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6 Fun Ways to Practice a New Language Outside the Classroom

6 Fun Ways to Practice a New Language Outside the Classroom

For high school students, learning a new language can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. While classroom instruction is crucial, speaking, listening, and comprehension skills can be enhanced by practicing a new language outside the classroom. This blog article will introduce five fun ways for high school students to practice their language abilities independently! We will provide you with all the resources you need to advance your language learning-- from watching TV series and movies, to participating in language exchange activities. So, let's dive in and discover some exciting ways to practice your language skills outside of the classroom!
1. Watch TV Shows and Movies

Watching television shows and movies is an excellent and accessible way to immerse yourself in and practice a new language. While improving your comprehension, you will also learn about a country’s culture. If you just started learning the language, something as simple as a children’s show or a familiar movie you have already seen in your native language can assist you in understanding the plot and dialogue. After you’re familiar with the language, you can search for a more advanced TV show or movie. You can search for existing content on streaming platforms such as Netflix, and Hulu, or find a country’s national television service for ideas when you’re learning the language.

Here are a few popular options for some commonly learned languages:

  • Spanish: Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), Coco, Valeria
  • French: La Mante, Call My Agent!, The Intouchables, Amélie, The Adventures of Tintin
  • German: Dark, Babylon Berlin, Goodbye Lenin!, Run Lola Run
  • Mandarin: To Live (活着), Ip Man, Still Life (三峡好人)
  • Japanese: Princess Mononoke, Tokyo Story, Belle, Spy x Family, One Piece
  • Korean: Parasite, Train to Busan, Itaewon Class, Café Minamdang, Tomorrow
  • Latin: While there are not many TV shows or movies in Latin, there are many classic works of literature, such as “The Aeneid” by Virgil and “De Bello Gallico” by Julius Caesar, that are often studied by students learning Latin.

Remember that the goal is not to understand everything at once, but to expose yourself to the language as much as possible. So, don’t be afraid to pause and rewind, take notes on new vocabulary, or even watch the same content multiple times to reinforce your learning.

2. Listen to Music and Podcasts to Learn a New Language

Listening to music and podcasts in the foreign language you are learning is a fun way to practice listening and speaking skills, since you will be singing along with your favorite songs. Since music and podcasts are written and spoken by native speakers, you will be exposed to cultural trends, references, and accents that won’t be in a textbook. By doing this, you will gain a deeper insight into the culture of the language you are learning and become more fluent in it. Additionally, music has been shown to enhance learning and memory, so listening to songs can be great memory aids, helping you to remember grammar points or vocabulary words.

Podcasts are also an excellent resource for foreign language learners. Many podcasts in different languages cover various topics, from news and current events to entertainment and pop culture. Foreign podcasts may be challenging for beginners, because the hosts speak too fast for you, or use more complicated vocabulary. Therefore, podcasts designed for language learners, especially with online transcripts, may be a good place to start. Even for more complex podcasts, having a transcript to read can help you follow along and understand the content more easily. You can also listen to podcasts at different speeds to challenge yourself and improve your listening comprehension.

3. Play Language Learning Games

Playing language-learning games is a great way to practice language skills while having fun. There are many language-learning games available online, such as word and phrase-matching games, crossword puzzles, and language quizzes. In addition, language-learning apps offer interactive language lessons, allowing you to practice your language skills through various games and activities such as quizzes, flashcards, and word scrambles.

Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning games for any level. Language learners can spend as little as five minutes learning new vocabulary and taking interactive lessons. The game employs a variety of exercises, including matching, translation, and speaking to help you practice your language skills. Quizlet is another platform for language-learning games that can aid you in practicing your language skills. These games utilize flashcards and quizzes to help you memorize vocabulary and grammar rules. You can create your own flashcards or use those created by other users.

In addition to language learning games, many websites can help you advance your language learning process. We will highlight some of the websites here, but you can check out a full list of websites here.

