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Language Learning Masterclass – Day 2

the concept of blended learning

Masterclass Day 2: Read Full Transcript

Thank you. Do you want to answer the question, Laura?
Yeah, it’s to answer your question, it’s. It’s a shame because it’s a normal part of language
development as well that kids do get a little bit I wouldn’t say confused between the languages, but
you know it takes them a a while sometimes to recognise that there are two distinct things. In
terms of language acquisition and development that I think it, you know it’s a shame and it’s good
to push on beyond that because sometimes kids do get mixed up and they might even add for
example try and add like a French conjugaison onto the English word. And as long as you aren’t
doing that yourself as the model as the parent as the model speaker they will learn that it’s not
correct. It’s even learning a first language. Sometimes kids will say things wrong and so you know,
like the young kids, they might say I swim instead of I swam. That’s a really normal part of language
development. Sometimes they’ll say that and they might even say it correctly then regress and say
it incorrectly again, it’s just part of of language development whether you’re learning one language
or two languages, language learning isn’t like a one linear going up, always getting better and
better. Sometimes we could do good, we do well, and sometimes the kids will go down a bit and
up and then the more they they explore the language or languages and the bilingual, the more
that they’ll learn and the more they’ll be able to put that into into two separate things in their
head. But no, it’s. I think it’s a shame to have stopped at five years old because you know it’s it’s
it’s stillso young and you can still, you know, kids do learn to to separate between the two of them,
Sasha, he’s bilingual. He speaks pretty well.
You know, I was, I was going to say we can we can like give you our own little idea on it from, you
know, our experience and obviously at the Academy we specialise in bilingual language
programmes for young children, but Laura was brought bilingually. So you’ve got like her opinion
and it, you know, it’s the real thing. And why don’t we ask Sasha? Because Sasha was also brought
to bilingually with obviously English as the main language because he was brought up in the UK
and so French for him was the minority language because he’s my son and I was the only one to
speak French to him, although it’s no coincidence that we say mother tongue. Interestingly
enough, the first word he said he spoke very early, that goes against a lot of theories and the fact
that bilingual bilingual children speak later in life because they have to adapt between both
languages, that’s not actually true.
That’s true, yeah.
Sasha started speaking when he was only about 13/14 months. He spoke very well. At 18 months
old, he hasn’t stopped speaking since, like his mother.
So Sasha, do you wanna tell us if? How you felt? About being brought to bilingual, if you’ve ever
been confused between both languages or anything like that, there is a preconception a lot of
people think children will be confused if they speak two languages. Just before Sasha gives us, you
know, accounts into his own experience, I just want to say I’ve had many, many families over the
years. People have moved. Like to the area here in the UK, saying to me we’ve been told by the
school to stop speaking in our language to the children, they are going to get confused. To me,
that’s lazy teaching. Because a lot of teachers think, well, you know, we don’t speak that language
or we
feel that the children will take longer to absorb the English language, to understand the grammar
and and and kind of, you know, be at the same level as the other children. I think it’s criminal not
to give children the gift of two languages whenever you can. So Sasha, would you like to tell us
about your own experience?
Yeah, sure. Personally, I’ve never had any sort of confusion between the languages. It’s definitely
never helped me back. If anything, it’s only given me advantages. My brain’s been opened up to so
many more words with the addition of the second language that it only helped me even in English. I
definitely agree with what my mum says about lazy teaching. I feel that like to blame a child’s like
first language development on the fact they can speak a second is extremely poor, and I think it has
absolutely 0 correlation. And and like I said previously, it will only give you an advantage and again
not to just sound like a broken record, but like my mum said as well, wherever you can to give your
children a second language you absolutely should and it can only it can only bring benefits.
Yeah, my daughter-in-law and my son, they live in San Francisco. So that her language will obviously
be English first and foremostbut my daughter-in-law is French Swiss and her parents speak French.
And so, you know, she wants she’s very keen on her learning.
Yeah, definitely they are.
I can tell her if she’s if she’s pretty familiar with how it kind of works in the household cause her
situation is very likely to be similar to mine. I’m very I’m passionate about this. I’ve written bilingual
language booksfor children. And so if she wants my take on how to make it work, I’m very happy to
pick up the phone and have a chat with her about it. It isn’t, you know, it isn’t a walk in the park. It’s
a real challenge when you are the minority language to persist, and you need. A real discipline. I’ve
always found that. It was easier for me to speak to my children in English than it was in French. But
when I see them now at the age of 16 and nearly 19, swapping from one language to another, and
not just that, being confident anywhere we go, we went to Rome for a weekend and they have a go
and they know Italian. There wasn’t a restaurant where they didn’t say hello. Thank you. Can I have
an Italian? Just because they have that confidence to try to, you know, Sasha is applying for
university and he’s been asked do you speak another language fluently? There’s no disadvantage. I
think I think the whole thing is wonderful.
Fabulous. Thank you. You’re welcome.
