Blog Post

An interview with Anesh Daya – innovation in ESL

By: Marco Campana
April 27, 2021

Welcome to Episode 25 of the Technology in Human Services Podcast. In this episode I’m chatting with Anesh Daya, Edupreneur, ESL Disruptor, and Chief Innovation Officer of On the Spot Language, an Experiential Language Learning Program that guides and coaches English as a Second language learners to become independent language learners.

Anesh is a language lover who has not only taught, managed, and developed ESL programs around the world, he also spent time in Taiwan learning Mandarin and brings that experience to his approach at On the Spot language. On the Spot language has been around since 2009 and like every organization and business, pivoted to virtual over the past year during the pandemic. Anesh and I chat about innovation in newcomer services, language and beyond, from time to time, and I think you’ll really enjoy this deeper dive into one of those conversations. I hope you find our chat useful and interesting.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript of our conversation using Otter.ai. The transcript has not been edited. It may contain errors and odd sentence breaks and is not a substitute for listening to the audio.

Marco Campana 0:00
Welcome to Episode 25 of the technology and Human Services podcast. In this episode, I’m chatting with anish de edupreneurs ESL disrupter and Chief Innovation Officer of on spot language. an experiential language learning program that guides and coaches ESL is second language learners to become independent language learners, and is a language lover who has not only taught managed and developed ESL programs around the world, he also spent time in Taiwan learning Mandarin and brings that experience to his approach at on the spot language on the spot language has been around since 2009. And like every organization in business pivoted to virtual over the past year during the pandemic anishinabe chat about innovation and newcomer services language and beyond from time to time. And I think you’ll really enjoy this deeper dive into one of those conversations. I hope you find our chat useful and interesting. Welcome to the technology in Human Services podcast. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, give us an overview of your work at on the spot language and how you got there.

Anesh Daya 0:56
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Margo, for having me on. And it’s a truly an honor to have gotten to know you some of your work. And in regards to myself, my name is anish dia, founder and chief innovation officer of on the spot language, which started in 2009. But it really came out of a necessity of need, like what do language learners need on a daily basis to survive and I it kind of to give you an overview and just quickly started out with a mini little story. I remember I was burnt out as a multimedia specialist working downtown Toronto, at the airport with my parents 21 years old, saying I’m going I’m going to Taiwan right and I get on the airplane wearing this I am Canadian jersey. I am Canadian commercials and when this jersey, right? I’m on the airplane feeling super confident ready to go. And suddenly panic sets in and say I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know the anything about the language, the country the food turn the guy next to me. I said Can you teach me the numbers one to 10 in Mandarin. So you just took off and went no sensitive. That’s amazing, wasn’t it? Well, I was burnt out from my job in multimedia. Right. And I’m, I’m in my I took a two year multimedia, you know, program. I love computers, my whole life been around technology. All my friends were in their second year of university, I got burnt out literally took a T cell program, which you could do like really quickly back then, you know? Yeah, I remember. Right is everyone was going you went to Taiwan, but everyone was going to South Korea, right? That was the that was the thing. Exactly. So literally, you can teach English anywhere. So I literally put my literally put my finger on the globe. No joke, close my eyes and spun it.

Anesh Daya 2:52
And guess where it landed

Marco Campana 2:54
in Taiwan, the ocean? Even better.

Anesh Daya 2:58
But the actual closest land to it was Taiwan. So, you know, send a bunch of resumes to least later I’m also on the airplane turns us guys I keep between numbers one to 10. It’s like Yeah, sure. He or sound Sue who will do ci by Joe shirt. I’m like, okay, could you see that again? I’m practicing with people line up in the washroom talking to the flight attendants and coach in first class. I land that I’m like, Alright, I got this. I know my numbers one to 10 I get to my baggage claim. And someone turns seems, Nisha, now the lie that I’m like, huh? Sit Nisha, now the lie that I’m like her. I’m just saying the number two I don’t know, what do the guys say? Oh, yeah,

Marco Campana 3:37
we’re hoping.

