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SXSWedu 2014

21st Century Language Learning; Interactive & Fun

This is not your father's Oldsmobile, nor is it a 20th c. grammar textbook nor false promises of Rosetta Stone. We will present the newest, most efficient, interactive foreign language teaching methods to move language learning into the next century, bridging a foreign language education gap.
Our differing perspectives, public university vs. private sector, offer a modern approach incorporating technology and unorthodox materials.
With practical design techniques for not only reading, writing, listening and speaking, we bring into focus the "5th" skill: cultural competence. The application of technology (digital tech., video, internet) holds the key for language learners to go from competency to proficiency.
Incorporating visual media, such as music/lyrics ("Rockin' Russian" in link), and authentic texts such as film w/ foreign subtitles, teachers can turn language learners into active learners bridging a (2nd) gap between limited contact hours and near-native proficiency.

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  1. How can foreign language education help bridge the "language gap"? per Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, & reiterated by Obama: "one place we obviously need to get better is in teaching languages. The United States is a long way from being the multi-lingual society that so many of our economic competitors are; to prosper economically and to improve relations with other countries, Americans need to read, speak, understand other languages." Ans: Open Access to Language Education: COERLL
  2. How can we incorporate technology in the foreign language classroom? That is, how do we select and implement videos and "authentic" texts in a manner which leads to enhanced cultural and linguistic meaning? Ans: Innovative strategies exist which enhance lexical, grammatical and functional results. These, coupled with judicious use of available technology, can create an environment for effective and efficient language learning.
  3. What best practices move the language learner from competency to proficiency given normal classroom time ("contact hour") restraints? That is, given the hundreds of hours estimated to achieve intermediate to advanced proficiency in a language, how can teachers/learners bridge that education gap? Ans: supplementing unorthodox materials: music videos/lyrics (see Rockin' Russian), film & subtitles. The notion that language learning must essentially be tedious and boring is defunct in 2014!



Elizabeth Mack, Owner / Instructor, Freestyle Language Center

Meta Information:

  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Future15
  • Track: Best Practices & Implementation
  • Level: Beginning
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