(Excerpts taken from Cognate Linguistics)
'Aprendamos: una oportunidad para superarnos' ('Let's Learn: an opportunity to excel') is the first educational television program implemented in Ecuador. The project, promoted and financed by the Municipality of Guayaquil in Ecuador, responds to the needs of the young and adult population from the urban popular sectors of the city that face conditions of poverty, unemployment, exclusion, and limited access to quality education. The project is supported by Ecuador Foundation, the Guayaquil Chamber of Industry, and eight private national television channels -all commercial and open signal- whose collaboration is free of cost. The courses produced by the project are free and provide learners with three main tools: a text book with an audio CD, TV lessons twice a week, and a tutorial center, reachable via a 1-800 number.
From Childhood Development to Customer Service and House Maintenance, 'Aprendamos' works to improve the quality of life of the population of the city of Guayaquil, the largest city in the country. So far, there have been ten courses that have directly benefitted approximately half million people. Due to the increasing number of tourists arriving in Guayaquil, research proved the need for a basic English course. That is how it came to be the tenth course of the project; 'Hello! Curso introductorio al idioma inglés' ('Hello! An Introductory Course to the English Language', 2009).
The success of 'Hello' has gone far beyond the expected. With 70,000 registered learners, it broke the record of the previous most successful course, which had reached approximately 40,000 individuals. It is also important to highlight the fact that, although 'Aprendamos' is a local municipal project, there are many more people that watch the TV lessons nationwide than those 70,000 who could register and get their free books and CD's. To cover that gap, the websites of the Municipality of Guayaquil and Ecuador Foundation provide links to download the material of the course for those viewers in other cities.
What does 'Hello!' have to do with Cognates? It has a lot to do. We had the opportunity to design the contents of 'Hello!' strongly supported by lexical and syntactic cognates. Given that besides teaching useful language mainly required to attend tourists in restaurants, stores and on transportation, the course also had the objective of encouraging people to decidedly start learning English, cognates would additionally be the motivational support of this project. Cognates are innate motivators; there is nothing better than comprehensible language to encourage learning and language production.
Thanks to the success of 'Hello!', a second cognate-based course was launched in February 2010; 'Hello! Nivel 2. Curso introductorio al idioma inglés'. Additionally, Hello! 1 was reprised between August and October, 2010; and, Hello! 2 was reprised between October and December 2010.
Introduction of Cognates in Hello! 1
Advertisement of Hello! 2