Anesh Daya 3:39
Right? And literally, he’s asking me, where are you from? And I’m wearing this huge I am Canadian jersey, right? I couldn’t even answer that. And I said, Oh, he said you From where? And I said, Oh, I it’s all Canada, Nisha Canada. And I go chana Darren, right. And that was literally at that point where I’m like, realize, okay, I need to learn language just actually functional and useful for me that I need to survive. Right and, you know, thrive in this new country. In literally every day after that, and we’ll get into it. I learned two sentences that I needed on a daily basis to new sentences. And then, you know, fast forward. You know, a year and a half later, come back to Toronto can’t get a job in multimedia the.com boom, burst, bubbles burst, right? And I’m like, Well, I know how to teach English kind of, so I applied to a school. got through two rounds of interviews. Now I’m suddenly I went from junior teacher to head teacher worked there for five years. finally done all the international students but once they stepped outside the classroom, they were still deer in headlights. Right? They couldn’t functionally use language outside the classroom. And here I thought I’m doing this amazing job in class and I was one of the the favorite teachers, students. And I’m like, Oh, my goodness. And then as head teacher, I got laid off. You know, like, what? If you’re one of the favorite teachers, and you know, and you’re hiring and firing teachers, why are you getting laid off? Right? I didn’t have a university degree. And at that time, languages Canada made it a set rule that you have to have a university degree. To be qualified as a teacher, I’m like the one of the most qualified teachers to be, you know, teaching English in the school. Long story short, I was laid off 2009, I’m like, What am I going to do? I go, Well, I kind of have a pretty good idea of how language should be learned and taught. So I started on the spot language in 2009. And ever since then, you know, I’ve been adapting and changing and innovating the program, basically, with one core principle of let’s just teach what’s useful for these learners. And that was it. And let’s just get them comfortable. Not with me, the native English speaker who can speak very clearly with, you know, no idioms or slang or, you know, let’s get them comfortable talking with people the every, you know, Tom, Dick, and Harry on the street, kind of the, you know,

Marco Campana 6:20
yeah, the people who aren’t going to take the time and have the patience necessarily just going on about their lives. Right,

Anesh Daya 6:24
right. And so, you know, now fast forward, 12 years later, our students have had over 100,000 conversations with strangers on the streets of Toronto, you know, we’ve won several awards for Best language school, and I hate the word school, right. But I’d say program, and I’m really happy to announce, right, literally today, after this meeting, I have a meeting with an awards committee from GE for the global forum for education and learning. And we’ve been voted into the to receive an award for top 50 organizations in education.

Marco Campana 7:01
Amazing, congratulations.

Anesh Daya 7:03
So you know, it’s come a long way. And I know we’re gonna get into you know, how the pandemic is, we can’t go outside anymore is that what do you do? But we

Marco Campana 7:13
talk a little bit about the model, though. So the model is interactions with everyday people. So So what does that actually look like? And how is that different in so many ways from being in a classroom?

Anesh Daya 7:24
Well, what the way I like to look at it is number one, we’re not teaching, we’re coaching. And we don’t have teachers, we have language coaches. So there’s a sense of like, you know, let’s talk about accountability. Let’s talk about Listen, we want you to become an autonomous learner. And we want you to be become responsible for your own learning. So let’s just, let’s show you the methodology. Let’s lead by example, let’s guide you through the process of how to learn a language. And we spend, actually, half of our time unlearning how they’ve traditionally learned in terms of let’s take all the education that you’ve gotten your whole life that you’ve been taught to learn English. And let’s just put a pause to that and put it aside. Imagine like, you’re in your kid again. And that, then the tricky part is like, well, we’re not children anymore. We’re adults. And so how do you work with an adult mind? So there’s a little bit of neuroscience into it in terms of how do you work with an adult? And how do you really, you know, we don’t learn things as fast or as easy as children do. And so how do we take all of the senses that we have, and use those? So for example, we may say, I’ll say may, I might say to my student, meet me in front of the read me in front of the robot’s library. You know, on day two, for example, just to give you an idea of how a day might work, we’ve already taught them the sentences excuse me, where would I find robot’s library? Is it around here? And then the follow up to that is, is this building named after anyone or anything, you know, and again, they may not understand everything you ask 100 people this, you know, you’re gonna hear several similar answers, you know, right. So the next day, they can’t use Google Maps, nothing. They can only use the language they’ve learned.

