One of the first things I did after I learned that I would be traveling to Colombia this summer was download the free app, Duolingo. A Spanish teacher who is also part of the Teachers For Global Classrooms program had recommended it so I thought I would give it a try. The first step was to take a placement test where I learned that I was 1% fluent in Spanish! Clearly, I have a ways to go! The app works like a game. You decide how much time you want to spend on it each day, (I chose ten minutes). As you proceed through different lessons you “unlock” new skills and even earn “lingots” when you pass through new levels of the program. It is always a great experience for a teacher to be put back into the role of a student. I am finding that I can only learn so many new skills before I need to go back and review those I have previously learned. This makes me think of the students in my classroom. How much time am I giving them to solidify their understandings of new concepts? How often do I teach a lesson and then just move on without giving them the practice they need to integrate their new learning. It can been very humbling to try to learn a new language. I have found that I can practice speaking with the app, (there is a function that listens to your pronunciation) but when I have the chance to practice with an actual Spanish speaker I am tongue tied! I have also been reminded of the value of “chunking” learning into small time periods. I find that I am able to absorb the information best when I spend 10-15 minutes a day on the app. Another reminder that my students are no different. If I have been talking more than 15 minutes, they are surely not listening. One of my favorite things about the app is the feedback that I get about my progress. After a month am now happy to say that I am 7% fluent. Yo so muy orgolluso!
2 thoughts on “Duolingo”
I’m going to have to try this one out. I’d like to have some basic Spanish knowledge. It’s a matter of staying disciplined to do it!
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It has not been as hard to stick with as I expected– the main down side is that I still am paralyzed when I have the chance to try to speak to an actual person. I guess no app can give that true communication experience yet.:)