Ladies cause I think we only have ladies apart from Sasha today. Thank you very much for joining us
for day two of your French master class. So for those of you who were not here yesterday, very,
very briefly, my name is Natalie. I’m the owner of the VICI Language Academy, and I am running
this session today with Laura, who is our manager in our French office, we have physical premises
and Academy here in the South of England and we also have an office in France that Laura runs.
Now, yesterday we talked about two little tricks like it’s not a word I particularly like, but two ways
of tricking your brain into learning French. You talked about analysing your personality in a very
colourful way and how that can influence the way that. You absorb and retain and reuse the
language that you are learning. We also looked at the type of learner that you are. Are you more
visual? Auditory, kinesthetic. Today I wanna take this to yet another level and talk to you about
another strategy which combined with what we’ve covered yesterday is or should help you even
further. So before I start, I just want to go back a little bit on what I spoke about yesterday in terms
of my own story and how I fell into language education by accident because I didn’t have a teaching
degree and because I didn’t have the necessary knowledge or experience or I had never learned
how the brain works when it comes to a foreign language. I had to learn it on the job, so I read a
a lot of books and a lot of research, but ultimately everything happened practically in the
classroom with my student. And I felt that I had to really give an awful lot. I had to listen to them, I
had to I had to really listen to my gut feeling and go I think they’re enjoying this, I think they’re a
bit bored here. I witnessed their body language to see if they were enjoying what I was doing, or
perhaps not so much. And because of that, I started to think about lots of different ways that I
could serve my lesson on a little platter. What can I serve that they are going to enjoy tasting and
want more of? And I think that the technique that Laura and I are gonna speak to you about today
was what I was doing 20 years ago cause that’s when I started in 2002.. Can I just ask everyone to
mute themselves, if that’s OK, please. Thank you. So I think that’s what I was doing without having
a label on it without realising that it was one particular language teaching strategy. So as I also
shared with you yesterday, I ran my own language tutoring agency for six years, and then I grew a
little bit frustrated by the limitations that teaching in schools or teaching in people’s homes
presented to me. I didn’t feel that it was the right environment. School meant that learning a
foreign language was all about it being a school subject rather than it being a serious hobby, a
lifestyle, something that’s gonna give you confidence, something that’s gonna open doors for you.
It was all about the exam or the curriculum, not so much about the student. It was very student
centred. Teaching in people’s homes and then the dogs barking and then the mum’s cooking and
then dad comes home and everyone starts to have a chat and it gets disrupted. And I just thought
this is not really working, so I’m working very hard on finding out what resources I should use for
my students. Then I’m kind of analysing the environment. In which they need to be in order to
learn best and all of this, this little bland meant that I finally, after you know many hours and many
months and many years managed to put together a blend of different learning resources, different
learning techniques, different environments that worked very well for my students, and I really
then started to see tangible results. What we’re going to talk to you about today is called blended
learning. And it’s exactly what it says on the 10. It’s a blend of things that you’ve put together to
make your learning very efficient. Now blended learning in the last few years has become fairly
popular. Interestingly enough, it has become popular through the use of technology. In language
learning for many, many years and and and and decades, people would say there is no way that
you can learn a foreign language without being in a room interacting with a human. Then apps
came along and computers and computer programmes started to be extremely popular and people
went ohh, that’s not so bad after all. Could I use this? Could I use that on the subject of app?
Which is a question I get asked a million times a day and should I use them and how do they work
and are they good? We can do an entire session on this, if you like. So, blended learning came
about because of technology. And if you look at the strict sense of blended learning or the kind of
classic definition, it will say it is a blend or a mix between technology and human interaction or you
know, a classroom setup for your language lessons. I think this is a little bit too simplistic. As far as
I’m concerned, I think that blended learning or its definition, or the variety of resources means that
we can push this definition way further. To me it can be formal lessons or learning, informal
learning, structured, unstructured. It can be obviously virtual, it can be guided, it can be
self-studies, it can be something that’s really structured, something that’s completely unstructured.