Marco Campana 9:27
Nice.

Anesh Daya 9:28
So we meet them in front of robots library. They’re like, Oh, Anna, she was 17th, Premier of Ontario. The anish, but what exactly does premier mean? And then we jumped into and that literally dives into the next part of the classes. Well, actually, we have three levels of government. We have federal now wait a minute, you know what? next task, ask people around here. I’m just curious what are the three levels of government and Jago rescues me. I’m just curious, what are in the federal prevent? How do you spell that? Could you please write that down? You know, and they’re asking university students in some of the students can’t even answer.

Marco Campana 10:10
Yeah. It’s fascinating.

Anesh Daya 10:13
And I’m like, it’s fast. Yeah. It’s fascinating. Exactly. And then the next question is, well, who’s the current leader of the party? You know, and they’re starting to learn with a leader. So they’re not they’re connecting this library that has a second largest, you know, collection of books in North America. Now, they’re learning about government, but it’s all in real time in real life. And they’re connecting all the senses and these human interactions, right. And so as an adult, we can take in all these things. And whenever they think the word library, they jump your robots jump your robots, oh, you know, and they’re connecting all these things, right. And they’re, they’re listening to cp 24. And they hear the word premier. I know that, are they here, Doug Ford, I know him, you know. So as an adult, you know, there are certain ways to to get and then to further that. We go through the same process in a different location, learning different language and different skills. So Tony Robbins said routine is the mother of skill, you know, you do something enough times, you get really good at it. Right? So our students get good at being curious. They didn’t

Marco Campana 11:25
ever say a confidence thing to like, being able to go up to strangers and chat with them. I mean, that’s, that’s got to be so intimidating. At first,

Anesh Daya 11:33
we have, I’ll tell you, almost 50% of our students cry in the first week of our program, just because they’re shaking.

Marco Campana 11:44
Yeah, they’re so nervous.

Anesh Daya 11:46
They’re like, I don’t do this in my own language. Why am I gonna do this, and this is why you’re paying me the big bucks to help you get over that hump. To say, you know, what, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. And I could share literally hundreds of stories of our students getting jobs, our students meeting their their future husbands or wives, to students getting box seats at a Raptors game.

Marco Campana 12:13
You know, that’s awesome.

Anesh Daya 12:15
You name it. I have had some Yeah, crazy stories. But so when we talk about, you know, what a language coach is, we’re here to to motivate you to guide you through the process of language learning. And then once we teach you these, these, I will say it’s like a tool belt of language skills, you know, now that you have these, it’s like, it’s just rinse and repeat. Now, you know, so all you have to do now is just keep doing what we’ve just taught you to do. It’s like, you go to a driving range, right? You just got to keep hitting balls, you know, right. And then you got to go get on the course. And just play many rounds. And that’s, I mean, there’s a lot more complexity and complexity to the actual program and how we dive into it from we have action sheets, where students are actually keeping track of how many people they talk to every day, the kinds of conversations they have, every day, they have checklists of, did I have this kind of conversation or this kind of conversation. And then the last point I’ll say to this is, when we’re talking about teaching, and coaching is everything is customizable. It’s all tailored learning, right? What Marco wants to learn and what anish wants to learn. We’re very different people, our needs are very different. Our goals are very different. And so when we have a one language coach, two, three learner ratio, we really make like a, an independent study plan, if you can say, you know, for the learner, based on their interests, their hobbies, their goals, their dreams or aspirations. I have had someone said, No, I just want to find a Canadian boyfriend. I go No. More. And it’s like, Okay, you know what? Let’s start with building your sense of humor. You know, it’s always like, okay, let’s let’s just like Yeah, I like jokes. Okay, good. Good. So I taught her three basic jokes. Then her homework then is to go ask people would you be able to teach me one simple joke in English? And sensei humor in another language or culture is one of the most difficult things right?

