Engaging language learning in the classroom

I came across this article that noted how the continued internationalization of the world economies is spurring the growth of language studies and translation services. While there are certainly economic advantages to knowing more than one language, I prefer to emphasize the personal satisfaction and enhanced cultural awareness that learning a language can have for students. I believe this can help bring the world a bit closer together.

It was with this in mind that I recommended all high school students in our school complete at least two years of world language study as part of their learning experience. The advantage of learning in a hybrid context is that we are able to offer a wide range of classes to a relatively small student population. Students can choose a language that truly interests them. Another advantage is that this offers a larger global classroom to my students who are learning their language alongside students from around the world.

This year I have students learning French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin. The courses are accredited and are taught by state-certified teachers who are based throughout the United States, or even globally. In fact, our French teacher is living abroad in Tunisia, Africa!

I have appreciated observing how the students are getting involved in their language studies. They are demonstrating a high degree of motivation and self-management as they work through their classes. They are actively recording their speaking using a service such as Vocaroo, and attempting to dialogue with other students worldwide through the class discussion boards. Overall, I am noting a high degree of student engagement in their learning, which is essential if the learning is to be vibrant.


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