Foreign Language Learning — Reinvented

Library Resources | April 19, 2018

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Shelly Killam, a Sales Support Representative for Cricket Media and a former foreign language teacher, discusses how the digital age is impacting the “foreign language classroom” and how resources such as digital magazines are supporting successful learning at all ages.

Always wanted to learn to speak another language? Bonjour! Hola! Guten Tag! It has never been more accessible to learn a foreign language than in the current digital era.

I’m sure many may recall being in a foreign language class with constant drills and memorization. The traditional textbook and grammatical methods of “present, practice, produce” (PPP) are problematic in foreign language learning. Using this paradigm solely offers some unique challenges. Often, after a few lessons, students will either not be able to produce the language correctly or not at all. Students may overuse the target structure, sounding completely unnatural. Or, students may not be able to produce language in the “practice stage” as they may not be able to use the existing items or resources to complete the given task.

The digital age has certainly impacted the “foreign language classroom” in a large and positive way by increasing and enhancing how students can learn, acquire and practice. The use of technology has provided easy and authentic resources from around the world available for second language learners. Now more than ever, it is easy for students to study outside the classroom, be it on a home computer, laptop or tablet. Learning a foreign language can be engaging and interactive with online opportunities available for students to reinforce the target language. Online resources are equally appealing for teachers, as they enhance tracking and assessment of students’ progress through online submissions of completed work.

The digital age has certainly impacted the “foreign language classroom” in a large and positive way by increasing and enhancing how students can learn, acquire and practice.  

Easy accessibility also allows for individualized and self-paced learning, instant feedback, online assessments, interactive apps and programs that foster sharing ideas, writing blogs, remote interaction and a “greener” option requiring less paper.

There are many great resources that support audio-visual and kinesthetic learning for all ages through fun games and programs such as Rosetta Stone, Kahoot and LyricsTraining. There are also many ways to increase collaboration using programs & sites such as Google Drive. Many schools offer one-to-one learning with Google Chromebooks for students.

Digital magazines also are a great way to support successful learning at any age. Cricket Media’s publications such as Ladybug and Spider for elementary levels, and Cricket and Faces for middle and high schools, offer particular emphasis on people, places and cultures — a great supplemental piece for foreign language learning.

Learn more about how resources such as Cricket Media magazines and lesson plans are changing the way students learn in the classroom.

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