Self Learning VS. Group Learning for Languages

 

fachy-marin-764197-unsplash

 

Which method of  second language acquisition is the best for you? People will answer this question based on their own experience. I want to go in-depth on this matter because of the MANY websites, apps and schools that offer language learning services .

Self Learning Is More Popular

Nowadays, you can teach yourself anything you want using our beloved internet network. So, there are language teachers out there who have created different methods for individual language learning. The self learning method is either free or often times cheaper than group learning. I feel that the number one perk of learning a new language on your own is moving at your own pace (just like anything else you are trying to learn). Its a long (and constant) learning journey and one shouldn’t feel the pressure of falling behind the group of language learners. But the willingness and consistency of learning has to be very strong when one is learning on their own.

Group learning can create a great community

Trying to learn a language with a group of people whether its in a classroom or online can have benefits. The number one benefit of group learning is having individuals where you can practice conversations in the target language which is a  crucial point for language acquisition. Being part of a language learning community allows an individual to stay motivated and continue on with the journey. It can get costly to take courses in schools or universities; so, try to look for deals that language schools offer or look at the classes that are offered at your community college.

Final thoughts

Both learning methods have their benefits that suit different people. With today’s technology, we are able to try both methods by doing a simple google search. If someone asks for advice as to which method to choose from, I would say to try both individual and group language learning. I believe thats the best way to maximize the learning experience.

Advertisements

The Impact Technology had on Language Learning

david-svihovec-699898-unsplash

Thanks to our very beloved personal computers and smartphones, language learning/teaching has evolved into a huge community and its extremely fascinating, at least for me it is.

The evolvement of language learning

In the past, people would learn a language for jobs/school, and they would have to sign up for an expensive course or learn from books (both of these options still exist today, and they are a perfect way to learn). Today, we are provided with websites, apps and offline learning schools, which advertise why anyone should learn a language (using their platform). The creation of these platform is comparable to how the personal computer or a cellphone got created. Before these tools, people would ask themselves, “why do I need a computer?”. Now that the average person can have a personal computer, why not personalize other concepts that people can make use out of.

Classroom learning VS. Independent learning

When it comes to language learning, I think the major difference that we see today, is the ease of learning it independently. A person can become fluent in any language from any place on the planet, without attending a single class or taking exams. This helps people gain a skill without worrying about cost or time management, although one is supposed to put effort in the learning process in order for it be effective.

Cost

Since there are tons of websites and apps that offer this particular service, competition is high. And this is a good thing (for language learners, not the companies). There are apps that are advertised as free, but as you make progress, they might charge you for an extra cost to move forward. Some websites are completely free (I am not going to mention any names, just google them and you will find out which ones they are).

Different teaching methods

Companies are always looking for ways to make the language learning experience more effective by coming up with ideas that can grab different audiences. There is a company that designed its platform as a video game, which is pretty cool. Another company is focusing on travelers, so its platform is filled with traveling ideas and words that travelers can use.  Many apps and websites offer the most sought out languages like Spanish, French, English and Chinese. It’s extraordinary turning a simple learning concept into a huge company; therefore, I commend all those language experts, web designers and people behind the idea, in creating a different experience for those who want to learn a new language.

Social media learning

I saved the best for last. People who are native in any language, can create a YouTube channel, Instagram, or twitter account in which they can teach other people FOR FREE. I want to thank those people, because they are using their imagination, creating content and working very hard ,in order to use social media as a learning platform for languages.

Working Abroad? Taking Your Family With You? Make the Best of Your Trip By Learning The Language There.

element5-digital-352043-unsplash

The title says it all, right? It makes so much sense to learn a language while one is working in a different country.  The other day, I stumbled across a video called “Meet John & Mach: The Most Famous American Kids In Korea” on the YouTube called Asian Boss (you can view the whole video by clicking here). It tells the story of an American family that moved to South Korea. One of the major points in the video is to showcase the kids of this family who adapted the whole culture of South Korea including the language within a short period of time. The two boys were fluent in Korean and had no trouble code switching between English and Korean. The interviewer asked the mother as to how her kids were able to speak fluently in Korean and she indicated that she placed her kids in public schools where the main language is obviously Korean.