Actually, I was gonna say I can give you a list of all the different blends of learning that I can think
of that I think are extremely useful and that I’d love you to think about. And I’ll put that in our
Facebook group when we finish this class today, an entire list to really make you think about what
it could be. When I sent you the e-mail yesterday, I said can I ask you to think about something that
you have recently learned and learned well and that you’ve been able to create memories of
whatever it was. Have you thought about this and how did you actually learn to master whatever it
was? Have you learned a brand new recipe? I a little bit ashamed to say that being French and very
French at that, I do not know how to cook, but bourguignon, which is probably in
the top five of the lovely French recipes that everyone knows. And I said to a friend the other day,
I’m sure my boys would love that, they love me, they would love mum to cook. You know, I really
thought about learning to do that. I am not particularly good at reading instructions. Instructions
don’t mean a lot
to me. I have to read instructions several times to understand and I get quite muddled up. That’s
how my brain works. So my children in their youth and wisdom said mum, why don’t you watch a
YouTube video? And I was like ohh of course, so I watched a YouTube video and suddenly realised
that this was great for me. It was very lively. I felt someone was talking to me. I could do it while
the person was talking to me. Probably was nowhere near as good as that guy on the video, but I
was able to do it. So can you think about something that you have learned recently, if it’s
something about a foreign language, it’s a bonus, but I’ll just use, you know, a recipe, anything that
you could share with us. Ohh, I like that I’ve just completed a Tai Chi teacher training course and
found initially that it was too formal. I’m loving that you’re saying this because in my list of blends
there is formal and informal as well. It all fell into place when we start doing workshops, more
visual stuff and things I could actually do in practise. So Usha, there is a chance that you are a
kinesthetic learner. Yeah. So you need to do in order to learn. Absolutely. I think for me, what’s
really really interesting is that if you look at what we’ve covered yesterday, think about your
personality with those colours that we looked at and think about the type of learner that you are,
such as yourself, most probably being a kinesthetic learner and, think about all these different
blends of learning a foreign language. If you combine them together, that’s the real magic potion,
like you will be unstoppable. There’s nothing that you can do when it comes to acquiring a new
foreign language, because everything is into place for you. It’s very personalised. Now, you know, I
talked about if let’s give examples, if you are thinking about your own French studies, so it could be
that you have non scheduled activities. So a podcast, there’s a podcast in France that you really
like. But this is not something that you schedule to listen to. You might wanna listen to it when
you’re in the car, you might wanna listen to it when you’re in the supermarket doing your shopping.
It’s not scheduled but it is going to immerse you in the language on a very regular basis, something
that you are going to be really quite familiar with. But then you know that you need to be some
schedule and you need to have, sorry, some schedule and structured activity or activities into your
language programme to really boost your level. So that’s where your lessons can happen when you
feel that you need something that is quite, you know, structured, but maybe a little bit more
entertaining. You might go to a nice conversation class with a glass of wine that can be very
beneficial, but that’s very informal. And by the way, alcohol works wonders for bilingualism, it’s not
me saying that it is science, not too many, but a couple of glasses will really help boost your
language skills and your confidence inhibitions. Go out the window. It’s all about this. Then you can
go. OK, so I’ve done some instruction stuff. I’ve done some formal and informal stuff. I really need
to figure out what really is the difference between passive composing and imperfect. This time, I
need something formal and I need something structured and this time I need human interaction
because I’m not doing it on my own. It’s a little bit like having an entire menu of techniques of
resources, of people, of technology that you can use and pick from for you in your quest to be.
Very proficient in French. Does that make sense so far? So Sarah said I do use Duolingo each day
for four languages. Wow. To get used to hearing new things. Been doing this for six months. Sarah,
that is super interesting. Would love to hear more about your experience on that perhaps? We
have, I believe is in days 7, we have a Q&A and we are really inviting everyone who’s been taking
part in this master class to share a lot of their experiences and we can be there to comment, you
know, advise or help you a little bit further. So it would be really interesting to to hear this now. I’m
going to pass on to and I’m gonna ask now, Laura, to converse with you and tell you a little bit
more about blended learning. The one little thing I want you to be careful of is I am the big and fat
biggest fan there is of blended learning. As I said, I started it 20 years ago. It didn’t have a label. I
didn’t really know what I was
doing. When Laura came to the Academy for a job interview about 2 1/2 years ago now, we just
ended up, we got on really well., and then we just ended up talking about blended learning and we
found a huge common interest and we just chatted, chatted, chatted and talked about loads of
ways that we were going to improve our language programme. So we are huge fans, it absolutely
100% works. It will make you more motivated, it will really boost your engagement and it will really,
really help you with the language comprehension. Just one little thing, be a little careful about how
it is presented to you. Blended learning has proven to increase the learner’s confidence. Why?
Because it’s personalised. There is so much variety that people never get bored. There’s always
something for them. There’s always something new. There’s always something to spark their
interest. And really, that’s where your language learning should be like, because we learn a foreign
language throughout our lives, you know, even our own mother tongue but it can be a little bit of a
mess if it’s not done well. Here at the Academy, when we put language programmes together for
our students, be in groups or one-on-one, be very careful about the blended learning methods
that we use. We never actually decide on the techniques, technologies, you know, resources or any
other things that we’re going to use before we’ve analysed your personality that we spoke about
yesterday or the type of learner that you are, the level that you are currently at or where you want
to go, so just a little word of caution on that blended learning is amazing and it absolutely 100%
works. But it must be done well. It must be done in a structured way, otherwise it can just really be
very messy and confusing, and you could, under being fairly overwhelmed because you’re using all
these different things and you’re not really getting to the desired result. I’m going to ask you,
Laura, to now take over. I’m just reading in the chat that Lynn makes a good point. Is it possible to
ask everyone to put all the little messages in the chat public so we can all see them because I think
they’re all extremely. So Sarah said I would say that you miss out on the accent using the app. I’m
I’m I’m very happy to talk to you about apps and how we feel about it or how? They should be used
et cetera. Perhaps we can have a really short Q&A at the end of this session, if that’s OK with you.
