Teach it Tuesday: Language Learning

Today in French we started our “DuoLingo Tuesdays”! DuoLingo is a free, easy to access language learning website for learners of all ages and levels.  Why DuoLingo?  I chose to use this resource not only because it’s free and easily accessible, but also because it provides a “game like” approach to language learning.  Most of my students play video games and are very knowledgeable in the structure of winning points and passing/failing levels before moving on.  DuoLingo offers a video game like approach to language learning because one must pass a level before moving on (unless you succeed in the chapter test challenge).  DuoLingo also provides the learner with four hearts per level; every time the learner makes a mistake a heart disappears (if the learner runs out of hearts he/she must start the level again.  Learners can also gain hearts back by correcting errors).  Finally, DuoLingo is interactive; the program has the learner typing, speaking and listening in the language he/she is working with.  *Note: students will likely benefit from the use of headphones when using DuoLingo in the classroom.

I teach all three grade 8 French classes and I was really excited to get going on this interactive language learning initiative because I’m curious to see what my students can learn from this program.  We are lucky at our school because we have a school set of shared iPads.  I’ve managed to book the iPads during my French blocks every Tuesday for the next five weeks so that my students can plug in and use technology for language learning.

I introduced “DuoLingo Tuesdays” by guiding my classes through the account set up process on DuoLingo.  Once we had an introduction to the website I let the students take their iPads and get to work!  Most students remembered to bring headphones to class today (I reminded them yesterday) and once they plugged in and logged on the language learning began.  It was really neat to see my students working hard to develop their language learning skills on the iPads; some students even passed level one in the short amount of time we had!

I plan to assess my students’ learning on DuoLingo by floating around with a checklist and tapping in to their session either by watching them work or by asking them some questions about their learning.  For example, today I asked a few students to share some new words they learned from their brief first DuoLingo session…those asked were able to respond right away (something that doesn’t happen a lot in the French classroom!)

I think this DuoLingo Tuesday thing is going to be a hit…we will only plug in and log on once a week, which leaves us two more French blocks during the week to get other language learning done.  For me, this is a bit of an experiment, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with my students’ basic French comprehension.

Let me know if you try DuoLingo with your students or on your own!  My mother in law has passed the entire DuoLingo French program twice and has since moved on to Spanish…she’s a champ!  Happy learning 🙂