These days travel and teaching are the likeliest of pairings and for good reason – getting a job teaching your native language is a relatively easy gig to secure and it allows you to see a part of the world you otherwise may not have been able to afford. You can sign up for a year or more, teach young people or adults and make great friends all at the same time. As a personal learning experience, you can’t get much more paradigm shifting than teaching overseas.
The beauty of modern language learning is the sheer volume of technology open to teachers and students to make the process so much easier and engaging. Ask any teacher – the lesson planning is one of the most time consuming and parts of the job and if it’s not meeting the needs of the student, it can seem all for nothing. The same goes for students – if they don’t feel like they are progressing or being prepared in a multitude of ways, it can be a very frustrating experience. This is where technology comes in.
While there is no substitute for one-on-one interaction, there are a number of aides out there that can assist in the learning process both in the classroom and outside of it. Here are a few suggestions for those English language (or any language for that matter!) learners and instructors to help improve fluency and confidence for whatever your learning goals happen to be.
Listening to language audio books in the car while you’re driving to/from work each day is a great way to get that extra boost of immersion. There are varying skill levels and types that can help improve things like pronunciation, listening ability and vocabulary. Teachers may even play a segment in their lesson to introduce a concept and then practice it in real time and make it available for the student to study at home. Audio books are a great tool and best of all they’re easy to use.
Having that visual in front of you that can be manipulated and replayed is huge for learning a language. Instead of having a bunch of mediums to learn a language, ranging from flash cards, videos, games and worksheets, a tablet can combine all those in one easy to use place. Teachers can create their own lessons and give them to students to work off of in class and at home. You’ll be hard pressed to learn a language the old fashioned way every again.
Face-to-face interaction with another person over the internet is the next best thing to being there for real, as you get to pick up on facial cues, make eye contact and participate in real-world scenarios. If you have a decent internet connection, the process is as seamless as if you were right next to the person and best of all, if you can’t make it to a face-to-face lesson, you can carry on without missing a beat.