Depending on who you talk to, learning a new language is one of the hardest things to do.
But with today's apps and cheaper travel options than ever before, speaking a second language can be easier than your learners may think. Here are some cool things we've discovered in our attempt to learn a new language.
1. Download an app
In every one of your students' hands is a supercomputer: their mobile. While great for texting, Facebook and other things they probably shouldn't do in class, there are also a ton of free language learning apps available that'll definitely bolster their work in the classroom.
Busuu, FluentU and Duolingo are three great starting points for them, all with free learning guides that'll support grammar, spelling and punctuation, quizzes to test what they've learnt and community support from native speakers and academics when they don't understand why “J’aime la limonade bien,” should be “J’aime bien la limonade.”
2. Browse in another language
Ever changed your language settings and panicked? Don't! This is a really good way to get to grips with a language! Make it into a interactive classroom activity: students could change their default keyboard on their phone and send text messages to each other in another language, or ask them to search for something once their browser settings on their phone have changed.
This also means they'll receive your notifications in another language too, and come to associate certain sentences with information pertaining directly to you (i.e. @EuroStudyTours liked your Tweet). These phrases will repeatedly pop up on your screen, so you can’t avoid remembering them.
3. Using social
Speaking of Tweets, following natives on social media will help them pick up everyday language as experienced by internet users. Changing .com to .fr will open your students up to all the French versions of the sites they use on a daily basis. Once they've gotten comfortable navigating around various accounts in another language, they may be confident enough to track down some speakers and conversate with them (though you may want to think about some safeguarding measures).
Following, “liking” or just browsing the profiles of native-speaking celebrities is a good place to start. From there you can branch out to connecting with other fans. But if you don’t have anyone in mind, you can simply search for certain key words (i.e. Schauspielerin) to find people who might interest them.
4. Window shopping
We mentioned before about changing a websites URL from .com or .co.uk to .fr: why not try that on Amazon? They have a Currency Converter which lets you see exactly how much you’ll be paying before you purchase. All the European Amazon sites offer a “Help in English” page which can be found very easily. This page will walk you through all the steps of purchasing and explain what various buttons and options mean.
This might sound a little intimidating to a pupil, but getting comfortable with a language is about familiarity: the more they're around the language, the better they'll be with it. It may also be a more cost-effective way of getting French-language books and movies which can be priced significantly higher in English-speaking countries. Just watch out for extra postage costs.
Get a pair of headphones, pick a subject (history, music or pop culture) and listen for a while... expect do it in another language! Even just listening to a language will help form an understanding of pace, structure of sentences and tone, the more natural the conversation the better.
Of course they probably won't be able to understand every single word said, but it'll give them a base for them to imitate when it comes to the speaking and listening parts of their examinations.
6. A school trip!
Of course the best way to practice and improve your speaking and listening skills is to do it; and where better than in a country of native speakers! We can help you get them inspired with a range of cultural school trips to France, Spain, Germany, Italy, even to China and Japan!
Giving students the chance to experience different cultures and languages will inspire and educate them in ways that a classroom activity cannot compete with!
Thought of another handy tip for learning a new language? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Studying a different subject? See our full list of subject specific visits or call us now on 0844 5761 960 and let us help you plan your perfect trip!