Tailored language learning

I have to take issue with any ‘ one-size-fits-all’ approach to learning a second (or subsequent) language. There’s clearly an important place for class-based teaching and learning, especially when it offers any form of peer support, but this is not the only way if you prefer to take a different route. There are three main views on language learning, namely structural, functional and interactional perspectives, just as we all have different learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Simply put, we learn to different extents by observing, listening and doing.In language learning terms we might lean more towards learning the structures and rules of languages, as might a mathematician or scientist. Alternatively we might learn better when we have a specific purpose or function in mind… working in a hotel in Paris or a sports stadium in Madrid for example. Finally we might be more focused on getting to know people, their lives and their culture through interaction – maybe you have an Italian boyfriend or business partner? Any or all of these perspectives might come into play at any given time when the opportunity arises to learn a new language. It’s up to you. With a little reflection and self awareness you can work out what your goals might be and how you learn best. One you’ve worked this out you can choose whatever language learning approaches, techniques abs tools to use, tailored to what should work best for you. Each one is a big step in the right direction!

Published by John Humphreys

Education and leisure industry professional with over 30 years' experience and a focus on delivering international experiences and employability development.

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