Anyone at any age can learn a foreign language. For children, learning a language different from their own is more natural because they rely on the deep motor area of their brain more than adults. This area of the brain makes learning a new language much easier for children because it absorbs information quickly and works in conjunction with the hippocampus to memorize information. By the time we reach adulthood, however, we process new languages in more actively conscious areas of the brain.
1. Educate Students about the Culture Associated with the Language
The best way to learn a different language is to actually live in the country where the language is spoken. When that isn't possible, bringing as much of the culture to the students will facilitate learning the language by associating words and phrases with cultural items such as food, clothing, religion, and familial terms.
2. Use Video, Radio, and Other Multimedia to Enhance Language Learning
Some students are visual learners, while others learn better just by hearing information. Providing a variety of multimedia outlets to teach a foreign language to students can help specific learners retain information while exposing them to other ways of learning.
3. Incorporate Conversational Lessons Related to a Student's Career Choice
For students who plan to teach, work, or live in another country, incorporate words and phrases that will be used frequently in their line of work. For example, an anthropologist who wants to study Madagascar’s culture should learn words relevant to the history and lifestyle of the people of Madagascar.
4. Everybody Makes Mistakes
Tell students it’s okay to make mistakes—that means they are learning. Mistakes are inevitable when learning how to speak and write a language correctly.
5. Give Quizzes Regularly to Ensure Students Aren't Falling Behind on Their Lessons
Short quizzes of less than 10 questions are a good way to gauge how well students are understanding and retaining information. Quizzes will also better prepare the students for the CTEL exam by refreshing their test taking skills.
6. After Introducing Several New Words, Have Students Use Them in Conversational Sentences
Students can take turns asking each other questions that require incorporation of new words in answers.
7. Obtain Newspapers in the Language you are Teaching and Have Students Interpret Them
If you do not have access to newspapers in the language you are learning, print out relevant pages of foreign language newspapers available on the Internet.
8. Suggest Students Find an Online Radio Station Broadcasting in the Language They are Learning
Have students focus on picking up words they do know while listening to a foreign language radio station. Ask them to write down the words and what they think they mean.
9. Use Flashcards
Flashcards with pictures help students memorize nouns and un-conjugated verbs.
10. Don't Introduce Too Many New Words at One Time
Overloading students brain’s with new words won't expedite learning a new language. Instead, make sure students have retained information using quizzes and classroom conversation before advancing to the next lesson.
Are you interested in learning how to teach a foreign language? The California School of Education at Alliant offers a CTEL/CLAD online certification. This program provides a hand to hold for those looking to take the CTEL exam. For more information contact an Alliant admissions counselor.