Written to the song: Say My Name — David Guetta, Bebe Rexha, J. Balvin

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” — Flora Lewis

Rabat, Morocco.

It is my last official month as a teacher (for the time being), and I am going through waves of happiness and sadness. Excitement for what the future holds mixed with a bit of sadness that I am leaving this amazing career. While reflecting on the last two years of teaching over 250 students, I have gained such fascinating insight regarding optimal language learning at a young age. Whether you are learning a language, teaching a language or simply interested, these are some of the activities that I found really to improve the way students learn, love and take risks with language.

  1. Finding meaning for language learning. Enthusiasm and having an understanding behind the reasoning and benefits of learning a language will (hopefully) motivate people to understand why they are learning it. We accomplished this by having active conversations about the brain benefits of language learning, seeing which other regions in the world speak French, and researching the relationship between French and words in different languages. While making language trees comparing words in various Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian and Portuguese), students began to understand how having a basis in one of these languages can help you have a basic understanding in another. It gives you the ability to learn these languages much easier, and connects you to the world.

Unlike adults, kids cannot “fill-in-the-blanks” with language learning. They cannot read a text they semi-understand and connect the dots to figure out the general meaning, the opposite happens — they freak out and shut down, known as an “amygdala hijack”. Despite teaching language, the best thing teachers can do is teach the skills of focus, organization, and persistence for students to overcome adversity. You don’t learn a language in 5 minutes — but there comes a moment through actively practicing and setting time aside to study, where it just clicks! Language makes sense and the hard work pays off. So have fun and find meaning to your teaching and learning.

What my class came up with during a quick reflection actively!

Author of “Q & A a Day for Travelers”. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-frenkel/

Author of “Q & A a Day for Travelers”. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-frenkel/