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Keeping up with the latest trends in language learning
Changes in theory and technology have transformed the way we teach languages. I.L.S. has been in the business since 1976 and has witnessed these changes first hand. This is how four decades of teaching have helped us achieve today’s excellent results.
Go, went, gone. Have, had, had. Many of us remember sitting in a stuffy classroom chanting verb conjugations for memory. The classical method for learning Greek and Latin was used in schools for all language teaching. However, as the demand for languages in the workplace grew in the 60’s and 70’s – especially in Europe with the European Common Market (later the European Union), it became evident that whilst people’s grammar was excellent, their communication skills were not so great. The lack of focus on communication has also contributed to the fear that many of our adult learners show today – as mentioned in a previous article.
Communication is key
It was thanks to the combined work of famed linguist Noam Chomsky and later Michael Halliday and Dell Hymes, that the Communicative Method was born. The communicative approach shifts the focus to more “active” learning where students do most of the talking in class, replicating real-life situations with the use of “authentic” material (newspaper articles, TedTalk speeches etc.) – as opposed to material created specifically for language learners.
In addition, the demand for more specialised forms of English has grown. To meet this demand, we adopt a personalised approachto courses using sector specific materials – especially in the financial, HR and medical sector, moving away from pre-packaged, standard issue courses.
The advancement of technology has had a huge effect on the way we teach. Improvements in Internet connections, coupled with people’s busy schedules and the move towards digital business –means there is a growing need for digital classrooms. Requests for online lessons using platforms like Skype for Business and Webex are on the rise. We also use state-of-the-art online learning platforms, where students can complete exercises and monitor progress in their own time using dedicated learning software. Online platforms are increasing in popularity for students to practice their skills, thus increasing their exposure to the language.
The perfect blend
Opinion is divided on the “best” way to learn a language. Some say the only way is with a “full immersion” approach, living in a native speaking country. Others swear by individual face-to-face lessons. Now with the rise of language learning apps which bring the classroom to the palm of your hand, people are spoilt for choice. However research shows that a combination approach produces the best academic results, since focusing on just one process causes inadequacies.I.L.S. has analysed students’ performance over the years using different techniques, and thus has tailored their approach to achieve the best results. Our Blended Learning courses have become the most popular courses requested. The integration of face-to-face classes with virtual learning provides students with a wider scope of materials. This method not only helps develop skills in multiple contexts, but also increases confidence and maximises exposure to boost learning.
To find out more about our pioneering Blended Courses, contact us:
Elena Tagliabue, Language Training Consultant
I.L.S. International Language School