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  • Selling textbooks after you’ve finished using them? Here’s some advice February 28, 2012
    These days, being a student is in many ways more demanding than ever. In other ways, though, those attending university have never had it better. The advent of the internet has brought a wealth of information to the modern learner’s fingertips. The advent of sites like Wikipedia has made conducting research and building up […]
  • Want to employ the best teachers? Test them! February 22, 2012
    Are you looking for new teachers? Make sure you do into the process with a clear strategy for how you ensure you end up with the best candidate. Employee assessment tests are extremely important in enabling you as a recruiter of teachers to be able to make measured and well-informed decisions about the type […]
  • Online learning: Do you have the right personality? February 13, 2012
    Research has shown that online learning is better suited to people who are verbally oriented, rather than those who have visual or kinesthetic skills. For this reason, notes Jonathan Ginsburg, whether or not a student is successful in an e-learning course can depend considerably on their personality and their learning type. Before taking an […]
  • Alternative careers: Operations management February 13, 2012
    Tired of the hoi polloi of everyday life as a language teacher? Why not train to become an operations manager instead? An mba in healthcare management is an absolutely indispensable industry qualification which enables those who take it to hone their decision making abilities. The importance of a healthcare mba In today’s bloodthirsty world, […]
  • Can we use dreams to teach English? January 11, 2012
    Dogme ELT is rooted in the experiences of the learner and what they bring with them to the classroom. Our unconscious mind regularly sends us communication in the form of dreams: it is an advantage to understand the meaning of these messages. As our subconscious sends us only constructive information about our existence, it […]
  • Types of Professional Evaluation in Language Education January 3, 2012
    Introduction Curriculum evaluation has become of increasing interest to educators and curriculum planners since the 1960s (Richards 200 I), and since then it has embraced various aspects of language programs. Evaluation has not only been defined in terms of the purposes it serves, but it has also been given a central role by professionals […]
  • Careers for Graduates of Online TESOL Courses January 3, 2012
    Many exciting opportunities await a qualified TESOL or Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, notes David Alexander. As the English language gains more and more prominence in the global community, the ability to communicate using it becomes more important. Expect that the demand for individuals with TESOL diploma courses to be greater […]
  • Alternative Careers: Health Care Administration January 3, 2012
    The modern health care business is a viable alternative for tired TEFLers: full of doctors, nurses, as well as technicians who all have to work in an efficiently running workplace. Consequently, health care administrators center their work on the decision making aspects of medical facilities. Online colleges which deliver a health care administration degree […]
  • Alternative careers: public administration December 22, 2011
    The alternative careers series continue with an investigation into public administration. For disillusioned TEFLers, the career option of public administration is a realistic alternative. Public administration is concerned with the accomplishment and the regulation of public policy throughout the diverse branches of government. Public administrators oversee […]
  • Promoting EFL Speaking Activities in the Class: Teacher’s Roles December 9, 2011
    What Is “Teaching Speaking”? What is meant by “teaching speaking” is to teach EFL learners to: Produce the English speech sounds and sound patterns Use word and sentence stress, intonation patterns and the rhythm of the foreign language. Select appropriate words and sentences according to the proper social setting, audience, situation and subject matter. Org […]

Learning the Local Lingo

Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa explains the benefits of learning the language of the country you’re teaching in.

When moving to another country, learning the language can mean adjusting to the lifestyle or remaining an outsider. There are several ways to learn a foreign language, just take a look at the ideas below.

Books with CDs
There are lots of books that come with CDs in order to learn the language. You can play the CDs on your way to work. Just remember to repeat the phrases aloud.

Once you get a handle on the language, watching TV or movies. If possible, put closed captioning on as well, that way you can listening and read the words. If you don’t understand what was said, you might be able to read it and then understand.

Listening to the radio, both the news and songs will also help you get more accustomed to the language and its accents. And don’t forget about emailing, forums, newspapers, and chatting. Find someone who speaks the language you want to learn and try chatting or exchanging emails. Reading forums is a nice way to learn slang and casual conversation. You could also try joining a chat room in the local language and talk about things that interest you. Reading the newspaper whether the printed version or online is a great way to learn formal speech.

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Language partners
These are a great way to meet the locals. Try to find someone with your same level, but in English. Go out and have a coffee and spending half the time talking in English and half the time talking in the language you’re trying to learn. Or, you could find another foreigner and just spend the entire time trying to talk in the target language. You can talk about family, local news, or just practise reading aloud. Remember to correct each other’s pronunciation.

Putting up little notes all over the house can help you learn about daily items. For example, on the door, write the word for door, on the mirror, do the same. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to name all the things around you.

Practise, practise, practise
Don’t give up. At first, it can be difficult to learn a language, but then you’ll get a grasp on it. You’ll find that you might reach a plateau after a while, but keep at it and you’ll find yourself learning more and more.

Read aloud
Just looking at the words in your books won’t help you when you have to have a conversation. Practise reading aloud in the target language. After a while, you’ll notice that the words come out faster, you’ll have less of an accent, and it will also increase your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.

Stop translating
Although it may seem easier to think in English and then translate to the target language, it’s way too confusion, takes a long time, and some things simply don’t translate. Make a point of thinking in the language you’re using.

You’re getting there!
With a bit of time and effort, you’ll be able to make a lot of practise in the language you’re trying to learn and this will help you adjust more to your host country and open up a whole new world.

About the author

Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa is the creator and writer for TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List. She enjoys answering people’s questions about TEFLing and Peru.

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