Marco Campana 14:36
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Anesh Daya 14:38
And so you know, and so one of the first few jokes we teach them is in the program and it’s built into the program is why did the boy climb the tree with a hockey stick to play with the Maple Leafs? So number one, it shows culture you’re and you’re, you know, familiar with the culture sports, you know, And you’re able to deliver it with the intonation. And in a way that’s like, why did the boy climb a tree with hockey stick to play with the Maple Leafs, you know, in a way, which sounds different in different languages, you know, and how you produce anyway. So that’s just one example of, you know, a way that we encourage and motivate students in again, with that tailored, customized approach.

Marco Campana 15:22
That’s fascinating. So I mean, immersion, but customized immersion is kind of the big thing. The The, the the repetition within evaluation, like they’re, they’re doing the evaluation, right, they’re writing down, it’s not someone who’s testing them, which is also very different. I would want to know a little more about the coaching, though. So your role is you’re there with them out there on the street, most of the time or in an environment? Like, what’s the ratio? How many people? Are you? Are you coaching at a given time? And, and kind of what does that look like? Are you standing kind of in the background as they, as they go forth? And you’re just there’s like, if you follow, I’ll catch you, or how does it kind of play out?

Anesh Daya 15:57
Yeah, and again, I always encourage is, you know, what, see some of our videos and you’ll, you’ll probably be able to visually see that. But over over audio like that, let me try and paint a picture here. So we meet our, our classes maximum only two hours long, the human mind can only actually take in so much information at that point. It’s just you got to use it and use it and use it. Right, right, right. And so we spend when we meet students at the location, every day at a different location. Number one, they should have already known or gotten information about where we are from the strangers we’ve met, then we get into, okay, let’s talk about this and talk about the new learning point. Then we get into the new new skill or topic, let’s just say, you know, we’re learning about famous Canadians today, as an example, and one of those we’re on, we’re on King Street at Canada’s Walk of Fame. And now you see Terry Fox, you see Wayne Gretzky, see, you know, a whole sleazy, you know, Donald Sutherland, Russell Peters, everyone that right now, and now part of your homework is to ask people, who would you say is the most famous Canadian, past or present? And what we do as a language coach? Is we model it, we have to show them how does this work? You know, right. And so I may not be an international student, sometimes I do act as one, I put on a no spell policy. So I can eat I can put on either a French Excuse me, I don’t know. But But I’m an international student. And I’m not going to I’m not going to bastardize it. But you know, I’m an international student. I study English in Toronto, and part of my homework is to ask people blank, in this case, who would you say is the most famous Canadian past or present? their students like, oh, and they can see, you know, how my body language, my intonation, and now I’m like, okay, it’s your turn. And they Okay, first practice with me. Let’s practice with each other. Literally five minutes, we’ll do a little bit of practice, then like, I’m like, Okay. And sometimes like, No, I can’t do the introduction. But I can only remember, who would you say is the most famous Canadian, past or present? Okay, I’ll introduce it. Excuse me, my friends here. They’re international students that English and Toronto and actually, we’re in our class right now. And this is part of their homework. Would you mind answering their quick question? And most Canadians, you know, will give, you know, two to five minutes of their time. Yeah. And one of the great things about Toronto, right? Not not 20 minutes or half an hour, we all got a two to five minutes. That’s all we need. Yeah. Then the student jumps in is, who would you say, is the most famous? Canadian, past? Or president? That’s amazing. Good job. And of course, everyone’s empathetic, they get it, and they see if they can see this person is making them like, I’d say, Pierre Trudeau. They’re like, and they already know that the next student jumps in Marco is like, what’s he best known for? that’s just that’s that question.

Marco Campana 19:05
So you’ve got like a little routine, basically.

Marco Campana 19:08
No, I’m not trying to make

Anesh Daya 19:10
money, Python. You know,

Marco Campana 19:12
everybody knows what they’re gonna say next. And they continue to start a conversation, essentially.

Anesh Daya 19:17
That’s exactly yeah. And so they all have follow up questions. It’s not just one question. It’s like, how do we continue the conversation, which is a skill in it of itself, right. And so the person Yeah, what’s he best known for? And they’ve already also further learned, because we know most of the people are gonna say, Wayne Gretzky, Celine Dion, Pierre Trudeau know certain people in different categories. And so we’ve actually taught the sentence. When was he in office?