I’d be more than happy to share my thoughts on that. But for now, I’m gonna ask Laura to give you
her take on it. As I just said, I know that she’s a big fan of blended learning, we also work on
Erasmus plus programmes. What Erasmus plus programmes are, they are training programmes for
teachers throughout Europe. And we have an accreditation from the Council of Europe and we
deliver some of these courses and Laura worked on an entire course to deliver to teachers on
blended learning. So I love talking about it. But she’s way more of an expert than I am Laura, over to
Thank you. Thank you very much. So just to really touch on what Natalie has said then from a, you
know from a research standpoint as well, blended learning is so, so important and it has really
been proven to increase your motivation, your engagement and your immersion in the language.
So one of the reasons that it is such an important part of language learning notice that we said you
know a part of it because you do need the sessions with coaches or with teachers to be able to
practise the language as well. But then having a separate part where you are focusing on working
on your own and with other resources, it’s really important. So, partly because you’ll be in a lot of
the blended learning that we offer you’ll get a huge amount of resources that are very authentic.
So this means they’re resources that aren’t made for learners in particular. But that is made for
native speakers of the language and then the scaffolding, we call it so the things the structure, that
is around those articles, those videos is then created for learners. So it’s to help you understand
native language and to understand a language that is very authentic and used by native speakers
for native speakers, because that’s the goal in learning the language, it’s great to be able
to understand what my Duolingo owl is saying to me, but people don’t speak like that in real life, so
really, it’s really about the authentic and secondly, is that everything is contextual and we’re
blended learning if we’re looking at different resources that provide us with articles and magazines,
with podcasts, to be able to learn, it is contextual. So this is really important when we are young
we learn our first language and by the time or multiple languages as we grow up, as we discussed
earlier. Everything is in context. We aren’t just given flash cards and sentences to translate. It’s all
given in context, and that is hugely important to help you learn that and the final thing is that it is
meaningful. That means you are reading the sample a little article from one of the magazines that
we have or you are watching a video that is in your target language and you are gaining some kind
of meaning, some sense from the resource as well. So it’s not just looking at the the language that
is there, but also bringing something meaningful into your life as well, and that really are three of
the central pillars as to how we learn. So just to touch on another thing that Natalie really said was
that the IT can get a bit of a mess if it isn’t structured. There are so, so, so many different ways that
we can incorporate landed landing into language programmes. There are so many different
resources that are available to you, if you just go ahead. Everything you don’t know where to go,
you know where to start. It is going to get a little bit messy. That is why it really does need to be
structured and guided by somebody as well guided by experts. So I personally I’ve worked in quite
a few different teaching environments internationally, and one of the things that I really, really love
about being here at VICI as well, is to what the extent to which the blended learning that we have
integrated into our programmes. That means that it isn’t just we have online teaching and then we
have the different resources you can have on this side is that everything is merged together,
everything is blended together. So this means that for myself as a coach, when I’m teaching
English, when I’m teaching French, I’m very aware of what my students are doing. In their blended
learning, it’s me that’s guiding them, that’s helping them. Sometimes they’ll do extra things that
they want to do on their own as well, which is great, it’s always good to do extra but I’ve always
helped them to understand what they need to work on what skills they need to work on, what kind
of topics they need to work as well. So it really is, you know, being able to explore the language
with all of the different resources that are possible, but while still being guided and helped by
somebody who is an expert in language acquisition and helping you learn how to learn language as
well. So this really important thing is that the thing everyone presses on is the importance of the
relation between blended learning between the resources you have and between the in class
things you have, everything needs to be relevant and combined to help you increase your learning
as well if you spend in class doing something, for example you’re working just on a topic with your
coach and then afterwards your blended learning, you are just for example looking at grammar all
the time. Just doing something because you’re not quite sure how to do it on your own. How to do
how to sort of structure your own language. It’s gonna be a lot harder. Whereas if your coach has
worked on a specific topic and then they advise you, OK, actually in this video watch today we
heard quite a lot of for example the present perfect. They suggest that you work on building the
skills that we’ve started to touch on in class. Sometimes it can be the other way around as well in
blended learning. We have some that would have flipped classroom. So this means that your coach
will provide you something to do before the class, and then what you do in the class will build on
that as well. So as you can see, there are many different ways that we can integrate this within your
learning. This is all great and nothing I have said a lot, but just to give you some kind of concrete
examples of really what we’re talking about because you know that’s why you’re here, That’s what
you wanna know. I wanna speak to you about 1 client I had recently. He’s a man. He’s in his 20s and
he said he was very academic. At school, he kind of just wasn’t excelling in any subjects and in
particular languages were just over his head.
In the French school system, you often have to do 2 languages, English and another language. For
him, it was just too much. It wasn’t, you know, he wasn’t very academic and he really struggled.
