Are you searching for the best way to provide English instruction to employees? If so, then you’re probably considering two options: self-study online courses or teacher-led live classes. But did you consider a mixture of both?
Authentic content gives learners exposure to the kind of language that they ultimately want to understand and create for themselves. If you don’t use authentic content, and teach learners with scripted dialogs or simplified materials written by language teachers, you’re not giving them models for how to produce or understand the language they’ll encounter in the wild. Not only is this ineffective, it’s also inefficient.
In the U.S., we force students to sit through mind-numbing grammar lessons and stilted dialogues, leaving them unable to order coffee at a French bistro. But that doesn’t mean we should eliminate language instruction. It’s incredibly important for everyone to speak more than one language in today’s interconnected world.
While translation is a core element of language learning, translation is itself an art, not a means to an end. So where does translation fit into a language learning process which requires personalized, relevant, and meaningful instruction?
Workforce development is the ideal place to implement a task-based language training program as learners have clear, real-world goals and because language instruction can be incorporated into training for other skills. In this post, an in-depth webinar on developing a strategy, designing effective language instruction, and measuring learner and course outcomes.
Learning and development is only one of the many competing priorities that Human Resources (HR) managers face. Fortunately, though, there are some easy-to-follow guidelines that can help HR professionals assess the quality of their current English training programs and, if necessary, bring in more effective, efficient, and innovative tools to help their employees develop their language skills.
Usually, when I tell people that learning a language is learning a skill, like cooking or surfing, I get nods of understanding. That seems to make sense, intuitively. And then when I go on to say that, because those are skills, they require copious amounts of practice and individualized instruction, I still get nods, and people are receptive when I go on to paint an even clearer picture. Where this breaks down is when people try to actually apply this theory to setting up a language program. So what to do?
One question I often get asked by instructors setting up online language courses is how to structure peer-to-peer communication. They ask because thousands of empirical studies on distance learning have established that a feeling of community drives learner engagement and, therefore, outcomes, but the wrong approach can actually be damaging for language learners. So what is the solution?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and unfortunately for many non-native speakers, a foreign accent can sometimes get in the way. It’s one of the first things that people notice, and incomprehensible, heavily-accented English can be used to label and categorize, often wrongly. Language learners understandably want to minimize their accents, but they are rarely successful; let’s consider why.
By Dr. Katharine B. Nielson – Another question I get asked all the time is how long it takes to learn a language. And my answer–which no one likes–is “it depends.” But there are no easy answers to this question, because it really does depend on so many different things, from how much time you …