Marco Campana 19:47
Okay, so you’ve already built in some knowledge,

Anesh Daya 19:50
knowledge sentences

Marco Campana 19:51
they have to go through in their brain who they just said and what’s the correct follow up question, which is also a whole skill, right? Absolutely. And they really,

Anesh Daya 20:00
they’re not going to get more than 10 different. Some people say Drake, right? They say, oh, I’ve heard of him. What would you say is his most famous song? They remember that from music day? You know? Yeah. And so you know, it’s quite amazing. Because they’ll get things out of left field. You know, they’ll hear, they’ll hear something like, well, there’s, there’s no question that it should and will always be ever Levine. I’m like, that’s awesome. That’s great. And, you know, not that nothing wrong with her. I think she’s an amazing musician. But they’ll get names that maybe we wouldn’t necessarily, you know, hear but right. But it’s through all these interactions with different people. That literally, they’re gaining so much knowledge and information every day. But one of the key things and I’ll get a little bit more into the methodology is, you’ve learned 100 new things today. You choose one that you really want to learn out of all of those things. And it’s something I do with my daughter mark is, of all the things you’ve learned today and six hours of school. Let’s choose one thing that you want to choose to remember. And that’s powerful. Because people go throughout the day thinking, I don’t know, they learned. Yeah, actually don’t know. And that’s actually part of my daughter’s daily journaling is like, what’s one thing that I learned that I want to learn today. And then at the end of the week, and classes Monday to Friday, that’s five new things you’ve learned over a course of a month, a year,

Marco Campana 21:49
and so on.

Anesh Daya 21:51
And then on top of that, we humble ourselves as language coaching, we don’t know everything. Hmm. And listen, we’re on an equal playing field. As you guys, you know, we’re just guiding you on language acquisition. So actually part of the class every day, his students have to come in teach us something new. It could be from their culture, their language, it could be something they read in the newspaper, something going on in their country. But Ganesh Did you know, I know that, you know, Japan has five islands. But did you know Japan has 6852 Islands all together? And I didn’t know that. That’s good to know. And then I have three students. That’s three things I got to learn today. At the end of the week, that’s 15 things. And this is the day they test me the following Monday. All right, is Dean things. Yeah. And I do

Marco Campana 22:47
remember from what you learned, that’s great. It’s total exchange. So yeah, I get so that, that that notion of of being together in this, and you’re all learning something, obviously takes away that power dynamic, right? Yeah. You were just you’re doing the hands, the top down exactly exactly where you’re heading.

Anesh Daya 23:06
In this thing, where a teacher is always standing, and the students are sitting, whereas, you know, I have had students who are taller than me, know, they’re looking down on me. It’s, it’s this thing, we’re all in this together, I’m learning as an appoint. Last point I’ll say about this is in terms of both learning. I’ve learned more about Canada, in the city of Toronto, from all the strangers I’ve met than any textbooks or history books I’ve ever read.

Marco Campana 23:35
That makes so much sense. Yeah. Because you’re talking directly to people. Yeah, it’s a different experience. I love it. I mean, that’s, I’m gonna definitely check out the videos, and I’ll share some of them. So people can get a real visual sense of what that looks like. It’s fascinating. But you know, the question is coming out. So this is incredibly interpersonal, incredibly immersive. And we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and you know, the settlement sector and everyone, we’re all pivoting online. So how do you transition something like this into a digital model? And how’s that been for you?

