Frequently Asked Questions about Bridges

The best place to understand how the StudyDo design works is the introduction and teaching tips in the printed version of Bridges and our For Teachers section on this site. In addition to those, here are some questions we sometimes hear from teachers and students.

Is Bridges free?

Yes.

If it’s free, how can it be good?

It was paid for by the U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow Program. An expert in English language teaching and materials development designed it and it’s beautifully printed with 2 and 4-color photographs. It was not created for free, but it is free to teachers and students while supplies last.

Will you run out of Bridges before I get my copy?

Maybe. Our best way of getting more copies is for teachers to sign up and show interest. The more teachers sign up for their copies, the more likely we will get funds to create more and to provide free class sets to schools and researchers.

What standard (level) is Bridges for?

Bridges is not for a particular standard or age of student. Some of the activities have been adopted for the 6th Standard English-medium textbook by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks, but Bridges is designed for ANY student who can read the text.

Is Bridges right for me?

If you can read the text, and you want to begin producing and using English, it’s right for you.

My students don’t speak English, can they use Bridges?

Bridges is for students who can read the text fairly well, but don’t yet speak much.

Will this prepare students to take exams?

In Gujarat, since 2005, exams have been based on proficiency in using language. Bridges is designed to build that proficiency, so, yes, it will prepare students for exams that are based on proficiency.

Where’s the grammar?

Some activities in Bridges focus on the form of language but, in the designer’s opinion, grammar instruction is not really appropriate until AFTER students are comfortable speaking. Too much concern about grammar or error before students are ready will actually inhibit them from speaking. However, the texts in Bridges offer effective, correct, rich, and varied language models. Students will pick up a good deal of correct grammar and spelling from noticing and using the texts.

Where’s the spelling?

Many textbooks equate spelling with writing, so that teachers sometimes think that spelling must come before writing, just as grammar rules must come before speaking. Neither of these things is true and both ideas will discourage students from learning to use the language. Bridges is not the only textbook students will ever use. Spelling and correct grammar can come later, after students use language to communicate.

Where’s the answers?

Bridges is designed to promote critical thinking, therefore the vast majority of activities and questions have no single “right” answer. There’s no key because the goal is to help students produce language, not to teach facts or content.

What if my students are from vernacular-medium schools?

Bridges is for any student who can read the text so it does not matter what age that student is or what his/her background is. Bridges has been used successfully in both vernacular and English-medium programs and with both adults and children.

But, what if Bridges is really too hard? What if students can’t read the text?

For beginning readers, we are working on a new book that will use the same principles and easy to follow design but use stories that have a lower level of vocabulary so that students begin using the language they do understand while building their vocabularies up to the Bridges level.

Why did you create this book in Gujarat?

The designer spent over a year working with teachers and students in this region before being asked to consult with Gujarat State Board textbook writers. Over and over again it was observed that students had very high vocabularies in relation to the low amount of production. It became clear that a large gap between comprehension and production existed for a very large number of learners in this region. The same seems to be true for much of South Central Asia. Bridges was conceived as a text that would be appropriate for a very large segment of the South Central Asian population. The first printing is being made available to students and teachers as a trial of the design.
If you have a different question you’d like answered, email us.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+

Comments are closed.