As part of our commitment to technology-based language learning, we have developed several guidelines for building language learning centers that are particularly well-suited to our type of language boot camps. These guidelines are available as a printable PDF e-book, but here are some general overview.
1. Think about lighting. In any environment where students will be using computer screens extensively, it’s important to make sure you’ve given the students good lighting to minimize eye strain. Focus on reducing harsh overhead glare, lighting that is significantly more yellow or more blue than natural light, and minimizing the amount of fluorescent light you use in your language learning center.
2. Encourage group working. Work stations should be set up in clusters so that students can work together on their projects. Our curriculum is designed to get students talking to each other in their new language as soon as possible. If their work stations are set up in clusters to facilitate easier communication, students will be more likely to talk to each other earlier in the program. Our curriculum also includes significant amounts of group work, which means they will need to be able to sit together and look over each others’ shoulders periodically.
3. Minimize distractions. It’s easy to get distracted when learning a new language because language acquisition requires a significantly increased level of concentration and uses parts of the brain that often haven’t been tapped into since early childhood. To help students in this endeavor, minimize distractions in the classroom by preventing outside interruptions, keeping the classroom at a comfortable temperature, and perhaps using a white noise machine to drown out other auditory distractions.
4. Foster continual language immersion. Above all, complete and total language immersion is the goal for these programs. Encourage students to always use their new language when communicating with you and with each other. When they forget, gently remind them about the ground rules for language use in the classroom.
If you follow these guidelines, your language learning center will be set up in a way that will maximize the likelihood of student success. For a more in-depth discussion of these and other guidelines, contact our office for a free copy of our printable PDF e-book. We partnered with a computer repair company to make sure our servers never go down!