Anesh Daya 24:05
And again, this is me being vulnerable. I, I won’t lie and say I didn’t have a few breakdowns when this all happened when like core value offering, let’s go talk to strangers outside. And let’s meet at different locations and what we’re being told to stay at home. Okay. You know, I really had to take a deep dive into just where we’re at what does the future look like for the business and the methodology and all the things that we’ve built up and I said, You know what? Here I am, at that time, 11 years into this business, how many students have I had, what are they doing now? Surely I can reach out to all of them and say, Do you have an hour a week to do online language coaching with me just to add Maintain your English language level or take it to the next level. Sure. And they’re like, Yeah, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And they’re like, We’re so happy that you reached out to us, because we kind of could feel it kind of going down. But now we’re excited and motivated to further learning because now they’re being required to get comfortable online. And, you know, and and talk to strangers. And how do we do this online? I’ll make this as easy. All right. And so and it’s tough, because we’re sitting down. And one of the reasons why I have this experiencial language learning program outside and this is from my, when I was a tennis pro for two years, you know, when you’re learning a rush fact, man, right? I know. Sorry, just said that in. But when you’re learning in motion, right? Hmm, blood is flowing, oxygen is going to the brain. And when you’re sitting down, traditionally, your brain is like, is it sleep time? You know? There’s no, there’s not that adrenaline is not going, you know, right. And there’s also this sense of security and safety that you have sitting behind a camera and a screen. And so, something hit me within the first month, one of my students, her name is Miho. She was a nurse, and she got sick. And it’s at the peak of COVID. And she hadn’t gotten tested yet. And the doctor said, you need to stay in the hospital in quarantine, live in the doctors residents. And then she’s like, she reached out to me said, anish, I can’t go out. I’m eating hospital food every day. I’m stuck in this room. Can you help me? I go, what do you need help with the English? She goes, I just don’t know what to do. I’m I’m having these serious thoughts of, you know, a lot of bad thoughts. And I don’t, I’m not feeling really good. And I came back to her the next day online. And I said, You know what, she really needs his mental health support.

Marco Campana 27:00
Right?

Anesh Daya 27:01
Know what how can I? What are what are things that I do on a daily basis? So I’m like, maybe she can we can start the day with gratitude. You know, let’s say what are you grateful for every day in English? Let’s do this in English. What do you you should do this in your own language? But what are you grateful for? In this, like, Oh, I’m I’m grateful to have a job to still get be getting paid while I’m in quarantine. And you know, then I’m like, like, what was the best part of your day? I know you are inside and in your room level is the best part of your day, what was the most challenging part of your day? And what are you going to do better for tomorrow. And I just developed this. And through this student, I started developing this whole new curricula that started talking about self improvement, self love, gratitude, having an attitude of gratitude, which is going to help them in their relationships, their jobs, their just their family, life, everything. But imagine if we can start implementing these daily habits in English, right? At the start of your day, at the end of your day, if you’re asking yourself and answering to yourself these questions in English, and here I am now. And again, I’m not a psychologist or therapist or anything I do not call up I’m but I’m someone who can hold you accountable for doing this. And I have students now giving themselves a score out of five every day, saying, How did I do today?

Unknown Speaker 28:40
Huh?

Anesh Daya 28:41
I was a two and that’s okay, if you felt that too. What was it that made it a two. But again, I’m having all these conversations in English and doing a cell in English. In literally all of my students after that. I have students now Marco, they’re doing daily affirmations. I’m strong enough and I’m good enough in every day, my English is getting better and better like that Tony Robbins kind of

Unknown Speaker 29:07
feel. Yeah,

Anesh Daya 29:09
but they’re doing this all

Marco Campana 29:12
in English. And I’ve been doing it with you. Are they recording themselves? Or is that like a boat?

Anesh Daya 29:17
So how do I pronounce this sentence and I have a list of like 200 affirmations and then like, choose 10 that you want to that resonate with you? Right? I record it for them. I practice it with them. And so even their pronunciation is improving through this constant daily reputation of these affirmations. And they’re feeling them to Right,

Marco Campana 29:44
right. It’s real. It’s not just English, right?

Anesh Daya 29:47
But emotions in another language more than they’re even feeling it in their own

Marco Campana 29:54
mind. That’s fascinating. I love that. So you’ve created a whole new model.

Anesh Daya 30:00
Truly has I truly have. And it’s been, I’ve been further motivated to help all of these students who aren’t currently hearing. And in the at the same time when we talk about the language and language settlement sector, as I like to call it, I thought, you know what, maybe this is the real angle that a lot of these newcomers are refugees in. And I know I understand there lots of supports out there for them. But imagine if this connectivity with English language learning and mental health and affirmations and daily gret, like what if there was this holistic program that could be offered? Not just like, this is a pen, and then everyone in this now is like, ooh, how can we use technology to to innovate and pivot and I go, what you were doing before and now using technology to continue to do what you were doing before is not going to change a thing?

