In the TEFL industry, people travel all over the world to aid others in learning English as a second language, but that doesn’t mean teachers can’t also be students and being the student it great! It helps to add a whole other dimension and perspective in being a teacher. It can really help to identity what your own students may be thinking, and ways they may even be struggling without saying. So, why not learn a new language during your time abroad?
Learning the local language can help your life immensely, even if it is just a few basic words and sentence structures. It can make everything from shopping, ordering food and making appointments stress-free and easy. These are things we take for granted in our home countries and in our native languages, but they can be an ordeal abroad without a bit of the language.
A great place to start your language learning adventure is with Duolingo, a free online tool for all your language learning needs. It’s also available as an APP for mobiles and tablets, for people on the go or travelling light.
Duolingo offers numerous languages and is designed in a way to make learning simple, convenient and fun. Some would even say its addictive in its teaching magic. Others say it can make a person fluent within three months. So how does it achieve these incredible claims? In a way, it sort of makes a game out of learning, and that’s a good thing if you ask me.
The user gathers XP (experience points), in a similar fashion to the role-playing video games my generation grew up with, which in turn help the user level up and progress. You can set a daily XP goal, a target for yourself, which can help keep your spirits high and motivation intact; something many courses are lacking. Once you begin, you create your own profile that is then used to record and track your progress.
The website has a great forum where you can get just about any and all things answered, as well as an Immersion section where you can basically read and translate real articles to your heart’s content in the language of your choice. It’s an amazing way to put what you’ve learned to use and help reinforce it. As well as the above mentioned, there is also an incredible support staff ready and waiting to help you with any issues you may come across, but don’t expect too many, Duolingo has created a quality program with no broken features.
All you need to do is set up an account and start learning, and on that note, it is time for me to go brush up on my French. Au revoir!