Practice what you preach, right? For professional linguists and casual language learners, we preach reviewing early and reviewing often, so we’re take our advice and looking back on our year.
What have we been working on?
Transparent Language Online Updates
Where have we been working?
We serve schools, libraries, government agencies, and individuals around the world, so naturally our team does a bit of traveling.
This year our team traveled to 15 states to meet with and present to language teachers, professional linguists, librarians, and others who share our passion for language teaching and learning. Highlights included a very busy booth at ACTFL, the American Library Association, and Public Library Association Conferences (did you know most public libraries in Ohio, Iowa, Tennessee, and many libraries in other states offer free access to Transparent Language Online?)
What’s been on our minds?
How to Learn and Teach Language More Efficiently
Whether you are a professional linguist or just a casual learner, it can be hard to make time for studying and practicing a language. That’s why we put a lot of thought and research into how we present and teach language.
This year, we’ve been thinking about how to teach alphabet more efficiently, so learners can get to “the good stuff” faster and maintain that early motivation that learners feel. We believe integrated, content-agnostic alphabet learning achieves exactly that.
Balancing time spent on vocabulary vs. grammar has also been front of mind. Ideally, every learner should strive to build both a large vocabulary and a strong foundation of grammar knowledge. But where to begin? Studies have shown that, of all the factors contributing to language proficiency, vocabulary size is by far the single most significant factor, accounting for anywhere from 50% to 70% of proficiency gains depending on the language and the skill being studied. In 2019, we’ll be making improvements to our Learned Vocabulary system to help learners build—and maintain—their vocabulary.
Of course, vocabulary alone is insufficient. In our language training programs, we continue to have students practice and master vocabulary outside of class, arriving in class prepared to use and expand on that vocabulary through contextual, communicative activities.
Emphasizing Language Education in Schools
In a STEM-focused world, we’ve been thinking about the need to emphasize languages as a relevant, critical skill for young learners. We kicked off 2018 with a blog post called Sorry STEM, Google just made the case for more foreign language education, which has been circulated to more than 100,000 members of the language community this year. We cited a Google employee study that measured the most important qualities in Google’s top leaders—surprisingly (or perhaps not), the most valued skills were not tech skills but soft skills like communication, empathy, critical thinking, and understanding others’ perspectives. Those are all byproducts of language learning!
It’s no secret that the US faces a serious language deficit, which may be worsened by the national emphasis on STEM in the last decade. As an enabler of success in STEM fields, we are pushing for more parity between language and STEM in schools.
Ready to learn with us in 2019? Find out more about what we do at Transparent Language and how our online platforms can help you reach your language goals.