Marco Campana 30:58
Yeah, I mean, I wanted to ask you about that, right? Because that we see a lot like, people are pivoting and you know, there’s, that’s an iteration, right? You’re doing what you did in the classroom, online, in the learning management system, or using Moodle or something like that. So you know, what could there be? So your example is one of what could happen? Are you seeing other interesting innovations, new ways of doing things because of this shift shift?

Anesh Daya 31:20
Well, that the closest thing I’ve seen, that has recently come to light, and something that I initially looked at about three years ago was the virtual environment. You know, how can we have the local cafe doctor’s office supermarket? virtually? Hmm. But even within that, and there are some, there’s some software and VR software out there, that you can do this. But again, that comes down to well, who’s providing this service? Who’s training people? Are they just traditional language teachers now trying to say, oh, now I’m a language coach, I can do this. Right? Are the right people guiding people on the the the psychology of actual language acquisition? Like, how do we take the on the spot methodology, that’s which is a lot there. And then combine that in the VR space as as realistically as possible, right. And that’s what I what I’m trying to navigate now. Because a lot of newcomers, they don’t have access to VR technology. And you know, there’s only so much you can really do. And again, my whole thing is, when I think about the holistic view is, I want that in person connection, that human interaction. And I know we’re going to get back to there in some way, or format, or however that looks, but this human interaction is going to come back at some point, right? And I almost want to let everyone know, hey, we were doing this before, and I get all this tech is here. But let’s also start thinking post this but still used. And we’ve always used technology as a tool, we use things like, you know, we use Quizlet. And we use YouTube videos. And we have a whole handful of tools that we use online, to further enhance whatever what what we already doing well, that students can do at home. Right, right. But to say that, tech is going to completely replace it? I don’t think so. I think there has to be a hybrid almost of both.

Marco Campana 33:32
Yeah, it’s complementing it, right? Like what you’ve just described, I can imagine, for example, someone that you’ve like you, you essentially are already hybrid, these are people that you did the one on one in person, and maybe now they’re back in another country, and you’re doing the virtual with them. So I want to imagine what that could look like in in Toronto, for example, which does have vast geographies where maybe, you know, the person comes to a classroom or a coaching experience, right? And then when they’re out of that coaching experience, what could they do on technology, the gratitudes, the practice, the things like that, those are things that they could continue to do, even though they’re still in the same city, because they’re at home, maybe they need that to start their day, you know, whatever works for them kind of thing.

Anesh Daya 34:12
So, absolutely, and, and this is why I’ve been I recently, you know, not reasonable six months ago, approached you and said, and asked for a letter of support for our language settlement program and created this center, where we could have these real life, my hands are in quotes, situations, but in a safe, welcoming environment that could be COVID friendly. And so some kind of center like that, with these different stations with with a language coach, a trained language coach, provide them and it’s also a safe place for them to go and feel comfortable. And then maybe once or twice a week, we can go outside, you know, for sure. And this is one of the reasons why I love embedding ourselves within CSI, this Center for Social Innovation is we made that our home for the last five, six years. And that was a safe place where students could come meet people talk to community join salad club, you know, and connect with other, you know, people. And so having kind of a base or Language Center that people could go to to feel safe as a home and then also get language instruction with these different stations. Yeah, I see it. I see it.

Marco Campana 35:31
I see the possibility. Yeah, my last question, I guess. And it’ll come up with folks when I speak to them is about to scale. Because this isn’t really resource intensive. I mean, the outcomes theory sound better, but the outcomes sound more, you know, daily life, these people are functioning literally in English much more quickly. But you know, it’s a it’s a small classroom, it’s a small space environment, how can you envision this being scaled, like for newcomers across the country in a meaningful way?

Anesh Daya 35:57
Well, this is why I come up with the idea of this language settlement center, if you call or English language learning ecosystem, we call it l if you want, you know, if just like you have Lions Club, or the rotary or something like in every city across the world, why couldn’t we have one of these language centers in an already Kosti or other organizations that are you know, their existing space? Right, right. But if we have the thing is because right now, we’re a for profit organization. All the people, a lot of people in the settlement industry know who we are, they’re like, Well, have you applied for grants? And that’s not an answer. There’s so much red tape. And only the organizations who have been around forever get the grants. And I don’t know about grant writing. I’m like, so if if we could connect with the right people who understand what we do and say, Hey, we want to bring you on board. Let’s Let’s co apply for a grant, you know, right. And, but I can imagine the scalability of this being like a language center that could be copy and pasted in every city across Canada.

