Author Topic: My Personal Experiences in Learning Languages (Korean, Italian, English, French)  (Read 285 times)

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Offline pskim4

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Korean is the language I use the most at home because that is my parents' and grandmother's native language. I learned to read and write Korean through a children's TV show that my grandma insisted I watch while I lived in Italy because she was afraid I would not learn the language if I grew up in a foreign country. The TV show was very colorful, animated, and interactive and it taught how to read and write and included brain break activities like dancing or singing. An American TV show that I might relate it to is Sesame Street. It was a typical, engaging children's educational show, and I would say that it was quite effective because I still use the language today.


I learned the Korean and Italian language simultaneously and I remember it came pretty easy because I grew up immersed in both cultures but also because both languages had a phonetic written language. Also, my parents were grad students so they were learning and practicing Italian at home as well.


When I came to America at age 6, learning to read and write in English was quite difficult. (1) I had to relearn the names and sounds of the alphabet that looked the same in Italian, (2) my kindergarten teacher had very negative responses to my lack of English proficiency and scolded me for using my Korean name instead of my new American name so I had an overall negative attitude towards her and the language and did not participate much in school until I moved to a new one, and (3) my parents did not use English at home at all so the only exposure I had to it was at school. Because of all the pressure to learn English and the lack of practice or resources for learning Italian and no one to practice with, I eventually ended up forgetting almost all of Italian. I still know the rules for reading Italian and can pronounce all the words correctly in the language, but I have no idea what I read means and my mother has also told me that my phrasing and intonation is a bit awkward.


I continued learning to read and write in Korean at Korean school on Saturdays at church, and I was great at it compared to my other Korean-American friends, so I was motivated and confident, and so I kept learning and have maintained the skills. After Korean school was over I did not practice reading and writing Korean until I came to college and took KOR 242 at the U of I, which was a lot of fun. The teacher was really good at explaining common grammatical mistakes and answering any questions we had, and she spoke at a slower but natural rate and very clearly so it was easier for students to follow. She also made great use of the chalkboard, Moodle (our class website) and other technology and Internet resources to make the class more engaging and resources easily accessible to the students.


I learned French in junior high and high school. One of my favorite activities was listening to popular music and underlining vocabulary or phrases we learned, filling in blanks, or translating/deciphering the meaning into English. (I have found that popular culture is an effective way in engaging students to learn any language) Another effective activity we did in year four of high school French was read the book Le Petit Prince. It had relatively simple text but the discussions and writing activities we had on the content of the book were meaningful and authentic so we were able to go into deeper and more fluid use of the language.


 :bluestar CONCLUDING THOUGHTS/SUMMARIZING IMPORTANT POINTS: :bluestar
  • positive relationships and interactions with teachers and peers is greatly beneficial to a language learner
  • there are "critical" or "sensitive" periods in language learning but there also has to be constant practice and development in order to maintain reading and writing skills in a language
  • technology is an effective way to engage students in language learning, if used intentionally and regularly
  • textbooks and worksheets are good, but there are unique benefits in practicing the language through authentic or trendy ways; the latter is more helpful in engagement and motivation than the first
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 06:30:09 PM by pskim4 »