Hi, let me introduce myself, I’m Paola Piccardo and I have been assisting students achieve their language acquisition goals for the last 15 years.
In this series of blogs, I want look at the multiple aspects that make up a blended approach to acquiring an additional language. As I know from experience a holistic approach to language is the best way forward. We will be looking at a multitude of methods and resources available to the language student either embarking on their language acquisition journey as beginners or those looking to refresh their skills.
Some of the key areas we will cover in this blog series are as follows:
Motivation and value
The most important aspect of learning a language (or anything for that matter) is what is it that is motivating you to do so. Being motivated is by far the most important ingredient to developing your new skills. You may be studying due to your love of the sound of the French language, the joy you gain from Italian culture or appreciation shown when you can communicate to friends or family members in their native tongue. You may also be motivated by career progression or a need to understand meetings by the head office. Or you may want to surprise your loved ones with your language skills.
Whatever your reason, understanding your motivation can influence the approach to take.
In this blog we will be looking at how to use your motivation to create targets, develop knowledge and skills, relate your gained skills to the real world and grow your expertise.
This is a large topic and will be covered by several blog posts.
There is a vast array of resources available to assist you on your language journey, some of the key topics we will be looking at include:
Books – Whether set course books, grammar books, exercise books, dual text stories or novels, print resources offer a wide range of benefits to either guide your learning path or supplement it. We will also look at the advantages of e-books given that they offer functionality such as dictionaries that are of great benefit to language students.
Dictionaries – What dictionary should you use? A comprehensive dual language version, a version suited to the student’s current level, or a monolingual dictionary? We will look at the pros and cons of these.
Multimedia – There are many apps and e-learning packages available, we will look at what the most popular programs have to offer.
Audio – Listening to your target language is vital to being familiar with the sounds and rhythm of the spoken work, whether you understand it all or not,
we will look at the role of audio books and native radio stations as well as popular audio systems such as Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone and Michel Thomas.
Group classes, online programs, one to one bespoke tuition: we will look in depth at the pros and cons and how to determine what works best for you.
There may come a point in your language journey where you seek to measure where your language skills sit. We will look at the international language frameworks and formal qualifications available.
Practice in the field
Whether on holiday, working abroad or taking part in language exchanges or international groups, practicing speaking with native speakers is what learning a language is all about. Let’s look at what options are available.
The arts and language acquisition
From movies to music to masterpieces, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy your target language and learning without even realizing you are doing so.
From cinema classics by native directors, discovering new genres of music, the global phenomena of Harry Potter in second languages to learning about the impressionist painters we look at how the arts can bring language vividly to life.
As you see there many elements to the fascinating topics of languages!
Look out for my next blog post where we will be looking at how to enhance your language learning journey and love of learning.
All the best,