Did the family make the right decision?

In my opinion, they made an excellent decision by placing them in an environment where they are surrounded by the Korean language. They could have sent their kids to an international school, where the main language is usually English and by doing so, the kids would have stayed in their comfort zone and most likely would not have advanced as much in Korean as they are now.

Is this experience for everyone?

I would have to say it depends on where the family is planning on moving to. So parents, make sure you do your research on the education and school environment before making any decision as to where you’re going to send your kids. In other words, it might not apply everywhere.

Overall Lesson:

When a whole family is abroad, parents should actually try sending their kids to a national or a public school where the main language is different from their own. This idea might not be suitable for everyone, but if it is suitable, parents should try it. It’s NOT going to be easy but nothing is at first. This way, when children do return to their own country, they will be fluent in two or more languages. Cool, right?

Click here to view entire video. 

Language Barriers: Why it’s a beautiful thing

IMG_5011

 

I Know what you’re thinking. How could someone who has a blog about learning languages talk about language barriers? I do sound like a hypocrite, don’t I? Well, I’m all about learning new languages and applying them in the real world. It’s actually my dream to travel to as many countries as possible and have the ability to communicate in theirs official language. But there is something beautiful about two people who are unable to understand each other’s mother language. Let me tell you about my experience with language barrier and how it brings out the best in people. While traveling abroad, my husband and I were exploring Istanbul, one of the most enchanting cities on the planet.And no, I’m not exaggerating here. We wanted to visit this park that’s on top of the mountain (the image that you see above). so, we embarked upon our journey by riding the ferry. But then where do we go from here? We walked to the nearest bus station and started to ask around. We asked in Arabic and English and people did not understand what we were saying. We started to show the name of the park on our phones and we received multiple responses, expect we didn’t understand anything. An old man carrying groceries came up to the group of people that surrounded us and he started to instruct us to follow him. And we did. He started to ask every bus driver that was there until he found the one that was going to take us there. He also found a group of teenagers that were trying to go to the same park and instructed them to help us find the park. The moral of the story, without the old man or my husband, understanding a single word that each of us said, we were able to find the park. The whole lost in translation moment made this specific journey extra special for me. Plus it was all worth it because of the beautiful view that we got to see.

 It can also bring out the ugly side in people

Although the title refers to a beautiful story. At least, I think it’s a beautiful story. I have seen people insult others for not responding what they are trying to say.  As I was traveling a few years ago, I went into a a store, when I heard a man, asking in English, about an item and the worker did not seem to speak or understand the man . The man speaking English, decided to yell at the top of his lungs “ARE YOU IN LA LA LAND”? Unfortunately, the worker had this horrified look on his face while the man goes on to yell in his ear “I THINK YOU ARE IN LA LA LAND”. I have never witnessed something so horrible in my life. How dare this person think that he has the right to insult the worker for his inability to understand English. Dear man, who speaks English, please understand that not everyone speaks your language. It is NOT your right to insult or embarrass someone who does not understand English. Dear worker, I’m sorry because you had to be put in that situation. It actually happens more often than you can imagine.

In the end, lots of lessons can be learned from these experiences

It’s ok if two people are unable to communicate in one language. Just know that there are universal sign languages that a lot of people can understand, which can make your experience extra special, fun and beautiful. And please, never feel superior to anyone for speaking a prominent language.

 

4 Tips to Learning a New Language

Picture1

 

Today’s post was inspired by the Friends episode “The One Where Joey Speaks French”. I do recommend everyone watching this specific episode and see how Joey makes the “effort” to speak French. The most difficult part about learning a new language is knowing where to begin the learning process. So here are a few of my tips to learn any language that you want.

  1. Commitment/ Consistency

Just like any task you decide to take part in, the language learning process takes time and effort. You need to be %100 committed to the task. You also need to be consistent, which means that you have to practice daily. Once you see how far you have come in understanding and speaking the language, your commitment to learning the language will become second nature to you.

  1. Use the internet wisely

Anything can be found on the internet, but don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged. Also, be realistic and don’t fall for clickbait websites that say, “become fluent in Spanish in 5 days” because that’s not really possible.

