foreign language

5 Ways to Motivate Language Learning

“Teacher skills in motivating learners should be seen as central to teaching effectiveness.” – Zoltán Dörnyei

There’s no denying the positive impact language learning has on students. Research shows that learning a second language improves cognitive skills and enhances mental development, leading to overall improvement in school performance. Despite its benefits, however, students may not fully understand the value of language learning, which could lead to disengagement and low achievement.

5 ways to motivate language learning

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 Therefore, a more effective question is how educators can foster student engagement and help students achieve a high level of success when learning a second language. A recent article by the Guardian suggests, “the secret to [learning a second language] is rooted in the science of motivation,” and “most people who succeed at learning another language turn out to be strongly motivated.” And according to Zoltán Dörnyei, an expert on motivation in second-language learning, motivation is contagious, and a learner’s motivation depends largely on the level of interest and involvement of their fellow learners and instructors.

Simply stated, motivation is the key to language learning. The next step is deciding the best ways to foster it. The following tips can help educators increase student motivation and deepen language learning:

  • Display enthusiasm. Demonstrate a commitment to and interest in the language, which will impact students’ behavior and their enthusiasm to learn.
  • Establish a safe and supportive learning atmosphere. Learning environments should be organized, well managed and supportive in order to provide students with ample opportunities to learn. Language learning isn’t simple; therefore, students should feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes without ridicule from fellow learners.
  • Make the curriculum relevant to students. Discover their goals and the topics in which they are interested, and try to incorporate them into the language-learning activities.
  • Diversify instructional methods. Students learn in different ways, and educators can use multiple strategies to help students master a second language. A key factor is allowing students to discover the best methods and techniques for themselves.
  • Create meaningful learning experiences. Use tools, such as Skype in the Classroom, to connect with a group of students that speaks the language your students are learning. Building relationships with native speakers is a great way to increase students’ motivation to learn. Students can also role-play situations in which they would need to speak and understand the language, like shopping at the market or asking for directions.

In order for students to achieve language-learning success, educators must implement engaging, student-focused instructional strategies to foster motivation. To learn more, check out, “Wanting it enough: why motivation is the key to language learning.”

[Infographic] Technology Meets Language Learning

In prehistoric times, second languages were taught with worksheets, a tape recorder and headphones. Fast forward to the 21st century, and students are learning foreign languages with technology at their fingertips! Learning a foreign language offers an array of benefits, including improved academic performance, increased cognitive abilities and a larger selection of career choices. The integration of technology makes language learning more interactive and engaging for every student.

Language Learning Goes Digital

WeAreTeachers.com and Middlebury Interactive Languages recently released an infographic, “Language Learning Goes Digital” which focuses on how technology is used to improve second language instruction. The infographic reveals that more students are using laptops, tablets and other technological devices and software to learn a foreign language. The benefits include access to more resources and “authentic learning experiences,” the ability to be creative throughout the learning process and motivation to learn using the latest technology.

To learn more, view Language Learning Goes Digital.

Image Source//drkateroberts.com