As language teachers, we know that students of foreign languages often have disparate needs. Before you sign up for a language class, be sure to familiarize yourself with the methology that works for your learning style and that correlates to your linguistic goal.
Some students seek to learn a new language for the pure fun of it, some look to supplement a course, while others must pass a proficiency requirement for a job or degree. The first step to learning a new language is identifying which approach is best for you. B
Our 5 favorite approaches are inclusive of all linguistic needs from grammar heavy test preparation and translation to conversational enrichment and business goals:
The Communicative approach emphasizes spoken fluency, as suggested by its name. The language tutor will implement a range of drills and dialogue exercises to ensure that you are able to quickly produce language. Through repetition, the student acquires the language's pattern and can quickly begin to speak.
The Grammar Translation method is best for students preparing for a standardized test or working on text-heavy projects, say a french essay or german translation. This method develops written skill, but doesn't effectively teach students to actually speak. Many SAT II subject tests do not actually ask students to produce language, so this is an efficient test-prep option.
The Task-based learning method works best for students learning a language with a super specific goal in mind. For example, if you are learning language for business or for medicine, you will require very specific vocabulary to achieve a certain set of tasks. Task-based learning introduces grammar and vocabulary that is tailored to a setting or industry. The language teacher will teach to the task.
The Direct Method seeks to replicate the natural language acquisition process. Like a small child learns his or her native language, this method mimics the process by using visual cues, as well as the question/answer format...much like your parents did when you were growing! With adult learners, the Direct Method slowly aggregates more complex grammatical concepts over time.
In total immersion language classes, only the target language is spoken. The Immersion method works best with younger students whose ears are still quite malleable. Immersion is ideal for any student once they have a basic foundation.
If you are considering embarking on a new language, Cambridge Coaching can conduct an initial assessment to help you identify your goals as a language student, and recommend the approach that is right for you.