This morning I typed ‘Foreign languages’ into google.co.uk, and its French equivalent ‘Langues étrangères’ into google.fr. It was very pleasing to see that the first hits were about learning a language, from primary school to adult needs, on-line teaching and learning tools, dictionaries and so forth. And yet, attempting to learn a new language can often be tricky. The British usually consider themselves ‘apathetic’ and the French ‘impervious’ to foreign languages. The French will gently mock their fellow citizens and say “il parle anglais comme une vache espagnole”, literally he speaks English like a Spanish cow – in other words very badly – and the British will say ‘excuse my French’ when using rude or inappropriate language. I’m sure there are a lot of other phrases like these around the world. It would seem that we are inclined to blame another nation for our failings when it comes to learning our neighbours’ lingo… or could this be because we simply feel intimidated?
A good approach might well be to incorporate a mixture of teaching methods, taking into account the way in which students learn (the so-called learning styles), rather than what is necessarily easier for the teacher, a lot of patience, hard work certainly, yet also a good dose of humour, constant revision sessions and perhaps even the opportunity to learn outdoors. I would suggest that this approach would represent a good foundation to learning a language. All our teachers here at BLS bear this in mind and will never give up on their students, whether they find it difficult, are scared by the process, or need reassurance every step of the way.
We would love to hear your experience of learning a language, good or bad, so please do send your comments along!