One initial method is by teaching how languages are applied in the real world. While many of our students may have ample experience with this, there are many more who can be served well by teaching them and motivating them with these real-world examples. This not only works as an ice breaker, but as you see how they respond to these techniques, you will be motivated to find more methods and resources. Overall, this can begin the process of bringing groups of students together and helping them find common ground while learning to respect our differences.
Using multimedia, music, skits, and dance can also take your students on a learning journey and allow them to have fun while they're at it. Sadly, many folks seem to be programmed to reject the traditional "boring" learning methods. But we have so much more at our disposal in order to assist them along their way.
Master the art of applying it to the real world in a fun and entertaining manner. This is the first step to getting them to truly buy-in to the idea of language learning. Remember, it's OK, and even quite necessary, to have fun in the language-learning classroom.
Rhythm and repetition have been proven time and time again to speed the process of learning and long-term retention. The human brain loves it in this aspect. Many people already recognize music and videos as ways to escape their current situation, to forget for just a little while and be transported to another planet. While this happens, learning is still occurring. Learn to capitalize on this and the results will follow.
Music connects to the soul, regardless of what language it's in. Once your students see how it applies to the real world and once they're having fun, it's easier to use more traditional methods to incorporate with the others that I've explained. Just don't stop having fun. Our kids are yearning for it, and most educators are too.
Use hip-hop, reggaeton, and other contemporary popular music to your advantage in the classroom. Find educational and positive-message focused songs and raps to help transform your classroom and the way your students view learning. Done right and everyone has fun, everyone learns, and the day goes by just a little bit quicker while having the maximum impact. For beginners, you can teach them the Spanish ABC's with hip hop or the Verb conjugations with reggaeton the GueroLoco way (shameless plug). But for higher-level students, you can build entire lessons out of a few-minute song that has a great message. Break down the meaning, discuss the lyrics, engage your students, and talk about vocabulary. If you find it more effective, start out with bilingual songs to keep attention and then work your way into songs made solely in the target language.
Music can go beyond language, beyond social structure, beyond a previously seen possibility. Music, poetry, and spoken word are very powerful tools for helping students to learn and retain information at much higher rates. How many times has that song on the radio that you only kinda like got stuck in your head for half the day? Naturally forcing you to recite lyrics word for word that you didn't even know you learned.
Much like language, the two share the superpower of building connections while uniting and bringing us together. Ultimately, they both also have the immense power to break down the walls that exist within us and put our hearts and minds on a new level of understanding.
Language is a powerful tool that can help students every day in communicating with others and enriching their lives. It's long past the time to give these tools the prominent positions they deserve in our classrooms while giving our students the strategies and advantages they deserve. Show your students a world outside of what they currently know, then give them the keys to get there.
Relax, your only job is to educate the future of our nation and somehow create world peace while you're at it, but you're a teacher… you got this!