I am often surprised at the effort that teachers put into getting their students to undertake activities, such as creating slide shows or movies, or talking in pairs, (role playing), going on scavenger hunts, or whatever comes to mind to get the language learner doing something. I find that simply listening and reading , using content of interest, is a more effective use of my time, than putting effort into these activities.
I am not a fan of spending time on conversations with other learners. When I speak to a native speaker, or at least a very fluent speaker, I can pick up a lot of words and phrases. I notice my gaps. These conversations are opportunities to hear relevant bits of language. The experience has strong credibility, and I am more likely to learn from situations that I consider real and credible.
If I had a class with 25 or 30 learners, and if I were allowed to do so, I would have them come in once a week, 5 or 6 people at a time. Those that did not come to class would be asked to go to a study room and listen, read or write. I would use LingQ or some other system to monitor what they are doing.
I know that many learners are motivated, or can be coerced, to come to class and to study for exams, but will not study on their own. However, the results of this approach are pretty abysmal. Maybe it is time to look at other models. The New Brusnwick experiment, where children just read and listened, and progressed in their language studies, should be an example.
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