However, once he got into the working world, he really started to to grow professionally and to
excel. However, now he’s been told that, you know, in order to progress, he does need to learn a
little bit more english he does need to have at least the basic skills. He came to us in a bit of a
stress panic. He didn’t you know, he knew that he said I’m not good at languages I can’t learn
English. I’ve tried. I’ve tried it at school. I cannot do it. I’m sure there are lots of people that can
really deal with that as well, and really relate to that. So I would. Like to tell you now that he is very
capable of holding a conversation in English and he is really excited about his work in that place as
well. So what we did when he arrived is that OK, we now have to help you. So we did all of the
stuff we looked at yesterday. We really looked at his personality and colour, we really looked at his
loss of learning and he really found that he is much more of a yellow he wants to do things that are
fun and he wants to do things that aren’t too structured. He’s not a blue. He doesn’t want to have
everything written down on the rules, which is very much what we learned at sports school. So
what we did was we really found the mix of blended learning resources that would be best suited
to his learning. So we used a specific platform that we have called Lingua Attack and this is
something that has a lot of authentic videos, and then as I said earlier, that has sort of a scaffolding
around it to help them understand these videos. There was a lot of gamification, so this just means
games that are based around the language that you’ve heard in the video this was perfect. He felt
like he was just gonna because we have it. It’s on your phone as well. You have it as an app. So he
felt like he was just playing games on his phone. He loved it. And actually, he was like you know
what I’m actually doing 20/25 minutes of language learning a day just from being on my phone
instead of waiting for the metro or starting on his metro journey, he’s there doing his games, it’s
just such a better way of integrating it into his programme. For him, we really focused on things
that were very, very unique that were very fun that we gained, and focusing on the fluency rather
than focusing on some of the more grammatical rules. Whereas he said he’s not very academic, he
doesn’t enjoy reading long articles either, so we really focused on the resources that we could
provide to him with their help and for that saying and I’m happy to say that when we speak, when
he comes into class now, we begin always in English and he’s really capable of holding a
conversation on this by himself in English. So this is 1 way that we really take your personality to
provide you with the resources that are available and that are best for you. Another way I like to
talk to you about is someone a little bit different. So this is a lovely lady who is English learning
French like herself. She has always enjoyed French, she speaks a little French and she just really
wanted to bring herself to the next level. So she comes to us and she explains to us the issues that
she has, she would really like to learn. So she was very, very keen on all of the different things that
we had and especially we spoke to her about some of our technology related programmes. So for
example the applications and the websites that we have she was very interested, but a little bit
nervous to do with the technology. So we spent some time and we were exploring the different
options that we have but in the end it was the technology part of it was just a little bit too
complicated so she wasn’t that technologically savvy, she was a little bit older, so she hadn’t grown
up with it the technology was just adding an extra barrier that saw her was posing a little bit an
extra problem.
So what we did is we said doesn’t matter. We have so many resources, we subscribed her to a
bilingual magazine, a French English bilingual magazine, and she gets the the magazines delivered
to her door, weekly, monthly and then she gets to read them by herself. This lady said that she
loves to read already. So what we did was we kind of added into her little schedule at the end of
the day she sits down she has a cup of tea, a glass of wine maybe, and she reads an article. She
just looks at it. They have again this scaffolding that I spoke about, so helping you understand the
authentic language, but with lots of different supports around it to help you understand the
grammar structures, help you understand the vocabulary, help you understand the meaning,
because that’s what we want. Language doesn’t exist without meaning. We need to understand the
meaning before anything else. So now, a couple times a week, she sits down. As I said, with a cup
of tea, glass of wine. She reads an article too, and then after we discuss what she’s read as well,
but often she’ll send me the picture of the article that she’s read and I can pack classes based
around that article for her or for example if there’s something that she’s struggled a little bit more
with the meaning, then I can use this and integrate it into my own teaching for her. So this is a
really, really excellent way of showing you how blended learning needs to have everything
together. Everything needs to be connected. So communicating, you know, having that opportunity
to communicate with your coach and tell them what you have been working on, what you’ve
enjoyed working on, it’s really just an excellent way of really rounding everything out and making it
all very, very interconnect. So with this lady as well, so obviously as you can imagine, her friends
really improved because she was being exposed to a lot of authentic language, and secondly,
having a subscription to bilingual magazine like that was amazing for her French cultural
knowledge. She enjoys her holidays in France every summer, and she has even said that with the
magazine she’s learned a lot. more colourful language,a little bit of slang and some language that
is much more reflective of how it is spoken in France, which again isn’t necessarily something that
we find on these stand alone acts like Duolingo because we don’t have the the very authentic and
the very relevant language that we actually use in day-to-day life. So alongside the language part
she also had this sort of code language, slang and a lot of contextual knowledge as well, so she
really learned a lot about the culture of France. Read the articles on different French singers, which
then allowed her to go and explore on YouTube and find different French songs that she loved, this
added a whole new dimension to something from her learning just from something that she found
in the Magazine, which she absolutely love so this is really just to show you there are different
things. That we can do and with this lady we you know, we we found a solution that we we we
have to work for her and it wasn’t working exactly how much she wanted to which means that we
we switched it up and we found something that was better blended learning is not and it’s not an
approach where one-size-fits-all. Blended learning is something where we work very closely with
you, with skills that you have the skills that you wish to have and the interest and the type of
learner that you are. And then we create a very structured programme that is based around all of
those things that we know that are work for you. That means if you do find technology difficult, we
are going to waste time trying to put you in front of a technology, a computer that you struggle to
If you find that reading long articles, it’s just not for you because you don’t enjoy doing that in your
own time. We’re not going to find a subscription to a magazine, and if you read it every week, what
we do really is very, very personalised and very, really centred around you as the learner and that
really is the addiction. How does the learning work? So I just wanted to show you a little thing that I
have so obviously, as I said, we have a lot of different resources. So I hope you can see my screen.
