Language Learning Can Improve Your Odds

Open_book_2If you’re interested in a new job, then learning a new language can greatly improve your chances of landing one.  Bilingual jobs are on the rise, and demand is especially high in the fields of French and Spanish speaking jobs.  If you’re interested in brushing up on your second language skills, then your best options are to join a class or start a learn at home course.  We always recommend a combination of both, but depending on your circumstances you might only be able to do one or the other. 

What’s the best way to learn a language in a classroom though?  We have been reading a lot about whole language classrooms and how they can be beneficial:

“How can you create a whole language classroom? The first step is to plan a few whole language experiences that can supplement you present banal series or textbook. While whole language instruction can be an alternative to the use of basals, I believe that the textbook and the whole language approach can co-exist–at least until the teacher has the confidence and expertise necessary to be a total whole language teacher.

I particularly like activities that take the shape of cooperative or collaborative learning projects, such as growing a classroom garden, putting on a class play, or organizing a small business. You might want to design projects that encourage your students to read (following directions, researching the facts); to write (keeping journals, taking notes, writing stories); and to present their work (graphing their findings, dramatizing various scenarios, publishing newsletters).

If you are a high school English teacher, why not have your students create a classroom yearbook for a lower grade in your school district? Through this activity, your students will be developing and applying their writing skills, along with other skills such as time management and desktop publishing. A community service project, such as a recycling campaign, is a great motivator for students in the middle school. A project such as this challenges middle school students’ creative abilities and helps them see the relevance of academic and social skills. It also provides an outlet for their boundless energy. Primary teachers can try inviting a lovable hamster or guinea pig to join their classroom. Imagine all the reading, writing, mathematics, and computer-related activities that your students can do with your classroom pet as the starting point!

Tie your project into social studies or science. Many social studies and science topics lend themselves perfectly to a whole language approach. Ask yourself: What kinds of tasks will challenge the students to use their skills or require them to develop new skills? Some software companies have developed interdisciplinary packages that fit nicely within a whole language philosophy. Some packages to consider are Tom Snyder Productions’ Decisions, Decisions series; National Geographic Society’s The Golden Spike, and Wings for Learning’s Voyage of the Mimi.

Whole language teaching can be as involved as traveling around the world to learn world geography, or as simple as building worlds within your own classroom with books, videos, and personal computers. The secret is to be creative! The project doesn’t have to be big, simply one that motivates your students to get actively involved in reading, researching, calculating, writing, and sharing. When deciding what to do, don’t forget to talk with your students. They may have the perfect project.”

Excerpt from:  Marvelle, John D. “Technology in the whole language classroom.” Technology & Learning Apr. 1991: 32+.

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