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Immersive Learning: Doing It Right

Lunes, 1 de Febrero de 2016

How to get immersed in a language.

There are many ways to learn a language, and some are much more effective than others. Going to class regularly, taking notes and revising what you learn - as well as practising as much as you can and making the most out of all the books, series, films and music in that language - will get you a long way, but ultimately there is no substitute for truly immersing yourself in the language.

Being surrounded by it - using it for everyday things that you wouldn’t have to in class, for example (or even using it because you have no other choice!) - may be confusing and even difficult at first, but the reward is massive. Spending some time in the country where the language is spoken is a fantastic idea, while something like a summer camp can also be hugely beneficial. Here are some tips and suggestions on this kind of experience, and how you can do it right:

Go with the Intensity

Learning a language outside a traditional classroom environment will inevitably be challenging at first, but it’s important to take advantage of the situation. Being in a different country or surrounded by others looking to practise the language is a tremendous opportunity to really put into practice what you know of the language.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone for a Truly Memorable Experience

Take risks - try all the new things on offer, wherever you are. Get yourself out of your comfort zone and the experience will be all the more memorable, and so will everything you learn while experiencing it.

Keep a Journal of Your Learning

One way language learners can really accelerate their learning is by both revising it and considering the experience in a wider context, and this doesn’t have to be a chore. Why not keep a journal in the language you’re learning? You don’t have to make it long or complicated, just a few thoughts and sentences when you get the chance.

By reflecting on your experiences in the language you’ll be consolidating everything you learn, while learning more in the process. A video diary is an option, too - something easier than ever to achieve given smartphones and tablets, though that option may not be for everyone. Learning a language is about far more than conjugating verbs and perfect pronunciation; ultimately it’s about communication, and expressing yourself to others. If you start by expressing yourself to yourself, you’ll find that the rest will come a lot easier.

Realise That if It’s Difficult, That’s Normal

Such an experience should be fun more than anything else. Learning another language isn’t easy. There are good days and bad days; days when everything flows perfectly… And days when you’re tired or preoccupied and it feels like you can’t say anything right. That isn’t just okay: it’s totally normal, and all part of the learning experience. Don’t lose heart. The more you practise and the more you learn, the more good days you’ll have and the more confident you’ll feel. And, above all…

Enjoy Yourself!

This really is the most important thing. Learning might not always be easy, but by doing it outside of the classroom and opening yourself up to new challenges and experiences with the right attitude, it can also be enormously enjoyable. So enjoy it!

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