Yep, excellent. So I just wanted to show you this little thing that I put together. So when you arrive
or when plants have a beautiful example, we like to give them an overview of the resources that
are available to them. So when I put together a comprehensive list there’s just a few different
things that we might have. For example, we have sort of different language events that we have,
we have content on Facebook homework that we’ve done at VICI, the bilingual magazine, different
types of blended learning approaches that we have. So what I’d like everyone to do is just have a
good look at what we have here on the board and see if there are, if there’s anything on here that
immediately speaks to you that you think, for example, I would be really interested in doing that,
whether that is reading a magazine, whether that is attending cultural events that are run or
whether that is using Lingua Attack, which is a video based platform so you can have a look and
maybe we can write in the chat if there is anything that you feel would be you know that really
sparks your interest, something that you really feel would be a big benefit to you as a learner and
then maybe we can discuss kind of why as well you think this would benefit you and we can even
link this back to what we did yesterday with the learning styles as well so chat if anyone has any
I really like this, Laura, because you’ve even mentioned the VICI learning diary. It really goes to
show how you can find lots and lots of you know options and variations, and lots of little tips to
help you with your language studies. What is the VICI Learning diary? Well, having been teaching
French for many, many, many years, I realised how long have we had it? Maybe four years 3/4.
Years I realised that we used to give our students a lovely folder, lovely VCI folder where they could
just put all their little resources for their classes, but there was no real structure so after a while I
used to look at all their notes and think this is a little bit of a mess like if they have to review their
notes later on, how do they actually think, OK, I’m going to revise this one, I’m going to do that. It’s
all a little bit messy so I thought, really, we shouldn’t give them a folder like that we should create
a notebook instruction notebook for them, which we called the Learning Diary as a matter of fact it
should bear with me because I have mine right here as well.
There it is. There it is. You know, there it is actually. I’ve got the desktop as well which I always use,
but I’ll show you. In a minute, but. So the learning diary, what we’ve done is we’ve created a
notebook with 100 pages for 100 lessons, so here you can write your notes here and there for each
class. And here you can decide either right at the end of the class during the class, or when you
review your notes maybe 24 or 40 hours later, again, very dependent on how you like to learn key
expressions, verbs, vocabulary. Think about two key expressions just two new verbs, and perhaps 2
new words that you would like to remember and you’d like that to be part of the French language
that you use on a regular basis. Don’t try and do any more, a little bit Noah’s Ark, you know, the
animals went two by two. That’s what we’re doing here. You know it needs to be a digestible chunk
of language, so two different key expressions, 2 new verbs, 2 new words. It doesn’t even have to
be two, but not much more than that. This way everything is really structured. You are focusing
your brain on what you want to try to remember and when you’ve had 50-60 lessons and you go
back, it’s very easy to revise your notes. It also means that you are asking your brain to focus on
the language that is important to you within any given language lesson about 60 to 70% will be
relevant to you. There’s probably 30 to 40% that you might never use a context in which you may
not be often even grammar points that at that time may not be so relevant to you. If you can
remember about 60 to 70% of your language class you’re a winner, definitely. So we’ve created
those little learning Diaries for those reasons, and this is also part of our blended learning method.
Another thing that we’ve got which we quite like are these like desktop pads and you know they’re
a little gadget we’ve created them and we had an open day, a language festival at the Academy
here last year, but they’re brilliant. I have one on my desk everyday and you know,
it’s like when will I attend my next language class? What I love most about my language learning
journey if none of our languages, what do I need to do today so you can definitely also use that for
a shopping list or anything else things to discuss with my language coach as you develop as a
language learner along your language learning journey. You will be thinking about it during the day
the more you immerse yourself in that language and the more you’ll start to question little things
or think about things during the right here write down what you want to discuss with your
language coach next time you’re in class. What verb have I come across today? It could be in a
lesson, it could be in a podcast, a new word. So obviously you don’t have to do that every day, but
having something like that means that the language is present, it is surrounding you all day and
every day. That is also part of the blended learning method. Thank you, Laura.
