English language development and building confidence: present what I learned with a loud voice like a hero

“How does phonemic awareness and phonetic recognition influence language development delay?

The importance of developing clinical strategies for treating language development delay"
Yekyung Kim, BSc.
“I’m going to present what I learned today in class.”

A loud voice echoes inside the clinic. The voice comes from a bright child who can confidently present what he learned in front of teachers, parents and friends. In the past year, the child has achieved many clinical and psycho-educational treatment goals.  


When the bright, kind child who was born in an English speaking country to the clinic for the first time, he did not answer other people’s questions and showed signs of depression. According to his comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation, his English development was delayed and he showed difficulties in phonemic awareness and phonetic recognition, which led him to have speech therapy for several years.


For example, he struggled to differentiation the sounds of /r/ and /th/ in words. He showed confusion in phonemic awareness and phonetic recognition, exacerbating his English language acquisition. He needed an individualized strategy to recognize phonetics and its relation to English alphabet letters. 


School of Life – Active Learning Center’s team of clinicians developed individualized psycho-educational strategies and implemented them. Consequently, the child started being aware of the sounds of different letters and the word meaning. 


As the child started developing his English language further, he was able to learn academic contents in English and was now capable of presenting what he learned in class.


Although he could present confidently in front of teachers, he was passive and dazed when he was asked to present in front of other people. Our behavioral analysis discovered a certain behavioral pattern. When he was given a difficult question or a challenging task, adults around him answered the question and completed the task for him. His repeated patterns of low self-esteem and helplessness was caused by other people’s constant helping behavior. 


A language development delay can lead to secondary symptoms such as emotional, behavioral difficulties. Therefore, it is important that psychological treatments target both language development and behavioral difficulties at the same time. Once the child acquired the class materials, exposure therapy strategies were used for him to overcome challenging situations.


During his presentations, he read the English letters and words that he wrote, processed them, and pronounced them out loud to provoke his phonological awareness. Consequently, he was able to improve his problem behaviors. 

He no longer presents with a quiet voice. His loud, confident voice echoes in the clinic. He is now happily conversing with teachers and parents without avoiding challenges and continues to develop his own strategies like a hero.

Yekyung KimㅣActive Learning Coordinator, Active Learning Center / the Tree Group

“Learning Disabilities” from the Perspective of Language Acquisition

"Children who have difficulty with visual processing face problems with visual discrimination, visual memory, or visual closure of letters and words."
By 전승혜 Seonghae Jeon, M.P.A.

According to many academic studies, learning disorders in young children can be expressed in various forms. It is said that in the learning situation where visual and auditory skills are used, one might wonder if a child is suffering from a learning disability.


Children who have difficulty with visual processing face problems with visual discrimination, visual memory, or visual closure of letters and words. Young children’s visual processing and subsequent spelling problems are considered one of the early signs of learning disorders and pose the risk of leading to reading disorders. On the other hand, children who have difficulty with auditory processing have problems with speech recognition, auditory discrimination, auditory memory, and auditory arrangement and mixing. For children who start learning to read, the listed difficulty can pose a potential threat to reading as a whole.

Much of the learning depends on whether the language has been well acquired, and for young children, language acquisition plays a vital role in developing the ability to think and understand abstract concepts during the development process. According to researchers, language acquisition problems with which were not dealt at an early age can cause bigger problems.


The usual cases in which one can doubt whether a child is experiencing language-related learning problems include if the child speaks too little or not at all at a certain age, or has difficulty using grammar or syntax correctly, a significantly lower vocabulary related to learning, and a low understanding of verbal language. The psychological and psycho-educational approach at our “Active Learning Center” is delicately addressed based on such academic theory.

Special Lecture on “Bilingual Children” by Dr. Cho

"What can be called bilingual does not depend on whether you can speak both languages perfectly, but on whether you can communicate with others in both languages in daily life."
By 전승혜 Seonghae Jeon, M.P.A.

On the last Friday evening of February at the “Active Learning Center,” Dr. Cho Yong-beom, the head of Dutree Group, gave a special lecture on “Brilliant Children.” It’s time to explore in depth what challenges bilingual children can face learning, psychological, emotional and social, how to overcome, and what benefits they can have in the process of growing up.


Bilingual children are known to have the following advantages:

– Less prescriptive / more creative / more flexible and open to new ideas
– “Distributive thinking” in problem-solving – having the ability to find various, possible, and non-pessimistic solutions to a problem
– Two or more expressive(language) systems foster flexibility and creativity of thinking
– Looking at language as a single object (“meta-language recognition”), able to understand the arbitrary nature of words
– Have a rich sense of communication
– “Additional Antenna” – respond more sensitively to surroundings, pay more careful attention to conversations, and capture both verbal and non-verbal queues more delicately


What can be called bilingual does not depend on whether you can speak both languages perfectly, but on whether you can communicate with others in both languages in daily life. Thus, it is natural that bilingual abilities develop disproportionately according to the individual’s environment. A bilingual child can become either “Bilingual Additif” (when the child develops two languages equally and this experience of language development helps with subsequent cognitive development) or “Bilingual Sustractif” (when the child develops a second language at the expense of his or her native language).


It is often assumed that bilingual children are at a disadvantage, experiencing mental confusion when two languages are mixed up in their minds. However, according to academic research on brain observation, young children have overlapping regions of the brain that govern both languages, treating them as if they are a single language. All of our “Active Learning Center” clinicians use this academic and empirical knowledge to provide professional service to all of our children.

Working Memory Training Case Study

"We would like to introduce a successful case of a child who has been a long-term participant of the "Working Memory Training, WMT" program offered at the Tree Group's Active Learning Center."
By 전승혜 Seonghae Jeon, M.P.A.

We would like to introduce a successful case of a child who has been a long-term participant of the “Working Memory Training, WMT” program offered at the Tree Group’s Active Learning Center.

Based on the child’s Comprehensive Psychological-Educational Evaluation, showing that her linguistic and working memory scales were low, we proceeded with our WMT program once a week.

The strategies that we use with our WMT program are not focused on merely improving a child’s working memory, but on providing individualized training tailored to the child’s needs. The program helps the child to internalize the strategies to memorize the given vocabulary and correctly use the vocabulary context-wise.

Having partaken in our WMT program for the past several years and until now, this child is currently attending an international junior high school in a region in Asia, growing into a bilingual, “active learner.”