- Canada is more bilingual now than it has ever been...
- ...and Quebec has the highest number of bilingual people out of every province.
- Research shows that it’s best to start learning a language at a young age, the best being 7 years old.
- However, research also shows that this is due to perception, not biology. With the right approach, an adult can learn a language as effectively as a child!
- Learning a language makes your brain physically grow! Brain scans show a greater density of grey matter in areas of the brain associated with language in people who speak two or more languages.
- There are 46 different alphabets used worldwide.
- Learning a second language helps prevent the mind from aging and delays the onset of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s by as much as a decade.
- The most widely spoken in the world is not English… it’s Mandarin/Chinese!
- Interestingly, Mandarin is also the most difficult language to learn.
- The easiest language to learn is Spanish.
- The dot above an “i” or a “j” is called a tittle.
- Bilingual people have a better memory.
- Bilingual people do better academically, too!
- The first alphabet was called the Phoenician alphabet, created sometime around 1200 BC.
- 89% of employers agree that being multilingual adds value to an employee.
- 43% of the world’s population speaks two languages fluently… 13% speaks three.
- English is the most common second language. In fact, people who speak English fluently as a second language outnumber native speakers!
- Almost half of languages have no written form.
- Knowing more than one language makes it easier to learn additional languages. (You knew that one, didn’t you?)
- The most common reason for wanting to learn a second language is to communicate better when travelling.
- The most widely translated books after The Bible are The Little Prince and Pinocchio.
- There are roughly 6500 languages spoken in the world today; however, 2000 of these languages have fewer than 1000 speakers; in fact, one language becomes extinct every 14 days.
- The most linguistically diverse country is Papua New Guinea, where around 840 languages are spoken.
- There are more Spanish speakers in the US than in Spain.
- In Chinese, dogs go 'wang wang'... in Spanish they go 'guau guau'... and in Swedish they go 'voff voff’.
- Some cool celebrity facts (about language, of course): ✓ Arnold Schwarzenegger was told that he cannot voice his own character in a movie translated to German because his Austrian accent was too rough; ✓ The actress Sandra Oh, Canada’s own, is fluent also in Korean - and French, which she learned in Montreal; ✓ Mila Kunis was born in The Ukraine, and she speaks excellent Ukrainian and Russian to this day; ✓ Celine Dion didn’t start learning English until well into her teens – and her motivation was world fame, her inspiration – Michael Jackson.
Here is my argument in favor of learning a new language: every person around the world has done it! At some point, in some way, from conversations with parents and friends, following songs or TV shows, children form their vocabulary and start learning their mother tongue – naturally, gradually, step by step, year after year.
Nobody was born speaking a language.
So much for the tired excuse: “I’m not good with languages”! Recently, scientists have discovered that children are not really learning more easily or more quickly than us, adults. They spend several hours a day, immersed in the new language at school or out in the street, in a new country, working hard on their new skills, making mistakes, trying again, repeating and slowly going forward. Adults are more self-conscious and more critical; they get discouraged by every mistake, often have unrealistic expectations and, almost all the time, they’re very hard on themselves. Well, we, your teachers, have news for you: learning a language is a process. Make your mistakes – then the teacher will explain and correct you – then you’ll start catching yourself and correcting yourself – and fluency will come with time, practice and dedication.
It's a proven psychological fact that we retain much more when we are interested in the subject of learning. Our memory is very selective this way. Events and experiences that have impressed us or moved us deeply are engraved in our memory, many years later, while we all have boring exams we have passed and completely forgotten about within weeks. Take a sports fan who knows every detail about his favorite team or player, plus stats and scoring situations, championships, positions on the field, etc. I could never remember that, since watching sports is not my cup of tea; but ask me about my favorite musicians, and I will tell you every album, every landmark in their lives - believe it or not, I know every word of every song of my favorite band from the time I was growing up (it's too embarrassing to mention but I still like them), and I have won a bunch of contests and prizes because of my useless trivia knowledge, based on pure interest in the subject.
There is a huge, dangerous misconception about games, music and all visual media as sources of entertainment and nothing more. On top of that, young language learners are presumed distracted and unwilling to learn. Connect the dots, and you have the picture: if your students are lacking in interest or motivation, the reason is most likely boredom. The traditional textbook-workbook-pen-chalk-blackboard concept may be still good, but it most definitely is only a small part of the arsenal a language teacher can use in an attempt to make it a success.
