Learning another language can be a daunting feat, especially if the language is not native to your country. But with rapid globalisation and communication made accessible via the internet, having another language aside from your native tongue is an advantage. This serves as the reason why more and more parents are enrolling their children in international schools offering foreign languages — to provide them with an edge in a globally competitive world.
Duolingo as an Aide
Duolingo, a free mobile app and language learning platform, has 120 million users across the world. It offers 59 different courses on 23 languages with extensive written lessons, vocabulary section and speaking practice. Through a game format, users can enjoy learning a language as they progress, gaining experience points and picking up skills. Students enrolled in bilingual schools like the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai can have the app on their phone and sharpen their English, French, Italian or German, among other languages, during recess.
The app’s gamification offers the following:
- Speaking, listening, translation and multiple choice challenges
- In-lesson grading — when a user misses a challenge, the app shows a user how to improve
- Duolingo motivates the user to keep learning through the streak count — a record of how many days in a row the user spends learning a language
- Hearts are available and keeps the lessons alive, although they are lost with every incorrect answer
More than just an aide, Duolingo is already being utilised in schools. Public schools in Costa Rica and Guatemala, for example, use the app through a government-ran project. It also provides teachers with a centralised dashboard displaying a student’s progress, strengths and weaknesses. This assists the teachers in optimising their methods in teaching a language.
On Learning and Education
Education is, and always will be, an invaluable tool to any individual, but it also helps to have an environment conducive to learning. A student should have the awareness that mastering another language requires daily practice. And learning, as we know it, extends outside a classroom’s walls.