Babbel: Babbel is a German subscription-based language-learning app and e-learning platform. Language learners can sign up for the Babbel Live Subscription, where you will have access to live virtual classes taught by language teachers with flexible scheduling. By subscribing to this service, you can access all Babbel Online lessons. Babel also offers app subscriptions that provide you with bite-sized lesson content.

Living Language: Living Language provides language learning resources and platforms for 20+ languages, either online courses or via their developed products. They also have specialty series for languages in the context of business, job, or quick learning, or traveling. Living Language also offers a Free Resources section that provides language-specific PDFs useful to travelers or anyone looking to build vocabulary in a language they’ve already studied.

Aralia Education Technology: Aralia is an online platform that connects students and teachers worldwide through small groups and 1-on-1 live online tutoring. Our instructors provide students with very personalized education while helping them explore areas of personal interest and master languages. Aralia offers language learning programs to help students develop or refine their Spanish, French, or Latin skills. Aralia’s language teachers are recognized in their field or currently teach at top US high schools and colleges/universities. Aralia’s language courses allow students to preview an upcoming high school class, improve their GPA, or take their academic language learning beyond what is available at their high school.

4. Participate in Language Exchange Programs

Participating in language exchange programs is an excellent way to practice your language skills with native speakers and to gain first hand exposure to the culture and customs of the countries where the language is spoken. Many language exchange programs are available online to help you find language partners, along with local language exchange groups. Language learning doesn’t have to be done alone; by connecting with other language learners at a similar level, you can practice speaking with others and gain confidence in your language skills.

Online language exchange programs, such as HelloTalk, allow you to connect with language partners and practice speaking, listening, and writing skills. These apps offer various features like chats, voice calls, video calls, and translation tools to facilitate communication between language partners. You can also find language exchange groups on social media platforms such as Facebook; these are often organized by language learners and native speakers who share a common language interest.

Local language exchange groups are another great way to practice language skills in a casual and relaxed environment. These groups often meet regularly in person to practice speaking with native speakers or just hang out. You can find language exchange groups through local community centers, language schools, or online forums. By attending language exchange groups, you will practice speaking skills, make friends, and learn more about culture.

5. Reading articles, novels, or comics in the language you are learning

Reading articles, novels, or comics in the language you are learning is a great way to improve your language skills outside the classroom. As you read, you will encounter new words and phrases, which can help you to expand your vocabulary and grammar skills. Additionally, by looking up unfamiliar words in a dictionary, you can learn not only their meanings, but also how they are used in context. This can help you to improve your grammar skills by exposing you to the correct use of verb tenses, prepositions, and sentence structure.

Reading in your target language can also help you to improve your comprehension skills. As you read, you will begin to understand more of the language, and this can help you to follow conversations more easily. You will also learn to recognize the patterns and structures of the language, making it easier to understand and learn. Moreover, if you ever feel overwhelmed with learning a language through audio alone, reading provides a much slower and more methodical approach, which might be better suited for some learners.

6. Travel to a Country Where the Language is Spoken

Traveling to a country where your target language is spoken is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the language and culture! Even a short trip can allow one to practice speaking skills, learn more about the culture, and make new friends. It is crucial to try to speak the language as much as possible when visiting a nation where it is widely used. Even though it can be difficult while one is still learning the language, this is the ideal approach for developing one’s abilities and confidence.

Remember to engage with the locals as much as possible. Try conversing with new people you meet, ordering food in restaurants, and asking for directions. Most people will appreciate your effort to learn their language, even if you make mistakes. You can try local foods, attend festivals and events, and visit historical sites and landmarks.

In conclusion, there are many fun and effective ways to practice your language skills outside the classroom. From watching TV shows and movies in the language you are learning, to participating in language exchange programs, incorporating these activities into your language learning routine can help you stay motivated, engaged, and excited about your progress. So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to brush up on your skills, try these five fun ways to practice your language skills! Practice makes perfect, and you can achieve your language learning goals with consistent effort and dedication.

Introduction to Latin

This course provides students with an introduction to Latin language. We will cover the pronunciation of Latin letters and introductory grammar, which will give students a quick start to reading short Latin texts.

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