Learning a new language can be loads of fun! Not to mention the range of proven benefits individuals can acquire in the process. This includes improved memory, increased attention span, better cognitive abilities and better decision-making skills just to name a few. Below is a guide of the most important steps students should follow when learning a new language.
- Setting Goals
When undertaking any new task, setting goals is a great way to start in order to provide direction and motivation to work hard, and this can definitely be applied to learning a new language. These goals should follow the SMART principle. Firstly, they should be specific, so that the individual is clear on exactly what they want to achieve. They should also be measurable, for example a student can aim to learn 20 new words a week, in order to help them see how well they are progressing. Next, goals should be achievable and realistic, as students shouldn’t set themselves up for failure, for example wanting to become fluent in a new language in one week! Finally, goals should be time specific, as setting certain time periods on short and long-term goals will enhance a student’s motivation to complete them.
- Language Learning Techniques
There is a vast range of study techniques that can be applied in the language learning process. Firstly, students should make it a point to learn the most important words first. Whilst the English language has over 1 million words, the top 100 make up 90% of English texts! So, don’t waste time and make sure you get those key words down packed.
Flash cards are a great tool for language learning as this can help with the visualization and memorization of key words. Flash cards are also great to get someone to quiz you with and put your language skills to the test.
There are a range of apps available to assist students learning a new language in a fun and interactive way. Some of these include Babbel, Duolingo and HelloTalk, which are all great for practicing your language skills through games, quizzes and tutorials.
Teaching is often described as one of the best strategies to accelerate learning, as explaining things out loud can help students consolidate their own understanding. That is why teaching friends and family about the language that you’ve learnt will assist with memorization and fluency.
Finally, when learning a new language, studying the culture is another great strategy to help with the learning process, as it is helpful to understand the history of the words being spoken. This is because knowing more about a country’s beliefs and customs can assist with gaining a better understanding as to why certain cultures say and do things in certain ways.
- Integrate the Language into Everyday Life
Once a student has reached a stage where they are more confident with their language skills, the best practice they can gain is through integrating the language into their every day activities. Examples of this can include watching foreign films, seeking out a friend who speaks the same language to converse with, or even joining a language club. These final steps in the language learning process will help students in refining their skills, helping with better pronunciation and fluency.
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