  1. Find the right way that works best for YOU

There are many ways to learn a language, you can sign up for a class either online or in person. You can use an app (there are tons and I will review my favorites soon). You can ask a friend to teach you (like Joey asked Phoebe and she almost lost her mind). Since everyone learning abilities are different, the important thing is to find what works best for you. If you cannot seem to be making progress with the method, you can find another, it’s that simple.

  1. Have fun!!!!!!

Learning a language is super fun. Try to speak the language to your friends that you’re  learning and shock them with how good you are (just like Phoebe shocked everyone with her French speaking skills).

Dear Teachers, Please RESPECT your students learning mistakes

  • The fact that I have to write about this issue is extremely sad, but I want to address it in the most informative way possible.
  • Not all teacher disrespect students mistakes. There are teacher who should go around the world, and give lectures on how to handle students mistakes in schools. 
  • A few words of encouragement will have a positive impact on students who do make learning mistakes in the classroom.

Everyone makes mistakes, Right? Whether you’re  a student, baker, or a business owner , you’re bound to make a mistake once in a while. THAT IS OKAY. Students are learners and part of their learning experience is hitting a road block. When it comes to students, some teachers have different ways of handling their learning mistakes, and let me tell you, it does get pretty ugly. While I was a student,  I questioned the final answer of a math problem by saying “I don’t think that’s right” and my college professor replied by saying “No, YOU don’t think right”. I do laugh at it now, but when it happened, I was extremely embarrassed and I stopped participating for the rest of the semester (even though I love to participate in class). I have other stories from grade school about how some teacher disrespected me, embarrassed me, or called me out in front of the whole class because of the mistakes I made. For the longest time, I asked why do some teachers do this? Teachers spend 6 months to a year getting their teaching credential for grade school where they practice putting together lesson plans and handling the classroom, but what about how to handle students learning mistakes? isn’t that part of the teaching credential program? Maybe some teachers decided to skip that day. It is extremely important to note that students have emotions and making fun of them because they did a certain piece of information, is NOT OKAY. Additionally, a teacher is a mentor who should have a positive outlook when they are inside and outside of the classroom. Nevertheless, I had amazing teachers, and they impacted my life in a great way because they walked me through my learning curves and encouraged me to do better. A few words of encouragement rather than sarcasm or disrespect can help your students feel accomplished.

Parents:

  • Please encourage your kids before and after school. It will allow them to perform better.
  • Please inform your kids that it is not okay for a teacher to joke about a learning mistake they made in school.

Teachers:

  • Walk students through their learning curves.
  • Offer extra office hours for students to come in if they need help ( office hours always make a huge difference for students everywhere).
  • Please do not make a joke about a students learning mistake. This will impact their performance and discourage them to retry.

Students:

  • Like I said before, its okay to make mistakes because it is part of the learning process.
  • Always have a positive attitude towards everything that you are learning.

A Language is not a Subject

Schools across the U.S and around the world have made it a requirement to learn a new language. In American schools, the languages that are usually offered are Spanish, French, or Chinese. And in other countries, it’s usually the English language that is part of the curriculum. Indeed, it is great to have students learn a new language as part of their educational curriculum; however, what is the point of the learning the language if it is treated as another subject at school? Many students feel as if it is their own fault for not being able to learn the language that is mandatory. Furthermore, many teachers believe that grammar is the most important part of learning a language; therefore, student windup memorizing different grammar rules without really learning the language. Before teaching or learning a new language, it is important for teachers to note that a language is NOT a subject, but a communication tool used to express ideas. Unlike many subjects at school, teachers should help the student understand that a language can be used anywhere and it can help him/her in building their careers from a young age. Finally, teachers should make the language learning process fun and exciting because in the end, it is the teacher who will encourage the student to move forward in the learning process of anything.

Here are ideas for Language teachers to help elevate the learning process:

-Play famous games derived from where the language is being spoken

-Perform plays

-Allow the students to have a free day (but the trick is that they are only allowed to speak in whatever language they are learning)

– Host a cooking class (and cook famous meals from different countries)