Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Be Your Language Learning Boss!

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The good old days

Once upon a time it was difficult to get language resources. We relied on language schools to get them and to show us how to learn. We used textbooks as an entrance to a new language. Reading and writing were important activities in learning a language.

You were a student. The teacher was your Boss. The teacher’s boss was the curriculum and the curriculum was usually decided by some nerd who liked to write textbooks.

Progress was measured by exams and the level of text book that you reached. It didn’t matter whether or not you could understand a native speaker of that language.

The much better new days

Language schools are still around and thriving. Some have moved away from textbooks and offer real choice for the students.

Whether or not you choose a language school, you have much more choice now than before to be the boss of your language learning.

What’s new!

The internet.

This has allowed several things to change with language learning.

• Learners can talk to each other.
• It’s much easier to get in contact with someone who speaks the language you’re learning.
• It’s much easier to get resources.
• Language learning communities have developed based on ‘sharing’.

Learners talk to each other

This is important. The old advice was work hard and get through the text book. This simply didn’t and doesn’t work for a lot of people.

The new advice from learners

• Listen more
• Get ‘real’ language materials. Youtube has tonnes of language material, though at the moment it’s a pain to find useful stuff.
• Focus on your language Environment.
• Get resources that you enjoy.
• Involve people
• Use space repetition to help remember
• Use Audio Books.
• You can find out which language schools have been recommended by other learners.

Get in contact

Facebook, Lingq, Skype, LiveMocha and Meetup are some of the ways you can use to meet native speakers.

New Resources


• Examples of using Youtube - English Dutch
Lingq (lots of free listening resources)
Dutch Resources

Paying Resources
• Yabla TV - Yabla English TV
• Podcasts - Germanpod101

Community learning

Lingq has lots of listening and reading material avai
lable for downloading. The community created the content. I find this approach very interesting and a forebearer of things to come in the language learning world.

Livemocha and Buusu are other language learning communities. Though I’m not sure what exactly they offer.

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