If you’re an avid language learner (or you’re looking inspire the next generation thereof), you’re always looking for new ways to learn a new language outside the classroom. Well, look no further! Successfully learning a language doesn’t always have to be in a classroom setting. There are many ways to learn on the go, such as during your lunch break, coffee run, or while walking the dog. Whether you’re a high school student taking a language class or an adult who just wants to improve their proficiency, these are some fun learning methods you can take outside the classroom!
This is a language learning website and app that lets you practice your target language anytime, anywhere! As of November 2016, the language learning website and app offers 68 different language courses across 23 languages, with 22 additional courses in development. Duolingo creates an account for you so your progress will always be saved, and you can practice on the go as little or as much as you want! You can even give yourself a target practice time and the app will send you occasional reminders throughout the day to ensure that you meet your minimum practice time. Never miss a practice session again!
This is another website that makes practicing on the go in your target language convenient and fun. FluentU takes real world, authentic videos in your target language (such as music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks) and turns them into language learning lessons. Hearing and watching authentic videos will not only improve your proficiency, but it will also help you to adjust to accents and speed in your target language. Who knew entertainment could be so educational?
Listen to Audio
Ditch the tunes and try listening to audio lessons or a podcast while you do other activities throughout your day. This could include walking your dog, jogging, driving, shopping, cooking, or doing household chores. Running errands that require little focus is the perfect excuse to multitask. Listening to your target language makes whatever you’re doing much more entertaining—you might even start to look forward to them! If you’re going to be spending that time alone anyway, you might as well make it productive and throw in a learning lesson!
Practice with a Friend
This one may be a given, but it’s a good reminder that practicing with a fellow language learner—or even better, someone fluent in your target language—will help you rapidly speed up your language skill and comprehension. Depending on how much time you spend with the person, ask that you dedicate a certain amount of time together to speaking only in your target language. This will be helpful because you will be able to correct your errors and learn new vocabulary in a more memorable and realistic way than simply practicing with a textbook.
Read a newspaper or magazine
Reading news in another language can be a fun way to help you improve your reading comprehension. This is especially true if you can find a translation of the content in your native language (such as the Miami Herald/Nuevo Herald and Vogue/Vogue Spain for Spanish practice). The key is to pick a topic that interests you. Do not despair if there are no local magazines or newspapers in your target language—behold the magic of the internet! There are countless online resources to newspapers and magazines across the globe.
Yes, you read that right. If you are like millions of other people in the world, you have a Facebook account. Simply switching your interface language to your target language will help you subconsciously learn it as you navigate through your already familiar newsfeed. Before you switch the language, it would be helpful to know the translation of certain words in advance to ensure you don’t get lost. For example, here are some key words to know and their translations in Spanish:
Inicio = Home
Comentar = To comment
Compartir = To share
Etiquetar foto = To tag a photo
Me gusta = I like
¿Qué estás pensando? = What’s on your mind?
Don’t despair if you are not familiar enough with Facebook, this method can also be applied to any other social media website with which you are most comfortable!
These are just a handful of ways to practice and grow your language skills you can do from just about anywhere, but this is by no means an exhaustive list! What are your favorite ways to practice your language skills? Let us know in the comments section below!
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