Members of The Church of Latter-day Saints have found a way to share the gospel by teaching a skill they use every day. The Daily Dose English Program is used by Church members to teach refugees and immigrants how to navigate in a world dominated by a language foreign to their own.
Daily Dose Learning Systems is a company committed to helping people learn a language in four 12-week sessions in about 10 minutes a day.
“We love working with missionary-minded people who enjoy serving others,” Daily Dose said on its website.
“Daily Dose is a warm and sensitive way of helping people feel comfortable learning English,” the website reads. “It is based on love, personal attention and human interaction. Unlike traditional programs, Daily Dose has no grammar books, homework assignments or boring lectures. Participants learn in small interactive groups called huddles where they receive a healthy dose of love, support and encouragement.”
BYU communications Professor Ed Carter, who serves as president of the Provo Central Stake, where the Daily Dose program has been implemented, said participants learn how to handle real-life situations like introducing themselves, shopping, using public transportation, or opening a checking account.
“They’re not necessarily teaching gospel principles or doctrine or even gospel terms,” he said. “It’s just sort of how do you communicate in a community or professional setting, grammar and sentence construction, or asking for directions. So just sort of basic communication skills.”
Carter said although they are not taught church lessons, participants are still exposed to the goodness of the gospel.
“Obviously a plus or a purpose of the program is that they get to know the church and church members just by virtue of being in the building,” he said. “It’s not direct proselyting, but we’ve had some folks who’ve been involved in the classes independently decide to meet with the missionaries and have the discussions and even a couple of them have been baptized. It’s been a good thing to get people introduced to the church.”
Carter said Daily Dose not only benefits its students, but church members as well.
“I think we’ve really been able to help ourselves understand what it would be like if we were in a foreign place where the culture and language were different,” he said. “It’s provided opportunities for empathy and service and it’s been a good thing in terms of just helping us to recognize there are people living next door to us who can fly under the radar if we don’t pay attention.”
Sasha Pachev, former Daily Dose coordinator for the Provo Central Stake, said the program is a good idea; the tricky part is getting people to show up.
“I’d knock doors in the neighborhood of people who didn’t speak English to try and recruit them,” he said. “But it’s difficult to find people who will come. You’d announce you have free English classes and you’d see maybe one or two people at the class.”
Pachev said part of the reason for low attendance is the inconvenience of coming to the classes.
“We have a challenge,” he said. “The people that need it the most work all day long, they come home and going to class is not something they want to do.”
Pachev said one solution to this problem is utilizing missionaries.
“One thing that the Church is doing with the Daily Dose now is missionaries are called to teach in homes,” he said. “They go door to door and invite prospective students to be taught at home. That seems to be more successful.”
Despite the challenge of regular attendance, Pachev said those who do come, benefit from the lessons.
“Their English has improved and they were able to communicate better,” he said.