Dual Language Learning “Over the Wire/Air”

Considering our planet’s current situation, we are blessed to have the technology we have. In yesteryear, we had to depend upon books to “take us places,” or we had to actually go there.

The COVID-19 quarantine has thrown the country’s educational system into a bit of a tailspin. But with technology and perseverance, we can fly right out of that spin. Let’s investigate some of the resources you can use while everyone is on this mandated sabbatical from our usual learning routine.

Unfortunately, there are way too many high school graduates—and even college graduates—who can say “hello” and perhaps count to ten in a second language, and that’s it. Most European teenagers speak up to four languages fluently.

Hence, please make second language acquisition a mainstay of your household or learning environment. Those who speak more than one language realize that with each additional language acquired, the ability to assimilate and learn other topics is enhanced.

Routines to Adopt Daily

1) Budget time daily to go the “Old School Route”

Research has shown that total immersion language acquisition (often represented by different acronyms) can be as effective as the 20th century sadistic routine of “dad throwing the kids into the deep water to learn how to swim.”

Here are some guidelines to make it simple for at minimum an hour each day:

  • Read, read, read in the target language. Read to your students in the target language, and have them read in the target language no matter how much they want to return to their original language.
  • Speak to them in the target language and have them speak to you in the target language. Mistakes are forgiven, laughed at (makes them more memorable), and built upon. If they want ice cream, they must ask for it in the target language.
  • Label, label, label things throughout your home or work-space with the targeted language.

2) What’s Available Online?

Now is the time to take advantage of some of the subscription sites that are currently being offered either periodic tuition abeyance or access to certain materials at no fee. There are also myriad others based on a state-by-state basis (usable by all, but there may be state requirement differences). There are certainly plentiful resources to fill an entire virtual school day.

Here are a few good ones to peruse to pull some ideas while your learners are sleeping:

  • 1) Education.com is currently offering several free worksheets, packets, and other resources during this time. Use some time in the evening to seek out your state’s standards/core content and print out packets and worksheets for the next day.
  • 2) The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Not only does this organization have an entire page dedicated to second language learners, they also seek to teach proactive life skills and acceptance of others.
  • 3) Most states have their own website dedicated to online/remote learning, which includes DLL resources. California has a prime example. Another state that has a great site devoted to this cause is Colorado.

An Astounding Website with Some Free Resources and Tons of Purchasable Materials

A favorite and extremely positive website that sells lessons and plans sold almost entirely by teachers is teacherspayteachers.com. Every seller is required to offer at least one free item! You can pull numerous units and worksheets from teacherspayteachers.com. If you are part of a homeschooling group, there are group memberships that can be purchased for the entire group.

3) At Least Twice per Week: Integrate Some Applicable Geography

The coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, has not discriminated based on geography nor language. Now would be a superb time to pull out a map or a globe and explore the planet with your students/children! For younger learners, perhaps a discussion of “ill persons” in the target language using TPR (total physical response) is suggested. For older learners, you may integrate some math, i.e. statistics, ratios, percentages as they apply to this pandemic. The Weather Channel app (accessible on any smart phone or computer) has a comprehensive graphs and charts page you can follow regarding the virus statistics). It is not the time to act like nothing’s happening. Embrace this memory, albeit difficult. You will be able to refer to it later. Happy teaching!

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