Many education systems throughout the world focus on teaching students a second language at a very young age. However, most schools only teach students a foreign language for a small portion of each day. Afterwards, they are expected to “flick a switch” and go back to their native tongue for the rest of their day. Because of this, the second language rarely becomes a form of communication that they rely on, and once the class is no longer mandatory, the skill is lost altogether.
With language immersion, the results are widely different. When students are given the opportunity to hone their craft in other facets of their daily life, and given the ability to use their skills in real world situations, the second language becomes a more integral part of who they are. If you want to learn more, here’s a deeper look at how language immersion works, and a few of the most important language immersion benefits children and adults can take advantage of:
Language immersion is a unique approach to learning a new language, where the target language is both the medium of instruction and the object of that instruction.
One of the most important benefits of language immersion is that it gives students of all ages the opportunity to solidify their knowledge through experience and real world application. By learning through action in a controlled environment, students can benefit from a shortened learning curve and a higher level of retention. When the real world applications are fun, memorable, and interactive, students will be able to retain far more information than they would from more traditional study methods.
In a class setting, here’s what language immersion can look like: a room full of English-speaking students who are learning Spanish. They are taught by an instructor who speaks in Spanish, and while in class, students answer questions and interact with each other in Spanish, as well.
Language immersion can be a tool for students to hone their budding language skills, no matter their age group, and it can be very valuable outside of the classroom, too. At City Speakeasy, all of our courses include language immersion for adults, who are given the opportunity to take part in fun, immersive events where they can test their language skills in real world social settings. Whether they’re dining, taking a cooking class, or drinking away the evening at a wine tasting, they have the opportunity to speak to one another in their target language, gain valuable feedback, and learn new vocabulary and communicative phrases.
Don’t let the idea of immersion-based learning intimidate you. You’re not going to be thrown into a foreign country with no money, no ID, and no means of communication. In most cases, you’ll receive helpful guidance as you learn the basics in a controlled environment. Once you’re ready to take the next step, you’ll have the opportunity to put your skills to the test in a real-world situation. The language immersion benefits that are at play here: you won’t be alone, you won’t be expected to get everything right, and you’ll have a great time while you learn!
You can learn plenty of skills through immersion, not just a new language. If you’re still on the fence about language immersion for adults, think of it in a different context. If you want to learn how to make pottery, for instance, you’re going to have to get your hands on the wheel at some point in time. Sure, you can study new techniques, learn appropriate terms, and read all the how-tos you can find. However, if you never get your hands dirty, you’ll never become a true artist. Instead, you’ll just know a lot about the art.
The same can be said for learning a new language. The only way you’re going to master it is by practicing what you’ve learned in a real world application.
We’ve already covered one of the most important benefits of language immersion: the opportunity it gives students to solidify their knowledge through experience and real world application. However, there are plenty of other benefits you can reap from immersive language learning, too. Here are a few examples:
Whether you want to find the best approach for your child to learn a second language, or you’re interested in the benefits of language immersion for adults, we hope that this information can lend you some clarity. If you’re over the age of 21 and you want to start your journey right away, enroll in one of our foreign language classes at City Speakeasy! Each course includes seven in-class lessons and one out-of-class Immersion Event where you can hone your skills in a real world social setting. Call today at (212) 520-2559 for more information!