Scott Young & Vat Jaiswal: TEDx EastsidePrep: One Simple Method to Learn Any Language. Scott & Vat travel to 4 different countries: Spain, Brazil, China, Taiwan and Korea knowing very little or 0% of the languages. There goal was to become fluent in the language by speaking only the language. No English, even with each other. In their first month, they slowly grew less and less dependent on using Google translate to feel in the gaps of their language skills. In their documentary, they show the progression of their ability from stumbling over themselves to conversing freely and comfortably with natives.
Their research showed that the beginning of learning a language is the hardest, like trying to get past the crashing waves at the shore. Once you simply use the language, the anxiety starts to fade and language learning becomes more cohesive and natural. If you simply do not allow yourself to speak your native language and pursue the target language (with a translator, as needed), you will become fluent.
I like to use this video in conjunction with the other TEDtalk OER resource by Tim Doner Breaking the Language Barrier (also my uploads on GoOpenVa). I use this video to inspire students to simply use the language, mistakes and all. Just go for it, every opportunity that you are given. If you cannot fully immerse yourself in a target language community, the video encourages you to make the No English Rule with a peer who is also learning the language. And every time you are with that peer you both commit to only speaking the target language. Students can also commit to speaking on the target language to everyone in their class as well as any other student of that language, in addition to native speakers they encounter.
Instead of Google translate, I prefer Reverso Context because it provides examples of native use of the target language phrase. I teach Levels 1-2, so we usually have to start with a few lessons/practices on how to use Reverso Context correctly so that they can find the Spanish that they have not learned yet. Students are encouraged to first use what they know, miming and asking "¿Cómo se dice...?" or How do you say? in the target language and then, if stumped, ask for a second, find what a native would say on Reverso Context's examples and then proceed.
We have used these ideas to commit to staying in the target language for a certain period of time, like 10 minutes. We then reflect and clarify and start the timer again. Students have grown to prefer this over classes in English.
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