5 Tips for Learning a Language Online
Learning a new language online might seem like an intimidating task, but what if we told you, it is as easy as watching your favorite show? Or listening to new music? Our World Language teachers know exactly what it’s like to learn a new language—and have advice to turn the challenge of learning a new language into a way of connecting with the world around you.
Check out their tips and tricks for learning a new language online:
1) Watch Netflix and Listen to Spotify.
Start with the content you already know and love.
According to Chinese Instructor, or lǎoshī 老师, Mrs. MeiEn Marler, “You can change your Netflix language settings to Chinese to find movies dubbed in Chinese. Or watch your favorite shows and movies with Chinese subtitles. YouTube also has many TV shows, songs, music videos, and audiobooks in Chinese. You can even find videos of Harry Potter being read in Chinese with English text on the screen.”
“I would recommend that students listen to music in that target language, watch shows in the target language with the subtitles on, or even download an app that can help you practice the language for a few minutes each day,” says International Club Sponsor and former Spanish Instructor, Mrs. Jessica Fresia, M.Ed.
Using what you already know is a perfect place to get started with a new language!
2) Make it a Friend and Family Affair.
Make learning a language social, and more fun, by practicing with friends and family.
“Students should do all the practices in the lessons, talk to their family and friends about what they have learned, and practice with them. They can also register for Hebrew groups, read Hebrew blogs, books, and news, and surround themselves with different aspects of Hebrew culture,” recommends Hebrew Instructor, or gveret מורָה, Mrs. Eti Amoyal Mor.
“It’s important to not be afraid of reaching out and looking around your community for anyone who speaks the language you are studying,” says Mrs. Fresia. “This is where the student clubs at FLVS can also be helpful as there are many opportunities for extracurricular exposure with our clubs that focus on language and world culture.”
Learning a new language is a great way to connect with new people and ideas—in more ways than one.
3) Don’t Be Afraid of Discussion Based Assessments (DBAs).
“One of our amazing Spanish 3 teachers always told students that DBAs stood for ‘Don’t Be Afraid,’” says Mrs. Fresia. “If you are following your academic integrity guidelines, remaining engaged in your course, and just keeping the communication open with your instructor about any potential anxiety around your DBAs, you are setting yourself up for success.”
Mme. Véronique Cheniaux, French Honor Society club sponsor and French Instructor, also recommends making the most of DBAs by embracing a different outlook.
“Don’t speak about the language but speak in the language. So right from the start, we try to infuse as much French as possible during our encounters on the phone or in Zoom.”
She also shared FLVS teachers have created new and engaging approaches to DBAs to help keep students comfortable and most importantly, learning. “Some teachers format their DBAs like games or escape rooms. After all, if a student is playing during that call, he/she is likely to be less intimidated. Speaking a foreign language can be fun…even during DBAs!”
Mrs. Amoyal Mor, also adds, “when preparing for DBAs, students should remember to just be themselves and try their best. They should set times to review lessons and material and try to connect what they have learned with their everyday life, that way they can better comprehend different concepts.”
4) Get to Know Your FLVS Language Teacher.
Your teachers are here to help you learn and truly care about your progress. Use them as resources to take your language skills to the next level.
“The best way to learn Chinese with FLVS is to keep a close relationship with teachers. With FLVS, your teacher is your one-on-one learning partner,” says lǎoshī 老师, Mrs. Jean Hung-Lopez.
And don’t forget help is always just a text or phone call away!
“Remember, we are teachers, facilitators, mentors, and we all want our students to be successful and empowered by their success,” says Mme. Cheniaux. “Many of our teachers have lived abroad or are even native speakers, so it is a tremendous opportunity for our students to be able to interact with such language experts, in fun and non-threatening ways.”
5) Have Fun!
Mrs. Fresia recommends students keep in mind that there’s more to learning a new language than just assignments.
“Learning another language not only helps you intellectually, but it also opens your heart as well. Remember that learning a language online allows you to focus on your individual needs and your amazing FLVS instructor to help you reach those goals.”
With six different world language offerings—available to elementary, middle, and high school students—plus, nine corresponding language clubs, FLVS is the perfect place to start learning a language your way.
Explore our World Language courses at flvs.net/worldlanguages.