So accept that new language as a new adventure.
Take a deep breath. Jump! The water is great.
One of my students came to class excited today.
He told me how he'd scored 100% on his English grammar test!
Well, that made my day. (That, and the red wine and the good company at our little office party later on.)
But seriously. He stopped using me as a dictionary a few months ago. Shortly after that, he stopped trying to switch back to French when he felt it was too difficult to express himself in English.
I am very, very proud of his progress. He has been working hard, taking 3-4 hours per month on average - which is not a big time or money commitment. But he's persisted. He comes to class with a smile on his face and an open mind, sometimes bringing a school project to fine-tune, and (most of the time) with his homework done.
And that's how learning a second language works.
EVEN FOR A TEENAGER :-)))
But how about life experience? How about knowledge you can't quite master as a child? Yes, kids learn easily, but they have no understanding of abstract or complex concepts. If I remember well, there are even different neurological centers in our brain involved in adult learning - totally different than the ones a child uses to learn a mother tongue! So, the argument becomes a comparison between apples and oranges.
I'll be honest: I personally prefer working with adults. What they have as an advantage over children is their motivation. Ask a child, and you'll probably find the parents as the driving force behind the language education; ask an adult, and you'll hear beautiful reasons:
There are many factors to consider when learning and teaching - age specifics are important! Just as well as an early-childhood educator will choose more visual aids - pictures, games, videos and flash cards - a teacher with an adult student can use all of these, plus favorite songs, crossword puzzles, and most importantly, topics that the students are interested in. Nothing makes it stick like interest and excitement!
Here are some ways to go around age-related slowdowns:
ecclesiastical Latin. He also knows Portuguese, biblical Hebrew and Ancient
Nous organisons une semaine d'activités en anglais
pour les enfants
lors de la relâche scolaire
* du lundi au vendredi,
*3-4 heures par jour, en après-midi.
Au programme : enseignement, lecture, film, jeux et autres activités LE TOUT EN ANGLAIS ECLUSIVEMENT.
Les inscriptions débutent le 3 février, et se poursuivront jusqu'au 21 février inclusivement.
L’ENSEIGNEMENT des langues, comme plusieurs autres domaines de la vie privée ou professionnelle, requiert des compétences essentielles, dont la courtoisie, la tolérance et le respect des autres.
Chez HORIZONS, nous tâchons de nous adapter au mieux à l’horaire de nos étudiants. Il leur est ainsi possible, par exemple, de changer de groupe si les rencontres ont lieu à un moment qui ne leur convient pas, de rattraper un retard à la suite d’une absence ou de recevoir leurs devoirs par courriel s’ils n’ont pu se présenter à un cours. Nous proposons également des forfaits personnalisés aux personnes qui doivent passer un examen dans de brefs délais et faisons en sorte qu’un enseignant soit disponible pour les y préparer.
Mon travail de professeure d’anglais langue seconde m’a amenée à rencontrer des étudiants qui m’ont vraiment impressionnée par leur assiduité. Ils sont toujours ponctuels, font leurs devoirs avec soin et progressent rapidement, et ce, pour mon plus grand plaisir. Inutile de dire qu’observer une telle motivation s’avère très gratifiant pour un enseignant. Parce que plus que la recherche du gain financier, c’est la satisfaction de la tâche bien accomplie qui le motive. De la même manière que vous ne vous contenteriez pas d’un chèque de paye, nous aimons constater que notre travail porte ses fruits.
Parfois, il arrive que quelqu’un nous demande une garantie de résultats. Nous expliquons gentiment à cette personne que le travail réalisé avec le professeur ne représente que la moitié du chemin à parcourir et qu’il lui revient d’effectuer l’autre partie. Il nous est impossible de vous promettre que vous parlerez parfaitement l’anglais en vous réveillant demain matin. Ni de faire vos devoirs ou de passer vos examens à votre place. Par contre, nous pouvons vous enseigner, pratiquer avec vous, vous fournir des outils audio et vidéo, vous inviter à participer à des discussions et suivre de près vos progrès.
OPRAH a déjà dit que si la pilule magique pour perdre du poids avait été inventée, elle aurait été la première à l’acheter, peu importe le prix… Comme ce n’est pas le cas, elle prépare ses repas et fait de l’exercice tous les jours. Malgré tout, il existe une industrie multimillionnaire qui promet que, sans diète ni activité physique, grâce au thé vert, au pamplemousse ou à des comprimés d’algues, votre corps deviendra mince et ferme. C’est incroyable ce que nous sommes prêts à payer pour obtenir des résultats rapides!
Il en va de même pour l’apprentissage d’une nouvelle langue. Si quelqu’un vous garantit une réussite quasi instantanée sans effort, méfiez-vous! Apprendre nécessite du temps. Le processus peut s’avérer ardu et complexe ou dynamique et diversifié . Mais dans un cas comme dans l’autre, il compte deux participants et nécessite un travail collaboratif. Un bon professeur ne représente qu’une des deux clés du succès.
Enfin, en tant qu’adultes, nous présumons que nos étudiants sont honnêtes. Nous leur laissons donc le bénéfice du doute lorsqu’ils omettent de se présenter à un cours . La plupart du temps, nous travaillons avec des personnes merveilleuses. Mais il nous arrive à l’occasion d’avoir affaire à des gens qui pensent que nous, professeurs, sommes leurs employés personnels et qu’ils peuvent se rendre à leurs cours seulement s’ils ne
l’oublient pas. Inutile de dire que, comme tout le monde, nous réprouvons ce genre d’attitude. Un peu de respect et un avis d’annulation dans un délai raisonnable, voilà tout ce que nous vous demandons. Nous vous promettons la même chose en retour.
Laissez-nous vous aider à réaliser votre projet de bien maîtriser l’anglais.
Notre satisfaction réside dans votre réussite!
Some time in the recent past, I got to attend a workshop on managing expectations.
It was a revelation.
Since then, I've come to the realization that in reality, our entire lives are one big, long, exhausting exercise in expectation management. We approach every single thing, every day, with certain expectations - without necessarily knowing or intending to do so. We decide on a movie, based on a brief description or a review; we dress for an event accordingly and try to follow the dress code; many among us spend their lives trying to prove their worth to others, be it parents or siblings or just friends and colleagues; we expect praise for our accomplishments, punishment for our mistakes, and certain standards from everyone and everything surrounding us. Have you heard the stories of brides, claiming that their weddings were ruined - because of some tiny detail in the plan not going perfectly in line with their expectations of perfection? Yes, me too. Unbelievable.
It's shocking, if you think about it.
Yesterday I experienced great satisfaction finding a bag of onions, when I thought we were all out and the dinner was in jeopardy! On that same day, I happened to read a review on Trip Advisor, in which a guest of a 4-star hotel was complaining that his 7- and 9-year-old children were "bummed out" because the hotel pool...wait for it...had no jacuzzi! Can anyone offer me a reasonable explanation on the fact that I was overjoyed by onions, while some spoiled brats were disappointed by the hotel amenities in Miami - other than the levels of our expectations? I didn't think so.
Now, ask yourself: "What am I expecting from my language course?"
On the other hand:
REMEMBER: NOBODY ON THIS PLANET WAS BORN SPEAKING A LANGUAGE!
All of us, without any exception, have learned one or more languages in our own different ways, at our own pace and on our own terms.
We are not miracle workers.
We can't promise you the impossible.
What we can give you is patience, knowledge, passion, entertaining ways of learning, a cup of coffee to help you relax - and the rest is up to you.
Expect to be pleasantly surprised - and treated with respect and understanding.
Enfin, nous avons le temps pour notre ouverture officielle!
Nous avons le plaisir de vous inviter à notre 5@7 c
élébrant dix semaines d'activité à Deux-Montagnes.
Où? Notre bureau, 612, Ch. d'Oka
Quand? Vendredi, le 1er novembre, 17h00 – 19h00
~ ~ ~
Finally, we have time for our official opening!
You're invited to our cocktail party
celebrating ten weeks in business at our Deux-Montagnes office.
Where? 612, ch. d'Oka
When? Friday, November 1st, 5-7pm
A Europe-born-and-raised, but also suburban mother of two, with a passion for languages, cultures, writing, travel and knowledge - combining my 20-something years of teaching and marketing into a language school on the North Shore of Montreal. Quebec, Canada.