A People-Centered Language Learning Approach
One of the primary reasons why frustration is so common during the process of learning a foreign language is because we often fixate on the ultimate goal of fully understanding every single sentence in our target language. An ironic but effective counter strategy is to enjoy the slow and challenging process of language learning. In doing so, it helps to shift our focus towards the relationships that learning a language allows us to form. Adopting a people centered language learning approach shifts the nature and purpose of our language learning journey from mere, mindless memorization to meaningful communication.
To begin with, it’s important for language learners to connect with native speakers of their target language. One of the most rewarding aspects of learning a new language is the opportunity to build friendships and establish meaningful connections that are only possible through that language. Engaging with native speakers not only offers insights into the culture behind the target language but also serves as an additional source of motivation for learning. Communication in the target language becomes the goal, instead of simply focusing on expanding vocabulary or mastering grammar structures. This also helps language learners observe their progress more effectively, as they are able to understand and express themselves better as time goes on. While immersion in the target language is ideal, those unable to do so can find language exchange partners online and focus on improving communication abilities in the target language, rather than simply learning in the classroom and not using the language for practical purposes and communication.
Another valuable interaction in language learning comes from connecting with fellow learners who share the same goals as you. You not only find support as you face similar challenges, but you also have the opportunity to discover the beauty of the target language together. The community of language learners is incredibly supportive. Getting to know classmates, joining language learning discord servers, following language learning pages on social media, or participating in virtual language exchanges are all ways to build a supportive community that encourages further language learning.
Adopting a people-centered language learning approach allows language learners to appreciate small achievements throughout the language learning process and form meaningful connections along the way. Communication becomes more than just an end goal; it becomes an integral part of the language learning journey itself.
Yeap, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Riga
(Photo credits to pexel.com)