Better academic English for mathematics, economics, and science students

09.20.2010

in Spotlight, TOEFL

If you’re a mathematics, economics, or science student and want to improve your academic English, the Kahn Academy can help you.

Improving your academic English

It’s still true:

  • The best way to improve your English is to read and listen to as much English as possible at your present level of understanding, or just a little higher.
  • The best way to improve your academic English is to read and listen to as much academic English as possible at your present level of level of understanding, or just a little higher.

And it’s also true that one of the best ways to make academic English more understandable – and increase your ability to acquire, or pick up, more – is to read or listen to subject matter that you studied in your own language. Your knowledge of the subject matter will help you understand the English and, as a result, acquire new academic English.

What is the Khan Academy?

The Khan Academy is a collection of more than 1800 online videos produced by Sal Kahn. The videos cover a broad range of subjects, including algebra, basic arithmetic, banking and money, biology, calculus, geometry, chemistry, financial credit, economics, differential equations, finance, linear algebra, organic chemistry, physics, probability, statistics, and trigonometry.

CNN describes Kahn’s videos as “low-tech, conversational tutorials — Khan’s face never appears, and viewers see only his unadorned (simple) step-by-step doodles and diagrams on an electronic blackboard….” Each simple, hand-illustrated video covers a single idea or mathematical operation.

Kahn got the idea for creating the videos after a cousin living in New Orleans asked him to help her with some math problems. Other relatives asked for help, and Kahn soon decided that YouTube videos would be the best way to help more people. The videos became popular with many people – more than 70,000 people watch them every day – and Khan now spends most of his time preparing new videos.

Khan is the son of immigrants from India and Bangladesh. He earned a BS degree in mathematics and a BS and MA degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. He also earned an MBA from Harvard University.

The Kahn Academy videos

Here are two places you can find the Khan Academy videos:

Warren Ediger

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