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February 2019

Promoting Language Learning Where You Least Expect It

Creating study opportunities while performing chores

The Chicago Tribune recently published an article on Language in the Laundromat, a program that seeks to encourage language learning in laundry facilities in Elgin, a suburb outside of Chicago.

The program itself acknowledges the fact that many of us lose valuable time while performing chores, for example, waiting for laundry to wash and dry. Language in the Laundromat hopes to make use of this downtime by giving patrons and their families resources to learn new languages.

Think about how much time you spend waiting for laundry to finish. