I love technology. I love new things. I believe technology is, and will continue to revolutionize education in all forms. One thing I wasn’t sure about? Learning a language online. It seems simple enough, use Rosetta Stone, DuoLingo, or something like that and learn the basics, but truly learn a language? This was something I really was unsure about. So the past few weeks, I have been trying this task via YouTube.
Does learning a language online help at all? Well, research supports this fact, and obviously this is dependent on many factors. One study shows that simply listening to a language, and doing no practicing will help you to understand the language better (Wright, B.A., Baese-Berk, M. M., Marrone, N., & Bradlow, A.R., 2015). Another study showed that actually practicing the language as a beginner may make learning it more difficult than simply listening to it (Baese-Berk, M.M., Samuel, Arthur G., 2015). This information made me realize that actually simply listening to the language will help me immensely, so using purely online sources would definitely help me with my language acquisition journey.
I started out by finding a few different YouTube channels that are about learning Maltese, and tested them out. I started by trying to watch them on my phone during work breaks and try to focus hard on learning the words, and I found myself getting quickly frustrated at lack of success and wandering off task. This made me realize that maybe this tactic was not the best to use. This is where individual difference makes a huge impact.
I find myself able to work better when there is background noise, any noise, music, a show, anything keeps me settled and working better. Something about silence gets my mind wandering, but with noise I can focus and work, take a short break and go back to working. So my thought was, would this help my learning of a language? While I was unable to find research that directly applied to this question, what I found was that if someone actively practices learning a language, then background rehearsal of this language while sleeping actually helps them improve their language acquisition ( Schreiner, T., & Rasch, B., 2015). So, if listening to language while sleeping benefits, and the more you listen to language the better you will get at it, I decided to commit to putting my head phones in, and whenever I don’t need my full attention to try to listen to as much Maltese as possible.
This has helped me great with my confidence in the language sounds and in my abiilty to learn. Actual word knowledge isn’t great yet, but I have faith in the next week I will be able to reach my goal, and more importantly by January 18th I will be prepared for that one day of only Maltese! Come back and check on my progress next week.
Below is my “Words I know list” before and after picture.
Below is me practicing my pronunciation. Translation “Good evening, how are you?”.
Baese-Berk, Melissa M., Samuel, Arthur G. (2016). Listeners Beward: Speech prodcuction may be bad for learning speech sounds. The Journal of Memory and Language, 89, 23-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.10.008
Charlie Brown Photograph. Retrieved from https://tjohnsonmediagroup.com/insiders-radio-network/personalities/performance/charlie-browns-teacher/
Schreiner, T., Rasch, B. (2015). Boosting Vocabulary Learning by Verbal Cueing During Sleep. Cereb Cortex, 25(11), 4169-4179. http://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhu139
Wright, B. A., Baese-Berk, M. M., Marrone, N., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). Enhancing speech learning by combining task practice with periods of stimulus exposure without practice. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(2), 928–937. http://doi.org/10.1121/1.4927411