Thank you to Lynn as well, who? Says she loves these ideas. Thank.
You. Yeah, I didn’t see that.
Yeah, but no, exactly. And tell him what Matthew said as well. Anyone here is a visual learner as I
am? But you’ll see that my learning diary is full of colours to help me learn the different but here is.
saying what little grammar object pronouns in Spanish, so I have all of my little colours, which I
really feel is for me as a visual learner, is what helps me the most. So that’s the nice thing about
about all these results is as well we can really adapt them to your different learning styles that you
have and that we’ve helped to identify. And so I just want to have a look in the chat, some of the
things that we have a lot of people who say they enjoy the paper resources and magazines is very
popular. I agree with that. You know, technology is really a huge part of our everyday life.
Sometimes it’s nice to go back to paper. Sometimes it’s nice to have that physical in your hand and
for it to feel like something that you enjoy as well and for your learning to be reflective of things
that you do in your in your own time as well. If you enjoy reading books, if you enjoy reading
magazines, if you enjoy reading the newspaper, then the lovely part about lens lining is that you
can then do that and in your target language. So a lot of the sort of the younger teenagers that we
work with as well, especially they all a lot of them say to me, I want to be able to watch Netflix in
English. That’s a good ambition. You know something that they want to do so often, what we do is
we provide them with resources. That is working, especially on videos and TV shows and films, and
then with different learning resources based around that TV show and that is something they love
that they’re very motivated to do and something that I really enjoy because it’s essentially the
homework is to go and watch something on TV and watch Netflix and they love that you know I
don’t know that’s why you have two teenage boys, I’m sure you know what it’s like.
Can I interrupt you really quickly? You know when you talked about the magazine, and that’s when
I really wanted to emphasise earlier on about this idea of blended learning, not just being about
the resources that you use, the books, the technology, the people in the room with you or not. It is
also about, you know, is it formal, is it informal, is it structured, is it an instruction, is it scheduled?
Is it unscheduled? Reading a magazine could be used when you are learning French during your
your class time. I know that the Lady Laura mentioned earlier absolutely love that magazine. So I
know that now we are using the magazine as content for her language lessons but I also knew that
some students who don’t really want to use the magazine in the class when they use it at home
with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and that’s when the informal learning takes place. So it’s really
all these little ingredients that add to the bland talking about the bland. Alright. Do you have that
picture of the blend?
Yes, I did. Here we are.
Ohh, that’s my favourite picture. You know, like you for those of you who were here yesterday I said
I love analogy today we talked about a diet and having food allergies and how that can relate to
learning a foreign language. Today we’re talking about a bit of a smoothie in the blender to help
you to learn foreign languages, you know this is lighthearted. But it works, it truly is the little magic
potion that comes out of these beautiful pink blender.
Yeah. And it’s so true that, you know, just as when you’re making a smoothie, you can add in as
much as little of what you want. Yesterday, Natalie I had a meeting. I was actually making a
smoothie and I’m eating and this might sound weird. I love banana and spinach smoothies and
Natalie went why? If it’s spinach in a smoothie, enough of awful. It’s the same for learning. Some
people love the magazine, other people think no, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to read that,
so that’s just the thing about it that we can pick and we can add as much or as little as of different
things as you would as you would like and find the perfect combination for you as well no one
makes the perfect smoothie the first time round, sometimes it takes a lot of practise to find what’s
good for you and I also want to say that I’d like to go and we’ve got a little bit of time now we’ve
got 10 minutes left, so we can answer any of your questions. There are some really interesting
comments in the chat that I would like to go over. I’m just checking my notes to make sure I’ve got
the right, on day 7 which is Sunday, you’ll obviously, I mean you get daily emails from us to tell you
what’s happening, but on Sunday we are going to have a bit of a kind of personal linguistic
assessment for you, so anyone who is present, if you want to come to the table with your
personality, if you’re happy to share the kind of learner you are, where you’re acting young journey
where you want to go so we can say we think that’s what you need, we think you should do this.
