Three common Myths about learning a second language

Learning a Second Language is Easy for a Child

There have been numerous research studies concerning the ability of children to quickly absorb and learn a second language. Studies conducted by Lenneberg in 1967 have explained that the flexibility of children’s brains help them learn a second language. However, research conducted in 1990 by Newport challenges this biological reasoning. Instead, this research reports that psychological and social factors have more of an impact upon the ability of children to learn a second language. Children and adults both face the same obstacles to learning a new language.

There are many ways to incorporate foreign language instruction in the classroom using interactive whiteboard technology to enhance the learning experiences of students. The use of an interactive whiteboard is one way to help children acquire the necessary learning strategies involved in learning new vocabulary and grammatical rules. Smart boards provide opportunities for interactive grammar exercises that will engage the attention of young learners attempting to master new skills that might otherwise seem tedious and boring to them.

A Second Language Should be Taught the Same Way

Studies show that the above statement is not true. In a 1983 study by Heath, cultural anthropologists have demonstrated that children from mainstream families communicate differently than do children from minority cultural backgrounds. American educators reinforce the language functions and styles of mainstream families. Children unable to master the meaning of words in a clear and logical way of thinking are often frustrated in the classroom. These frustrated learners exhibit different social behaviors, solve problems differently and they often misunderstand the mainstream classroom communication conveyed by their teachers.

All children learn languages differently. Some outgoing and sociable children master a second language easily. They are not afraid to make mistakes and they learn from teachers patiently teaching the correct vocabulary and language structure. Other children are quiet and reserved. They learn by listening and watching. The classroom teacher is challenged to incorporate different instructional activities and methods to teach a culturally diverse group of children another language.

Teachers can use an interactive whiteboard in the classroom to convey language instruction in many different ways. Teachers are able to display a list of the current day’s language learning goals and review the previous day’s lesson on slides viewed using the smart board before continuing on to the next foreign language lesson. Students can post notes with links to other websites and comments to one another using the interactive whiteboard technology. This should encourage them to continue learning the new language.

Teachers can use interactive games on the smart board to convey language concepts to students coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. For example, students would be able to work together to find answers that will solve a crossword puzzle. Students could also use the smart board to play educational Internet games while mastering the concepts of a second language.

There is Only One Way to Teach Students New Vocabulary Words

The best way for students to comprehend the meaning of new words is to master new vocabulary concepts. Learning new vocabulary is an essential element of learning a foreign language. Implying that there is only one way to introduce new vocabulary words to students is a myth. There are many teaching strategies to use when introducing new vocabulary words to students. Research demonstrates that motivated students learn from many different instructional techniques. Each student adapts different learning strategies to individual needs and personalities when it comes to learning new vocabulary words.

William C. Bradford taught students at Washington College of Business while he was a professor. According to Professor Bradford, 65 percent of students are visual learners. Smart boards can help students learn a second language more effectively with visual techniques. Visual learners can see displays of pictures to go along with new vocabulary words and will be able to learn new vocabulary by association with an image. Movies could explain meanings of words and students would be able to associate new vocabulary words with these explanations.

The combination of pictures, text and audio displayed on interactive whiteboards help students strengthen reading and writing skills in the new language. Pictures and symbols help students understand the connection between words and the meanings of words. Teachers have the capability of creating, organizing and explaining vocabulary concepts in many different ways with the use of interactive whiteboards. Students are not limited to learning new vocabulary words in only one way.