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Higher Ed

NY rolls out pocket-size English lessons

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Credit Kenneth Buker/via Flickr
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Learning a new language is tough. And for immigrant farmworkers, long work days and lack of transportation can pose extra barriers. New York state has an idea to change that. It’s a language lesson that fits in your pocket. Just dial up the state’s new English on the Go line from your cell phone. The free lessons are interactive, with audio and text messages.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this program yesterday. The line is aimed at all non-English speakers. But Brett Chedzoy from Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension says it will be especially useful for the state’s Spanish-speaking immigrant farmworkers.

“Working with our larger farms, they’re very, very dependent on their Spanish-speaking workforce,” he says.

Chedzoy says the format is also a good idea. Users do the lessons at their own pace.

“Your brain can only – especially as adults – can only absorb so much at one time,” Chedzoy says. “You can do this in little daily, ten-minute doses.”

The program is free, but learners do have to pay for cell phone minutes and text messages through their plans.

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