We’re going to have a bit of a customised you know language blended menu for you that’s
happening on Sunday, just heads up on that so. Tina said you speak a lot of podcasts on top of your
head which one do you recommend, please? So Tina, it depends on where you’re at at the
moment. I record my own podcast called French Conversation with Natalie. It’s a podcast that I
recommend for intermediate learners. Plus because the entire conversation is in French, I interview
people who are French, so it’s spoken by two native people now we talk about anything to do with
the UK and France: Any differences on school education on the health system, on eating habits. So
if you know the UK well or if you know France well, you’re very likely to be quite familiar with the
topic, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand, but it is spoken at real speed, so for people
who are complete beginners, I think it will be a little bit too overwhelming and I’m not sure they’ll
get the most out of it? But if you private message Sasha, who’s our concierge for the day, tell him,
the level that you’re at and he can send you two or three podcasts that we think are at your level
and of good quality, ours included if it’s relevant to you. Gina said: I’m definitely a visual learner,
YouTube is my friend, you see, I think that YouTube is for visual learner but also kinesthetic
learners because when you watch YouTube you do it. And the way you know, doing something in
order to learn it is part of the kinesthetic learning preference. YouTube is definitely Great. Lynn says
I read news articles in French every day, I set my news feed to send me French articles andn English
articles. That’s very good for those of you who go on your laptop early in the morning, something
that’s really good if you like to read the news, if you don’t then pass it. As Laura said, it’s all about
you and what you like, but if you like to read the news when you arrive at work in the morning, or if
you work on your computer, having, for example, the BBC and Lamont Online or another online
newspaper is very useful because let’s face it when they talk about Ukraine, they will talk about it
on both papers, they talk about the French elections, presidential elections. They are not going to
talk about it as much on the BBC, but there will be articles about it. So actually looking at the way
the news portrayed in English and then in French can actually be quite helpful, but I would say you
need to start being fairly advanced about this and I love what Lynn says. My work life is so
structured that my personal life needs to be unstructured. Do you know what? Not only that is
true, but I am a firm believer that this is how you will best learn or improve your French because I
know you speak it very well already. When we teach French, we do what we call high activity, low
active. High activity is when the student is full of energy, raring to go. We’re just starting the lesson
with pumped up with caffeine, with super enthusiastic. We’re going for it. We then use high
activities, which means that the learner is ready to take on quality of new knowledge. Then we use
low activity. That’s when we know that you know no one can sustain like a high alert level of
attention for a very long time. So then we know we have chosen what we call low activities just as
interesting, it could be completely relevant to what we’ve just spoken about, but it’s not
something that is going to demand a lot of brain energy. Structured and unstructured activities are
exactly the same. Do not think that listening to a podcast is irrelevant because you can only learn
when you’re in the classroom with a teacher. By all means, we are talking about mastering French
a foreign language you need human interaction. There are no two ways about it. We might have a
little bit of time to talk about apps. Even clever genius people who invent apps will tell you that
you’ll never be fluent by just using the app. We’re talking about a method, a way to communicate a
method of communication. You need human interaction, but please don’t underestimate all the
unstructured activities that you can use every single day. That’s actually we’re going a little bit
further in that, I believe on day five when we talk about life in French and we’re giving you loads of
little tips on how to adopt lots of you know, kind of little tricks if you like every day to help you
with the language absorption. So you gave the recipe very good you should have given it in French.
I know I should have done it.
So I live in the UK, but I’m German. So Gina. Gina, you are looking to be trilingual then? Great.
Which really should help, because even though English and German have the same roots, it’s so
different from French. It’s all about the language mechanics we talked about that yesterday, didn’t
we in our introduction understand language mechanics is extremely important if you’re looking to
be proficient. Can I just ask I’m just checking the time. We’ve got 2 minutes left. Any questions?
Does you know? Does this make sense? Everything that we’ve covered, is there anything in
particular you’d like to ask? Well, I hope you’ll be there on day. 7 because on day seven I would
really, really love everyone to come along so we can have really open conversation about our
experience of the language of experience in the language of learning the language of this will be
really rich. I just, yeah, absolutely human interaction. So with the last two minutes we’ve got, I’ll
just have a quick word about apps because this is the question that I get asked every single day. A
lot of people think that language professionals such as Laura and I are going to say bad things. That
apps absolutely not. I think that apps have a place in your language learning acquisition. I think
they are an amazing tool. Again to add to the plan, they are an amazing tool to switch your brain
into French. If you are spending 20 minutes on the bus or in the train or two hours on the plane,
using an app is brilliant. You’re telling your brain that now is the time for a little bit of French. It’s
really good to see vocabulary written. It’s the same word coming back again,
because apps are designed for you to acquire basic language like all the words that we generally
use on a regular basis all the time. Where apps can’t help, and I think that a few of you have
mentioned it is accents. OK, no one’s talking to you, no one’s telling you whether you should say
like this or like that. You can’t ask questions. There is no human interaction. Action and language
again is a mode of communication. So when you are interacting with someone there is way more
to be considered than just the spoken words. You know, there’s the intonation, there’s the body
language, there’s whether one person is speaking or several people are interacting around you.
And so an app cannot help you with this. However, I do believe that if you enjoy grabbing your
phone and doing some exercises, again, some people love it, some people hate it. I really do believe
that an app can truly help you. Along your language learning journey. It it has a place it just. Cannot
do it all. So I think Laura’s gone because she was teaching. It’s 2:00 PM where she lives and she was
teaching. Has this session been useful? Yeah. Excellent. Remember that. I’ll send you a bit of a
recap e-mail. You can reach me by e-mail, by WhatsApp on Facebook. We will play the recording in
the Facebook group again tonight and I very much look forward to seeing you tomorrow, same
place. Same time.
Au revoir, merci!

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