The secret to learning languages is not whether the class is in person, online or hybrid. The learning process must value the methodology. This is what professionals Elisa Touchon Fingermann, who has taught French for over 15 years, and Paula Gabriela, who has been teaching English for eight years, defend.
“Online or face-to-face are just the environments in which you study, and not the method itself. That’s why it’s important for the student who wants to learn a language to make sure that the chosen method meets their needs and expectations”, says Elisa, which produces content for Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
In addition to being a teacher, Paula Gabriela is also a student of Spanish and French. Based on her experiences, she adds that there are advantages and disadvantages to language teaching formats, just like any course.
As a positive point, the interviewee mentions the possibility of communicating with people from any corner of the world. At the other end, the physical interaction of virtual classes can be impaired (such as connection failures and experience in the online environment).
Anyway, following some strategies it is possible to make the most of the virtual experience of the classes, according to them. Here are three tips from those in the know:
1. Know the method
After choosing the language, Professor Elisa highlights the importance of selecting a method that is aligned with your particular goals.
“During the pandemic, there was a proliferation of online courses being offered. But it’s not because it’s online that the course or program uses internet tools in its favor”, he says.
That’s why research is important. Get in touch with schools and digital platforms that offer the virtual modality. See if people on the internet have shared their impressions of the courses, if there are any complaints, etc.
It is important to understand if the course is suitable for your daily life. One of the great advantages of online teaching is the flexibility of schedule and where you can study.
2. Organize your studies
The learning process is personal, but the recommendation is that everyone has a clear goal about the motivations for the study.
Think about why you want to learn a new language. Is it for work? There are courses aimed at the professional environment. Is it for a leisure trip? There are also classes focusing on these everyday experiences.
People who have already learned one or more languages previously tend to have an easier time learning a new language, says Professor Elisa. This is because the brain has already built up a “communication baggage” and is able to make connections more quickly and adapt, in addition to having experience in emitting different sounds to speak another language.
If this is your case, online classes may even be more advantageous.
Routine organization is something that must be worked hand in hand with motivation.
Professor Paula, who also makes English teaching content available on Instagram and YouTube, suggests that students commit to a study period: it can be 20 minutes, 1 or 2 hours. It will depend on the availability of each one.
“No matter which course you enrolled in, no teacher, teacher or school will do the job for you. It is necessary that the student has commitment. Also respect your rhythm and have your time off”, he highlights.
3. Enjoy content and live the culture of the language
There are several contents available on the internet for those who want to learn a new language. There are paid and free courses. On YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other social networks it is not difficult to find tips in different languages. It is worth taking a look.
Another possibility is to invest in language apps, such as Duolingo, Babbel, Voxy, etc., which allow you to expand your vocabulary and learn new languages — almost like a game.
Professor Elisa also emphasizes that, in order to learn a foreign language, it is necessary to experience three pillars:
Content or information; Practice; Mindset.
To summarize, this means that it is essential to have access to content, such as vocabulary and grammatical structures, but it is also necessary to combine this learning with practice to establish new knowledge.
The pillar of mentality involves the student allowing himself to overcome fears, organize studies and help himself in this process of learning evolution.