Learning a New Language Using Online Resources
It’s one of the most valuable skills that a child can learn and something that is usually a priority in many schools across the world. However because of it’s dominance, the English speaking world usually lags behind in foreign language skills. It ‘s not uncommon to find students in a European college who are fluent in two or three languages including their own. However it ‘s certainly the exception in a British, Australian or US college where a second language is quite a rare skill to have. It ‘s entirely understandable of course, the use of English is far and away the most widespread language in the world today.
English speakers are used to conversing in their native language wherever they may end up – from Beijing to Cuba there ‘s always someone around who can speak a little English at least. However for the Dutch or Norwegian travelling abroad, their own language is very little help at all so they are forced to try and learn another which will inevitably be English.
So if English speaking students are not forced into learning another language out of necessity, how can we encourage them in those early years when learning a language is so much easier. Most schools of course offer language variants, in the UK you’ll find French or German commonly taught. However many places now offer other languages like Italian and even Japanese or Chinese. There are practical difficulties though in simply finding enough qualified teachers for these subjects in British schools.
Now many schools are attempting to utilise digital technology to try and bridge these gaps. Nowadays there are some incredible language resources available in multimedia formats, many of them are also available online. There are courses with links into to resources in the native languages, you can get access to a native speaker online to help with pronunciation and specific problems. The growth of online learning is bound to have a huge effect in this area, with Universities across the world offering their language courses to students across the world instead of limiting to those in the classroom.
There are other options for example by using proxies and VPNs you can even access popular TV shows like the Simpsons dubbed into specific languages. If you connect up via a English proxy server for example you can watch things like the BBC iPlayer from Ireland – http://bbciplayerabroad.co.uk/does-bbc-iplayer-work-in-ireland/, you can watch all your favorite shows online via a British TV channel. The world of education is going to undergo huge changes in the years to come, hopefully language skills and communication will be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
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