I believe that online courses are an important component of our curricula, but it is not a simple task transitioning from teaching in the classroom to online, and many faculty are not prepared to put in the effort to be successful in doing so. Retention rates are lower, as students always believe they can make time, but somehow time slips away. Therefore there must be more focus on engagement. That is time-consuming for the instructor and the students. Secondly students learn in different ways, so simply posting some instructional material will usually not allow ALL students to learn. Either we must supplement the online learning with some F2F time (as in a hybrid course), or we must proceed to adaptive learning where the student’s learning is assessed, and only if they meet the passing criteria can they proceed to the next lesson. If they don’t pass, they must be offered some
How long does it take to speak a language?
I believe that learning a foreign language is an established training. I’ve spent my whole life working on mastering languages. We have to practice every day and should communicate with natives as often as possible. If we do not have the time or a chance, we will lose our conversational skills. They say practice makes perfect; whatever I think about this slogan, it seems to be true. At the same time, I am aware of the fact that I will never speak like a native. For me, the most noteworthy is communication. In my view, pronunciation is significant as long as the meaning is concerned. Nowadays we talk about “standard English” which has been used internationally. Many people want to talk like a native. I would like to announce that accents are acceptable as long as they are understandable. I never force learners to sound like native speakers, simply because they are not, besides I am also not a native English teacher. We must teach towards intelligibility, rather than a ‘native’ accent. Accent reduction in my opinion means increasing correct and easily understandable accent. Moreover, I use a lot of songs in my teaching. Through songs, students discover the natural stretching and compacting of the stream of English speech. Students may orally summarize the spirit or matter of a song or give oral presentations about a song or musician. Many songs tell a story, and these stories can be rewritten or retold to practice narrative or summarizing skills. This method works for my learners exceptionally well. Generally, I think that we learn languages to communicate, and accurate delivery is not the most valuable skill to develop. All in all, everybody needs to improve communication skills, and it is an entire lifetime job, including native speakers. Therefore from my point of view, the answer to the question – how long does it take to speak a language? – is…. It takes a lifetime.