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Teaching and learning languages intrigues me. I have always considered languages to be a bridge to understanding someone else.
For me, a bilingual child that under the age of six learned a third language to go with the first two ones I already knew, learning languages has never been a big deal, it was and is, part of life. All these three languages were immediately taken into use in the form of spoken language.
It might well be that there are right answers and wrong answers in a written exam, but what counts IRL (in real life) is that one has the motivation to aim towards communication and understanding. And while trying to reach communication, there has to be laughter, fun, and no fear of errors. Errors are an inevitable part of the learning process. Errors lead us to success. It is what you don’t know that is to be learned.
Evaluation can be a tricky field. In Finnish schools language skills are most commonly evaluated through the evaluation of writing, reading and listening skills. Sometimes, much depending on the choices of the language teacher, there might be an oral exam where a student can show his or her communication skills or if the teacher chooses not to have an oral exam there is none.
I argue that the ability to speak a language and to communicate by speaking the language learned has to be taught, learned and evaluated. I am not alone with this opinion, for example the results of the Karvi research done year 2018 on the English skills of the Finnish 7th graders point to the direction that learners would profit of more diverse teaching, learning and evaluation methods.
Speaking and communication are an essential part of expressing oneself. Without the ability and confidence to speak the learned language there has not actually occurred much language learning at all.
There used to be a time when almost every school had a language lab with headphones, microphones and the possibility to record and to listen your own speech.
Today’s language lab can be found in every student’s pocket. Nothing is easier than recording one’s own speech. It is done daily in every app that records speech. Why not take good use of the technology and take it as a part of modern language learning and language teaching?
Feel free to practice your pronunciation with the following game:
Practise Pronunciation OTG 8 p.6