Language Immersion that Should Work for You
by Rachel Bartee
Language immersion is one of the most effective teaching methods that foster bilingualism in students of all ages. Traditional language speaking programs are focused on the grammar and vocabulary of the second language, whereas language immersion applies the foreign language through practical speech and lectures.
Most people identify language immersion with a classroom full of students, a teacher, books, and a particular number of classes per week, but the method is not as primitive as it seems. With the help of technology, language immersion can be the foundation of a really engaging learning process. You don't have to go abroad to experience the practical implementation of the language; you can be immersed into it thanks to this learning process.
What Is Language Immersion?
This type of program originated in Canada in 1960s, when English-speaking children were taught French through lectures about French traditions and culture. As this method evolved, teachers started using the second language while teaching various school subjects, such as social studies, science, math, etc. As a result, the students developed fluency not only in their native language, but in a second language as well.
Language immersion is a broad concept that can easily be applied outside the classroom. Are you learning the language without taking traditional lessons? That's okay; you can still get immersed!
Why a New Language Requires Immersion
Here are only few of the reasons for language immersion you should consider:
- When you're learning a new language, it would be a shame to focus on grammar, words, and dry sentences when there are so many things to learn about the countries and cultures where the language is spoken.
- Immersion encourages you to use the second language through spontaneous conversation.
- Everyone makes mistakes when speaking a foreign language. Thus, you'll let go of the fear of making mistakes, so you'll feel more comfortable to speak up.
- You're learning the language in the form that real people use. No native speaks strictly according to a grammar book.
How to Get Your Own Language Immersion
Remember: language immersion doesn't happen solely in a classroom. Thanks to technology, you can implement this method in different ways.
- Watch video content. Different TV series, TED talks, movies, YouTube videos, and educational films will help you learn the language without focusing on memorizing rules. You will listen to actual conversations and talks that show you how natives use the language.
- Listen to podcasts, radio shows, and radio monologues. When you exclude the visual element, you pay more attention to the speech. Write down the words you can't understand, so you'll look them up in the dictionary. If you're listening to a podcast, you'll probably find a transcript. Play it again and read along. Then, repeat the sentences and practice speaking.
- Write every day! Let me give you a tip from personal experience: nothing improves your language skills like immersing in writing. Being a writer at EduGeeksClub, I continuously practice my skills by creating random drafts on any topic that comes to my mind. That's how I keep my inspiration going, but I also improve my vocabulary and I notice the mistakes I keep repeating. Do not focus on grammar, though. Be spontaneous and write about any plans, thoughts, and feelings. Then, you can read the piece and check it with Grammarly to identify the flaws.
- Change settings on your computer, smartphone, tablet, and social media profiles to the second language. You might get confused at first, but you'll soon get used to the new words and you'll find yourself thinking in the second language as you search for the right option in the menu.
- Discover a forum or blog in your target language. Join the discussions and don't be afraid to participate in them. This is a great way to speak up while you remain safe under the veil of anonymity. Focus on the threads related to your interests. That's how you'll learn the words and phrases you need for real communication.
- You can meet many friends via social media. Find a native speaker and chat with them. That's a nice way to practice writing. Then, you can move towards video chats, so you can practice pronunciation, too.
- Play some fun games with your friends, colleagues, or relatives. It's no wonder children learn the most valuable lessons through games; this method keeps the mind focused and amused. You can practice sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary through some of the most popular games in learning.
- Translate the slogans you see around you, the conversations you listen to, and the articles you read in your native language. With time, you'll catch yourself thinking in the second language. That's a huge progress to make.
- Find a speaking club and start going to thematic social meetups in your area. If you can't find such a group, then start one yourself. You can create a Facebook group to get to know each other, and then you can arrange an actual meeting in a coffee shop.
- Record yourself. Use your smartphone or another device to record your speech. Talk on any topic and don't stop to think. Then, you'll listen to the audio material and you'll recognize your accent, as well as the mistakes you made.
- Keep a journal to track your progress. Start by planning the stages of learning, and then note down all new things you learn as you make your way through the plan. That will take a bit more effort than the previous strategies on this list, but it's one of the most productive ways to boost your language learning through immersion.
Language immersion is one of the best methods for learning a second language as effectively as possible. The broad frames of the strategy give you a lot of space for experimentation. Thus, you can experiment with any of the above-listed techniques to develop a routine that works for you. Good luck!
About the Author
Rachel Bartee is an inspired and devoted ESL teacher from Iowa. Throughout her teaching way she has been into writing as her second calling. She starts her day with morning yoga and can-do attitude. You can reach Rachel at Facebook and Twitter.
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