Bilingualism helps us develop Cultural Connectedness, Understanding and Tolerance.
A Little Bit of Background
I grew-up in a full immersion French school and for thirteen years I learned French the “traditional way”.
When it comes to learning languages, the traditional way is heavily teacher centered. When I was at school it consisted of lectures, rote memorization, grammar repetition drills, a textbook and a workbook full of “fill-in the blank” exercises. Once in awhile our teacher would play some conversations on tape or show us a video related to the vocabulary we were learning. Those audios and videos were without a doubt the highlight of my day.
Fast forward 15 years and I find myself living in a foreign country and having to learn another language: English. This time I didn’t learn the new language in a classroom and my experience as a learner was completely different. I didn’t learn English from a textbook. I learned it in context. I learned it making connections between what I saw and what I heard. I learned by doing and by being part of the culture.
Having mastered two different languages in two completely different ways has broaden my perspective as a language teacher. I've learned from what worked and didn’t work for me, and I am excited and inspired to bring that experience and knowledge to my classroom.
Now that we are well into the 21st century my passion for languages has found a perfect match with my passion for technology. For years I’ve been playing and exploring with many digital tools. However, after going through the Master’s in Innovative Learning, and learning about SAMR and TPACK, my curiosity has reached a whole new level.
I am looking forward to continue reinventing my teaching by enhancing my student’s experiences with the mindful use of digital tools and media.
I am also eager and excited about sharing with other second language teachers my findings and discoveries through my “Innovative Learning” journey at Touro.
Why Learn a Second Language?
In our increasingly globalized world, speaking two languages has become something that is necessary. There are many practical and social benefits of being bilingual. The American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has identified the benefits of language learning in three major areas: academic achievement, cognitive benefits and positive attitudes towards the languages learned and other cultures.
Unlike two decades ago, students who study a second language are required to communicate with others. They are also expected to explore different disciplines on their target language and to use their second language to participate in communities in this country and abroad” (Vadés et al., 2006).
Now more than ever, the need to teach a second language at school is evident. We know that students can acquire the language through comprehensible input and can learn it through repetition With technology being an integral part of our lives, we now have the tools to make the learning experience more meaningful and engaging for our students.
With these ideas in mind my action research was conducted to determine the effects of digital tools on second language education. The results were not surprising and confirmed what I had been witnessing with my students for a while: technology is a great tool for education and learning.