You’ve got to use it!Posted: March 7, 2015
All too often the success of additional language learning is viewed as a subject area where the end product is the successful completion of a test. The reality is, that traditional academic study can not truly prepare you for the challenges of actually having to use the language, or as educators would say, “learning through the language”.
As I recently carried out a professional appraisal of one of our French teachers, I started to realize the importance of applying the French vocabulary the students had learnt. The scenario involved the students designing their own house. The had memorised the vocabulary associated with their house design (ie: fenêtres, portes , balcon for windows, doors and balcony) and then were requested to draw a plan of their house, all the while engaging with the teacher in conversation about the house; how many rooms the house needed, whether the rooftop would be flat etc., and all in French. For the students, the challenge lay not in creating the house (their designs were amazing!), but in how they engaged with the teacher in French about the design of ma maison.
The lesson for me as a language learner is no different than for our students. How often do I actually apply the German that I am learning in my everyday life here in Switzerland? If the example I observed here at school is anything to go by, the course I am doing will mean nothing unless I actually get to use my German.
Don’t forget, this coming week is Francophone week across the globe!