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Why just read a textbook when you can learn via the headlines?
When it comes to learning languages, particularly at higher proficiency levels, textbooks alone aren’t always enough. Reading a static page of vocabulary engages very few of the senses and involves very little interaction—a necessity for language learning (and effective learning in general).
Textbooks should take a hint from the likes of Facebook or Snapchat. Why are we so addicted to social media? Yes, the platforms are clean, intuitive, and packed with engaging features. But we spend so much time scrolling through the content in our feeds is because it’s in real-time, it’s ever-changing, and it’s relevant. These three pillars are central to our online language coaching programs.
Led by our 20-year foreign language teaching veteran, a new team of online “cohort coaches” has been tasked with helping U.S. Government linguists, translators, and language professionals sustain their language skills between periods of formal training. Via the CL-150, these coaches develop and distribute weekly lessons designed to push the students to their proficiency threshold—best of all, these tech-based lessons can be completed anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Every other week, or as world events dictate, coaches create and assign what we call a “MINE” lesson, or a language lesson focusing on a Major International News Event. These events—economic, environmental, political, scientific, or beyond—can relate to the target culture or to a major multicultural event. Within 24 hours of Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election, for example, MINE lessons were created and assigned to learners of 6 different languages.
When an important event happens, instructors can choose from 15 interactive activities in the CL-150 to build lessons based on articles from local news outlets. The typical lesson takes students about 2 hours to complete—more time than it takes our coaches to make it! Upon completion, the community of learners situated around the world meets virtually to discuss the topic in the target lesson and further engage with the content. Students experience “real” language use through these authentic materials, with the added support of reinforcement and feedback.
MINE lessons are at the heart of the Transparent Language mission. Yes, we make language learning technology. But more importantly, we help our customers, including US Government personnel, customize and leverage that technology to create training programs to meet their proficiency needs and domain requirements. We enable a world of affordable, economical customization and swift deployment without compromising on quality or flexibility.
If you’re a U.S. Government employee eager to learn more about our cohort coaching program and/or the CL-150, contact us.
If our experience working with government personnel is any guide, such rapid and reliable materials could be used by instructors, mentors and independent learners in all sorts of expected and unexpected ways. If you’re a classroom teacher or educator interested in using our tech to create lessons for your classes, take a few minutes to learn more about Transparent Language Online for Educators.