Marco Campana 37:05
Nice, replicable, easily replicated? Absolutely.

Anesh Daya 37:09
And this is literally the first place they go when they come into the city is this language learning center where they’re, they’re given this orientation of what is language learning mean? What does it mean to be in a new country like? And I don’t think they’re really given the proper orientation of like, let’s, let’s use language as a tool to break barriers and build bridges.

Marco Campana 37:32
Right. Building inclusion, not just settlements. Absolutely. Yeah, that makes so much sense. And that’s that fits with the values of the sector, at least in rhetoric anyway. Yeah. Awesome. Well, listen, is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you want people to know about the work that you’re doing and how the innovation in the language settlement sector could could kickstart given what we’re learning and what we’re experiencing during COVID?

Anesh Daya 38:00
i, huh. Hmm. I think in terms of technology, and innovation, really get back to say, Well, how is language successfully, like just people that really think about how is language really learned for someone settling in a new country and, you know, almost getting back to the roots of thinking? human connection, human connection, and, and I would say, getting the right training in place. I have people hiring that dentists, they’re hiring volunteers left, right and center have no idea about. Some of them are traditional teachers, and they’re doing online tutoring. But again, they’re tutoring from a textbook or trying to teach conversational English, but they have no idea of the process of like language coaching, so maybe bringing the world of language coaching more into the forefront of saying no, and if and I think the government, if you look at in years later, they’re gonna save millions and millions of dollars, if they can get language settlement down, in the course of six months to a year, learn more than he would have many newcomers have been here for 15 years.

Marco Campana 39:19
Yeah, that would make a huge difference. You’re absolutely right.

Anesh Daya 39:22
So you know, kind of rethinking the approach and what it means to get effective training. And this is hopefully something I’m going to be able to offer his effective language coaching, training. A no and if on the spot language is at the forefront of this language settlement sector. You know, and I don’t want to work alone. I want to work with all of these other sectors, their their counselors, the doctor’s office, you know, because if the doctors know the language we’re using with them, you know, and knowing if we’re, if we’re the hub of all these other sectors and languages in the middle They’re gonna be able to learn English in every situation, you know? And so yeah, that’s, that’s good. Yeah,

Marco Campana 40:08
I love it. That’s a great dream. And I’m hoping that we can move towards it, then thank you for this. I love the work that you’re doing. It’s interesting, and congratulations on the global award. That’s always nice. And hopefully, it’ll come to something more, you know, more more real in Canada for you, as you push forward your model with with some of these sort of mainstream providers.

Anesh Daya 40:30
And yeah, that credibility, I hopefully will, like you said, you know, lend a hand to reaching some people or getting some more recognition. And again, you know, you’ve been a huge supporter from our initial conversation and connecting us with some amazing people. And just like, you know, my buddy, Craig Edwards, you know, you guys are great connectors, and really passionate about finding the right services for the right people. And when it comes to, you know, how can we use technology, not to take over but as a tool to help other people, you’re on a store front of that, and I appreciate all the great conversations you’ve had around that, to make people just aware of the what’s out there.

Marco Campana 41:13
Yeah, I appreciate that. And I mean, it’s an insatiable curiosity. So I really appreciate you taking the time to help people understand better what you’ve been able to do, not just for, you know, 11 years, but in the last year as well. So I think we’re all still trying to figure this out. So this is a great example of another approach that people need to be thinking about. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

Anesh Daya 41:33
Awesome. Thank you.

Marco Campana 41:35
Thanks so much for listening. I hope you found this episode interesting and useful for you and your work. You can find more podcast episodes, wherever you listen to your podcasts are also on my site@markopolos.org I appreciate you listening and if you have any tips, suggestions, ideas or want to be interviewed or know someone who wants to be interviewed, please drop me a line through my website, or marco@markopolos.org Thanks again.

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