Strategies for Learning a Foreign Language

Learning another language can be moderately easy for some and harder for others. The individuals who are more likely to succeed are the ones who truly want to learn and are willing help to try a variety of strategies. Everyone’s learning abilities are different and finding the most effective strategy that assists in the learning process is the biggest key to success.

Historically, the main focus in learning a foreign language has been on memorization and retention of vocabulary. Students use their memory to retain the meaning of words before attempting to form sentences. There are many techniques that are utilized to help aid in memorization.

A common memorization technique dealing with “code words” has been widely used

Strategies for Learning a Foreign Language

Students are able to take a word in a foreign language and connect it to a word in their native language that is similar or can somehow serve as a reminder to them. The word in their native language should rhyme with the foreign language word or sound somewhat similar to it. Another memorization technique deals with “pictorial images”, and can also be associated with the foreign language word.

Students who are taking language courses can benefit from acquiring a language partner. This can be a partner in class who is learning the same coursework, or it can be a friend who speaks the language fluently. Speaking conversationally can help develop proper sentence structure and greatly helps in foreign language learning.

Sharing These Strategies with Others

It is always helpful for students to encourage others to try techniques that have worked for them. Many students rely on one or two techniques and may get discouraged when the techniques are not working for them. Everyone has a different approach to learning and it is always helpful to share these approaches with others who may be unaware of new and different strategies. Teachers and students should utilize cooperative learning techniques to encourage one another to try different learning strategies.

How Technology Assists with Learning a Foreign Language

The use of technology by students, teachers and schools has had a huge impact on developing learning techniques. Although technology has been used for many decades, the advances in technology play a much larger role in language learning than in the past. Technology in the past utilized VHS videos, audiotapes and records. While printed textbooks are still used in the classroom, they are usually accompanied by DVDs, projectors and other visually stimulating technological aids. Software programs that have been designed to assist students with learning a foreign language can also help students develop useful technical skills.

The internet has become one of the most popular technological advancements in the classroom

Many foreign language classes are now offered online in addition to traditional classroom environments and rely heavily on technology. Students often relied on flash cards and printed language dictionaries in the past; however, these methods of learning may still be used in conjunction with technological learning material such as language CDs and podcasts for a broader learning experience. Learning a foreign language with the help of technology can encourage new ways of learning by providing audio and visual stimulation to the eager student.