Technology has revolutionised how we learn and engage with information. In the UK we could always be better when it comes to learning an additional language.
Most of us start learning languages after the age of 11, but many do not continue. The British Council says young people think it’s more difficult to get good grades in languages than other subjects.
• 62% of people in the UK can’t speak any other language apart from English.
• 38% of people in the UK speak at least 1 foreign language.
• 28% speak at least two.
• 11% speak three or more.
1. Language Learning Apps
Apps like the popular Duolingo, help users learn languages in a game type interface. With over 300million users worldwide, Duolingo is a proven way to pick up a language as and when you can. The App uses points and levels to encourage you to reach targets and language learning goals, which makes it perfect for young people.
Perhaps the most striking feature of Duolingo is its mixture of verbal, written and listening exercises to improve language proficiency
The platform boasts a mighty 22 languages available for users in a number of levels and proficiencies.
2. Google Translate
Google Translate has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, with the ability to translate audio, text and even documents or photos in real time using augmented reality.
Google translate boasts 100 languages on the platform, so you’re sure to find the language you love.
Even if you or young people in your care aren’t actively learning a new language the Google Translate app is a must have for when they travel. It can even be useful for supporting young people with language homework or revision.
3. The Power of Subtitles
A perfect way to brush up on your language skills is to enable language subtitles on streaming platforms while you’re watching your favourite shows.
There is a growing number of foreign language TV shows which require subtitle or audio changes into English. But by changing the audio or subtitles on English language shows, you can access an all-round masterclass on the most popular languages.
Changing the audio will change the language spoken which is a perfect way for you and young people in your care to get familiar with how the language sounds. You can always change these options when it’s time to pause your learning.
4. Watching The News
If you studied a language before or are currently learning one, a perfect way to keep up with the news while practicing a foreign language is to watch and listen to the news in the language you’re learning. This can be done as a family or along with a young person to encourage learning habits.
In the age of the internet and the global information speedway, news is broadcast live on YouTube, Facebook and other platforms to keep you in the loop.
Subtitles again can be used to make sure you don’t miss any words you or children in your care aren’t familiar with.
5. Become a YouTube Language Sensation
YouTube is jam packed with language learning videos from natives and teachers alike. The beauty of the platform is that it showcases a range of language learning styles to cater to how you learn best.
Many YouTube language channels will also feature food, culture and arts from different countries. This means you get a feel for how to live and speak the language like a true local. It’s also a change for you to share learning with young people in your care. You should review a channel and its content before allowing a young person to watch it.
We’ve all heard that it’s easier to learn a language when we’re younger. But you shouldn’t be put off from learning a new language just by virtue of your age.
Learning a language improves our brain power, memory and makes our minds sharper. It’s a perfect way to keep your brain engaged and healthy. It’s even been found to slow the effects of aging and could even slow dementia in the aging brain.
It’s also a powerful way to connect with young people in our care, by spending time using tech together to learn.
As technology advances even further, the ways and means of learning a new language or improving a rusty one- have never looked better.