What is your language training strategy for 2018?
by Claire Jaynes
At the beginning of a new year, our thoughts inevitably look to the future and what we want to achieve. At Trebinshun House, we always want to focus on our solid traditions and values and at the same time, keep up-to-date with changes in the field of learning. This should make your – or your company’s – language training strategy more efficient and make sure that you are learning in a supportive and inspiring atmosphere. Let’s look at some language learning trends which we’ll be using in the classroom and which you can follow through after your course.
1. Mobile learning
The smartphone has helped to revolutionise learning both in and out of the classroom, from using it as a simple translation device to apps which help you remember vocabulary (the British Council’s My Word Book, for example). In particular, podcasts can be great to develop listening skills in an area that is of interest to you (making it more motivating). Teachers can help to select an appropriate podcast and there is often a supporting website to go deeper into the subject area. The advantage of podcasts is that they are frequently updated (and therefore relevant) and have rather short episodes (around 15 minutes) which means you can commit to building up your listening skills on a regular basis. Plus, you can slow the speed at the beginning or to listen in more detail. The Economist has a great podcast or for something lighter, how about listening to Countryfile magazine’s short guides to Wales ( http://www.countryfile.com/podcast )!
2. Personalised learning
At Trebinshun, we always tailor our courses to suit our students. Tailored (or curated) content is something that we provide during your course by way of tailormade worksheets and content selection of materials. We can also assist with this once you have left. Have you ever thought about creating a Pinterest board for English, for example? You can browse the content of other learners (perhaps ones you have met on your course) and share short cuts to interesting TED talks or infographics. You could share content with your teachers and follow their boards to see their posts (Google + does the same job).
3. Online and on demand learning.
Arguably, face-to-face immersion courses have always had distinct advantages: more focus in the classroom due to fewer distractions; progress is fast-tracked as a result of this single focus – being surrounded by English speakers helps you to switch more easily into English. However, technology today can handle video and audio connection with more ease and so distance lessons can be much smoother than they were in the past. Such lessons can be a useful bridge between periods of intensive learning, ensuring that you maintain your level and continue to develop in your area of expertise. In addition, they can be fitted in during your lunch hour. We often organise 30-minute slots which work well for quick help on a specific problem.
There are of course other trends such as building social networks online and the development of learning tools like DuoLingo which incorporate a strong element of gamification. However, I have selected just three and invite you to consider your strategy for 2018. What would you like to experiment with in your learning and how can we help you to achieve this?
Wishing you a successful and productive 2018!