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  • The worst ELT interview questions… and how to answer them March 12, 2012
    Some friends of Naturegirl123 were talking about interview questions that they got. Here are some difficult ones to answer and suggested answers. What religion are you?/ Are you X religion? This could be a legit question if you’re applying to a religious school. If you have the same religion as the school, simply say […]
  • Invoice factoring as a way of financing your language school March 12, 2012
    You’re looking into alternative ways to keep the finances in order in your burgeoning language school. Why not consider invoice factoring? Please don’t think of invoice factoring as a loan because it’s actually something quite different to that: it is more correctly defined as the acquisition of a financial asset. What does that mean? […]
  • Language Classes… Heat Up Careers! March 9, 2012
    Whether you love the snow or can’t wait until the warmer days of spring, this is a time of year when we all start to get a little stir-crazy, suggests Charlotte Evans. Winter was fun back in December but now the cold temperatures and extra layers of clothing are starting to feel a bit […]
  • Learning and Communicative Strategies March 6, 2012
    Introduction Communicative strategies are systematic techniques employed by a speaker to express his meaning when faced with some difficulty and the difficulty here refers to the speaker’s inadequate command of the language used in the interaction (Faerch & Kasper, 1983:16). On the other hand, the term learning strategies has been defined as “the higher- […]
  • Optimizing Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) March 6, 2012
    Technology transforms virtually all human pursuits, notes Michael G. Hines. In the field of education, the use of audiovisual aids, computers, and telecommunication devices has radically altered classroom dynamics. For ESL and TFL practitioners, the possibilities being opened up by technology are highly promising, with the currently accepted practices alread […]
  • 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 […]

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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