Online learning affects world language classes


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Different languages have unique ways to say “hello.”

Nabiha Zulfqar, Copy Editor

While students face many challenges with online education, learning and teaching a language online brings additional challenges to students and teachers.

According to EdSource, in order to learn to speak, read and write fluently, they need additional language classes and many opportunities to practice speaking and interacting with peers and teachers, which can be difficult remotely.

There are still some difficulties learning a language online. According to Polygot’s Corner, some problems can include low motivation, not being able to speak with a native speaker and lack of a personalized path of study. Teachers are struggling to teach online as well. According to TeachingNomad, a few difficulties include keeping everyone engaged, keeping students who don’t normally participate paying attention, having people speak on their mic to and doing speaking tests without knowing if a student is cheating.

“It’s hard to choose between taking the time to do each assignment or just using Google translate,” freshman Linda Zelaya-Umana said. “The way I speak Spanish at home is different from the way we’re taught it so that can be a struggle. 

Some positives include flexibility, improvement of responsibility and free access to online translators if you don’t know something.

“I honestly did better in Spanish online than in person grade wise since it’s all at my own pace and if I need a simple translation I can look it up,” freshman Sophia Taylor said

Language teachers have been finding creative ways to encourage students to participate. According to EduTopia, a way to keep students motivated in learning a language is to teach them words that relate to their own interests because it’s easier to talk about yourself. This year a lot of assignments have been related to describing student’s personal interests like their favorite TV show, favorite musicians, favorite sports and other hobbies.

“Teaching online is more difficult because I have no idea if everyone is actually retaining the information,” Spanish teacher Raffine Archible-Ehivue said.

According to GoOverSeas, a great way to make sure students are retaining the language is to give them a prompt and have them make their own videos of them talking without a script. 

“It got a lot easier this year because we get assigned work and then we get to take our time, freshman French student Stephen Tsai said.