For high school students studying a foreign language, the highlight of the year is often the study abroad trip to a country where that language is spoken. It's very unfortunate that nearly all these trips were cancelled because of coronavirus, and will certainly not resume until 2021.
So what can replace these study abroad trips?
The odds are stacked against the teacher. The kids enter the classroom speaking all day in their native language and, no matter how hard the teacher tries, it's impossible to switch that off. Students also don't understand why they need to learn something they are never planning to use in their daily life. On top of it, English is much easier to learn compared to other languages that have conjugations. So, by the time an average US student wraps his mind around what conjugations really are, they are edging towards the tail end of the second year. In the end the one-to-many #classroom setting is not an effective way to learn a #foreign_language.
We've talked here about what is missing in foreign language classes and we demonstrated that the one-to-many classroom setting is not ideal for the students to develop their speaking skills in a foreign language...and even less so in a virtual classroom. Now with a vast number of schools across the U.S. going online until September 1st 2020, foreign language teachers are increasingly incorporating EdTech in their teaching.
When a foreign language teacher tries to stay in the target language 90% of the class time, students become immersed in the target language. Although this is difficult to achieve, and although the native language will be required in certain cases, this immersion is a necessary part of teaching a foreign language, as confirmed by this TELC article. The real problem arises when the students are not exposed to the target language 90% of the time - the learning gains then become minimal. Moreover, students can simply tune out the teacher or their fellow students when they are not actively engaged.
In 2019, the OCTB corporate language training program took on a new direction: that of bringing student language exchanges to #foreign_language classes in K12 and K16. We envisioned high school and college students across the world teaching each other their native language, at the price of an app.
This vision is becoming a reality (click here to find out more), even more so now with the ongoing trend of virtual classrooms and E-Learning in K16 education.
As we described in one of our previous posts, teachers are fighting an uphill battle in the classroom because of the one-to-many ratio of students to teachers is not conducive to learning a foreign language. Comprehensible input is a technique often applied to foreign language teaching. Although this technique has many benefits, it has one major flaw: the lack of personalized content when applied to a the classroom setting. Before we denounce it, let's look at what "comprehensible input" really means!