Going from "hello" to conversing about the shifting dynamics of climate change and geopolitics in a second language is a lengthy and time-consuming journey, but, who says you have to travel that road alone? Here, I'm going to go over some of the documented benefits of learning collaboratively in a group environment and how you can be part of a lively discussion, picking up new words, phrases, tips, and tricks all from the comfort of your home. Without having to actually have to talk to anyone face to face, as and when it suits you.
Online communities might not offer everything that a social learning environment in the real world can offer, but there is still a lot to be gained by sharing the experience of learning with a group of like-minded individuals in a cooperative setting.
How a group can help you
There are some parts of language learning that are actually better done alone, or in a quiet place free from the distraction of other people, such as memorizing and repetition. Other aspects of language learning such as forming sentence structures, vocabulary variation, asking and answering questions, pronunciation practice and intonation are all much easier to learn in a group scenario than by ones self. Other people can be such a valuable tool for language growth it's almost impossible to imagine learning a language without them!
With so much of the language learning process best served in a social environment, the obvious choice is to just sign up for a group class right? Learn from an expert, practice with your classmates. Well, we don't all have the time, money or energy to commit to an hour or two per week of formal classes. For those of us who are determined to learn at home, or unable to attend classes, how can we also attain the examples, corrections, and encouragement gained by those in a full-time classroom environment? You guessed it! Language learning communities online!
Which group is right for me?
When you're trying to learn a language, it is always best to learn this language from your native language, rather than from a second language, if you speak one. So if there is a particular social media that is more prominently used in your country, start by looking for a group there.
It's important, to get the most benefit from joining a community, that the platform has the features required for healthy discussions, content submissions, comments, and feedback all conveniently available. These features will allow you to see what other people have been struggling with, and asking about, and allow you to request help, tips, advice, and corrections on your sentences. Communities, therefore, enable you to quickly and effectively use the power of the people to your advantage.
So, I want to join a language learning community, what are my options?
Instagram, Forum pages, Facebook, and WhatsApp are all great options for social media platforms, there are also language exchanges - places that facilitate matching learners and natives of opposite languages to help each other improve. Many people might choose to make friends on the matching platforms and then use some form of social media to exchange language with each other, practicing language use, and providing assistance back and forth. Some examples of language exchanges are conversationexchange.com, mylanguageexchange.com, and https://onlinelanguageexchange.com/ There are pros and cons to using each format. I think convenience will play a huge factor for most people, and what could be more convenient than a site everyone is already using - Facebook. The social networking giant has all the features needed to share materials, engage in discussions, meet people in a well-moderated environment, and undoubtedly has resources available in your native language, whatever that may be.
It's for this reason that we here at Casademandarim decided to base our language community over on Facebook, we really wanted to be able to create a space where people could collaborate, engage each other, help each other and collectively inspire and promote language learning and cultural understanding as much as possible.
We'd love you to come and check out our growing community over at Facebook:
Come and say "Hello" - as many ways as you can, and join the learning!