The methods that are used to facilitate student learning of a new language are one of the most important factors contributing to student mastery of the second language. These methods will often be called “trends” or, more specifically, “language learning trends.” Some people will also use the term “approach” to describe these methods. These terms refer to how an instructor teaches their students a new language. Some trends have proven to be quite effective. In this post, we will look at three common trends that have all proven to be effective in different ways. We will also look at how Babbel can help facilitate these trends.
Language immersion is an approach that heavily emphasizes the idea that the best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it. In this approach, a student will often be required to utilize their L2 (secondary language that they are trying to learn) to communicate with their instructor and peers. The instructor will typically deliver the course content in the L2 language. However, the L1 language may still be used to help clear up misunderstandings or conceptual issues a student may be having. By being surrounded by the L2 language and having casual conversations with it, the hope is that students will develop proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking.
A big focus of language immersion around the world is biculturalism. By immersing students in their L2 language and exposing them to film, music, and literature that originates from the L2 language’s country, then the students will hopefully gain a deeper appreciation of the culture that the L2 originates from. However, there are many ways that language immersion is implemented around the world and it’s important to emphasize that there is no single way that is correct. Many instructors may not focus as heavily on biculturalism, for instance. Other instructors may not use the L2 in the classroom as much as another instructor. The implementation largely depends on the needs of your classroom.
Source: Center for Applied Linguistics. http://webapp.cal.org/Immersion/
Language immersion is increasingly being used around the world. In the United States, specifically, the number of immersion programs has steadily increased and have become increasingly popular. As with anything, however, there are both pros and cons to the approach. I would recommend reading Tara Fortune’s well-sourced research about the pros and cons of the approach.
How does Babbel Facilitate Language Immersion?
A classroom that uses language immersion may not seem like a place where language software is necessary. However, we must consider how to keep the students engaged in their L2 outside the classroom, when they see their, assumingly, L1 speaking families and friends. It can be difficult to assign homework and be sure that the student is using their L2 language to finish it. Language software can help fill this gap in language immersion programs.
With Babbel, the student can go home and complete several sessions to help develop and reinforce their reading, writing, and speaking skills in their L2. The instructor can be confident that the student is learning relevant material that has been curated by professionals. Babbel is a great tool for allowing the student’s L2 learning to continue at home in a meaningful way.
The blended learning approach emphasizes having face-to-face class time mixed with online instruction. The idea is that a student might go to a classroom 3 days a week and the remaining 2 days of instruction are delivered online. What goes on during class time and during online instruction is up to the instructor and may vary widely around the world. This means that an instructor may opt to use a language immersion approach in the classroom, for instance, and then assign discussion board posts where the student must interact with other students through their e-learning site in their L2. There are numerous ways language education could be implemented with a blended learning approach.
Source: ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology
Blended language learning is steadily increasing in popularity for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that students are increasingly demanding it. This is especially true in higher education, where students may have multiple commitments outside of school such as a family or a job. Being able to do some of your class online is helpful for people with busy schedules or long commutes. Beyond student demand, students often respond more positively to courses that have an online component. They often report that they retain more information, are less likely to miss or skip a lecture, and are more engaged with the material.
How Does Babbel Facilitate Blended Learning?
Babbel is a crucial tool for this kind of environment. Although lots of learning can be done during the classroom periods, one of the most effective ways to continue this education through online learning is by using software, such as Babbel. The software provides a way for students to stay engaged in their L2 and keep track of their progress even if they are not in the classroom. Additionally, since Babbel’s lessons tend to average around 15 minutes in length, it is not difficult for busy students to find the time to do their homework outside the classroom.
Online learning only differs from blended learning in that the course is taught entirely through the internet. Online learning is increasingly popular among both students and faculty due to the low cost of implementation. In higher education, rising tuition costs are a huge issue and many schools are trying to find ways to cut the cost of instruction. Online courses are a quick way to accomplish this goal. Additionally, online courses are highly flexible in their scheduling, which is a benefit for students with busy lives.
In the K-12 sector, online classes have had a slower adoption. This is likely due to rules and regulations at both the state and federal level that must be worked through before such programs can be implemented and meet the necessary standards. However, the number of K-12 schools offering online courses have been steadily increasing. This is especially true in private schools, where Chromebook programs, for instance, have become popular. Overall, the trend of online learning is expected to increase to help lower the cost of education and provide students with more flexibility in their learning.
How Does Babbel Facilitate Online Learning?
Language software is a critical component of online learning. Without the classroom environment, it can be difficult to ensure that your students are effectively learning their L2 language. By using Babbel, instructors can be sure their students are learning all the aspects of their L2 language. Students can keep track of their progress and work on their modules on their own time, providing enormous flexibility for the student. Combining Babbel with online lectures and instruction is a great way to set up an online language course.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of some of the more popular approaches to language learning in the modern educational environment. Additionally, I hope that you see the benefit of using Babbel to help facilitate these approaches to language education. Ultimately, how you teach your students is entirely up to you. Hopefully, this post has helped make you more aware of some of the tools that are at your disposal to help you in your teaching goals. If you would like to request a free education evaluation license (available only for educators in the USA and Canada), attend an upcoming webinar, or contact us for more information, please visit www.studica.com/babbel-for-education.
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