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Publish at November 16 2021 Updated November 26 2021

Which ways of teaching should be favoured in languages?

Preliminary considerations and methodologies

Education, alphabet, school, letters, learning

A whole journey

The journey from learning the first words of a foreign language to mastery is different for each person, which leads us to ask what were the ways of teaching and learning it in the training courses taken and beyond. What might have been the highlight of successful foreign language learning? Was it the training taken or the format encouraging the involvement of those concerned, both in a proportional way, one more than the other, the latter more than the former?

Preliminary benchmark reflections

The arrival of each learner in language training is crucial for setting up where we start from and what will be the priority learning to be addressed. To do this, these benchmark reflections are very dear to me in order to establish it distinctly before starting the training:

  • their linguistic and cultural profile and richness;
  • their value system in relation to the languages and cultures of others;
  • their starting point in the target language and cultures;
  • their interests and attractions towards the target language and cultures, if significant and powerful enough or still to be developed and fostered further, what to decide to implement if these are not present;
  • their learning profile;
  • the degree of personal and emotional well-being enabling or hindering learning to be achieved;
  • the resources they possess to overcome the inevitable departure from the comfort zone involved in learning a new language and culture;
  • and of course their list of favourite hobbies and life interests and themes to spice up the lessons and content.

So many elements that come into play and must be attended to for good language learning, such as those that could be called the indestructibles to be awakened, fostered or maintained such as curiosity, motivation, pleasure in learning, cultural openness, perseverance, confidence and self-discipline.

What language methodology to adopt then?

It turns out that after the communicative and actional approaches, the most followed methodology is that of eclecticism not without contrary opinions of some didacticians towards it. Let's analyze what it implies through this definition given by Ana Rodríguez Seara:

"Eclecticism as a methodology for teaching foreign languages requires that the teacher has extensive knowledge of the language he/she teaches, of different ways of teaching, and that he/she can establish in detail the needs of his/her students. The more trained the teacher is, the more he claims his autonomy and the less he needs a method, feeling able to adapt his teaching to his particular classroom situation [...]

The current eclecticism has the advantages of a flexible methodology, capable of adapting to the different teaching-learning situations teachers have to face. Nevertheless, to avoid being synonymous with inconsistency and failure, the  defenders of eclecticism, mainly in the school environment, should bank on the training of teachers, which is the strong point of this methodology."

The characteristic features of this eclectic methodology would thus be articulated according to J.C. Beacco around "a main dialogue which serves as the basis for the bulk of the systematization activities that exploit this medium at the level of lexicon, grammar, spelling, phonetic correction, cultural dimensions, etc."

And always looking to the polyglots

True, no matter what the trends are, the one of doing like the polyglots fascinates us. Succeeding in learning multiple languages through the discovery of their secrets and tricks. They are the ones who would convince us of all the goodness and happiness in capital letters that languages and cultures have to offer.

Each of them possess the charm of those who understand the world and people more and more thanks to the different visions that each new language and culture reveals them.

As the polyglot Olivier Chassot says:

"there is one main reason that drives me to continue learning new languages: cultural sensitivity and awareness. I believe that cultural sensitivity is paramount to interacting with people from different countries and backgrounds. In this regard, languages have helped me develop strong cultural competence, a process that allows me to respond respectfully and effectively to people of different cultures, languages, classes, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a way that allows me to recognize, value, and cherish cultural diversity.

Because I can speak a few languages, I have developed cultural awareness, including awareness of my own culture; and I have developed intercultural skills. This allows me to feel comfortable almost anywhere and in any cultural context."

We'd like to make possible the lyrics of the song I'm Polygot by Henry Dès: Me, I can speak all languages. Me, I know how to speak all the languages of the whole world.

Image of Geralt on Pixabay


References:

CHASSOT, O. Learning Languages: Why and How to Become a Polyglot? URL : https://www.olivierchassot.net/post/apprendre-les-langues-pourquoi-et-comment-devenir-polyglotte 

EOLE - Education and Openness to Languages at School.  URL: https://eole.irdp.ch/activites_eole/quelle_langue.pdf

GROUP LDL. Technology to learn a language.  URL: https://www.groupeldl.com/fr/blog/la-technologie-pour-apprendre-une-langue

JAMBON, C. How to make learning easier Learn, review, memorize. URL: https://apprendre-reviser-memoriser.fr/comment-faciliter-lapprentissage/

PHUONG NGOC, N.  Anna Moi or Migrant Language as Freedom. OpenEdition Books. URL : https://books.openedition.org/pup/51370

Defining Learning.  Prof Innovative. URL: https://www.profinnovant.com/definition-de-lapprentissage/

RODRÍGUEZ SEARA, A. The evolution of methodologies in the teaching of French as a foreign language from traditional methodology to the present day. URL: https://qinnova.uned.es/archivos_publicos/qweb_paginas/4469/revista1articulo8.pdf

STARKE, J. 70-20-10 - the formula for success in learning? Insights magazine. URL: https://insights.tt-s.com/fr-fr/70-20-10-la-formule-du-succes-pour-lapprentissage

YAICHE, F. Contribution to a reflection on the new definition of the relationship to foreign language. CELEC-CEDICLEC- GERFLINT. URL: https://gerflint.fr/Base/Russie3/contributions.pdf


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