As I research learning with closed captions, I’m seriously impressed with what I see. Finland has a high literacy rate. Why? Because they have better teachers? No. Because they don’t produce their own movies and TV shows. They use everyone else’s and then subtitle in their own language. The fun part is that the kids don’t mind and it makes them work while they veg…how about that.
Looking at other countries, India has low literacy rates, so what do they do? Like many countries they lower the bar so they don’t look so bad. Does this fix the problem? Never does. So what does one enterprising man do? He looks at how subtitling videos effects the literacy of the population. And low and behold, it improves it.
It improves comprehension as well. There are studies that look at not only reading comprehension but the effects closed captioning and subtitles have on listening comprehension. This is not the “perfect drug” that will fix all our educational woes but it seems to vastly improve many of the issues that we see in our youngsters. If you think about literacy, it touches nearly all aspects of education. You have to be able to read and comprehend your text book in science and social studies to really do well. So if we could improve our students literacy, we could improve their scholastics all around.
I have one little girl who is 4 and already can spell Mom without help (and dad, let’s not leave him out) and my other little 4 year old girl who is just happy being a drama queen. For both of them, I’m going to start using CC whenever I put them in front of the tube so that they will be ahead of the game. Let’s not forget my 6 year old who has already started the “I don’t want to read that” game. I figure it will definitely help to bring her up another level so that when she hits middle school she won’t struggle with the reading as much as some of my current students do.
I knew when I started this journey that closed captioning would be important for the deaf and hard of hearing (of which currently I teach none). I had heard rumors that this accommodation would also help others but I was completely blown away by just how far reaching this one small change was. It helps SO many learners. It kind of makes you wonder why more of the “educational” websites do not offer this accommodation. YouTube has closed captioning but many school districts block it. TeacherTube does not appear to accommodate in this way (I’ve e-mailed them about it and am awaiting a response).