY?
I was lucky enough to get a seat in the BKHUP co-working space for a few months. During those months, I put most of my time and effort into learning English. I got up early, got on the bus to UP. I stayed there all day learning English. The environment at BKHUP is always quiet, helping me focus better on my study.
I started out with Young learner starter course which is suitable for beginners like me. The course has 6 units, each with 5 or 6 short videos. Not too long, not too short, best for a beginner to start with.
My learning steps for each video
Step 1 – Listen to the video and look up new words
What’s way better than Youtube is that on eJOY you can tap on subtitles to look up dictionary. Even though I can’t see anything, I can use a visual support tool on mobile to help me interact with the app. eJOY helps me listen to the word’s pronunciation, understand its meaning and even practice each syllabus of the word. That’s groundbreaking.
Step 2 – Listen and listen again
Since I’m visually impaired, I can’t practice with eJOY games for each video. I can only listen again and again. However, listening on eJOY is so convenient. Just one tap and it’s paused. One tap again it plays. I can double tap on the left or right to move backward or forward. I can slow down the speed or repeat one dialogue line easily.
Step 3 – Vocabulary review
What’s a pity is that I couldn’t review vocabulary in Game Center on eJOY, which I know for sure is very effective. I have to write my vocabulary on my notebook using braille. Then I read them again and again. Listening and shadowing are also a good way to review vocabulary.
How has eJOY helped me with my English?
After 4 months using eJOY, my English communication skills and vocabulary have improved significantly. I still make mistakes when I speak English but I no longer feel shy speaking this language with other people, even with foreigners. I’m not a speaking machine any more. My listening skills have improved a lot as well. I can understand most of the videos at the Intermediate level.
More importantly, I broke my bad habit of learning individual English words. Now I focus more on learning phrases or collocations with the real life context from videos on eJOY. By this way of learning, I am able to use English vocabulary more naturally and smoothly. That’s how I, a visually impaired student studies English. How about you? I’m pretty sure that you will have your own inspiring story. Share with me and others.