Tips to encourage language learning outside of the classroom

How do we encourage students to see the value in learning a language?

Language learning is often seen by students as just another school subject to study and not as an actual skill to acquire. So how do encourage the opposite? How do we encourage students to see the value in learning a language and what language learning methods are they more likely to do?

Here are some ways that we can encourage language learning outside of the classroom via technology:

Digital storytelling

With audio recordings available via technology, you can get creative and record yourself telling a story to practice your speaking skills. Afterwards, you can play it back, practice writing it out and even swap it with a friend or two. Swapping digital stories with other students encourages a collaborative learning environment and fuels creativity!

Apps

There are many language learning apps, such as Babbel for example, that you can use to follow tailored learning paths and do additional exercises. Many apps are ‘gamified’, which many people find makes them more inclined to use them. One of the main benefits of using these online apps is that many are available offline, as well. This way, students can do a quick five to 10 minute lesson while on the go, anywhere, anytime.

Music

Music is a wonderful way to boost comprehension skills and your vocabulary. As many students listen to music as an everyday activity, dedicating some music time to music in the language the student is learning is a fun and easy way to practice. It is also easy to have some background music on, and even without pure focus, students can become more accustom to hearing a language.

Videos or movies with subtitles

Watching videos or movies with subtitles in a topic of a student’s choosing is a sure way that the student will learn a language without feeling like they are actually studying. Say the student likes sports, comedy shows, travelling, fashion, etc. there’s surely a video or movie with subtitles for that!

There are other ways to encouraging language learning without technology:

Singing

Whether it is in the car with the windows rolled up or in a group setting, singing is a fun way to engage with a language. Plus, if you get a song stuck in your head, wouldn’t it be better if it were in the language you are trying to learn?

Playing games

With repetitive phrases and creating a fun ambiance, playing games is a wonderful way for students to have fun while they are learning a language. Students can select their favourite games and play in the language they are trying to learn. It can also be fun to learn games that are common to play in one of the countries of the secondary language. This way, if students have the opportunity to visit in the future, they will know a traditional game or two!

Role play

Role playing is a fun way for students to improve their conversational skills, and it can be done comfortably with a group of friends simply out and about. For beginners, for example, students can practice introducing themselves to one another, asking what names are, sharing how old they are, etc.

Speaking with a native speaker

Speaking with a native speaker encourages students to continue with their studies, and they will drastically improve their language skills. It is widely encouraged for students to ask questions about the language, culture, what it’s like in a country where the language is spoken, etc. so they get a true feeling of the extra beauty behind what speaking that particular language will mean.

Another great way to boost students’ enthusiasm about language learning is talking about travelling the world and the advantages that knowing the local language brings.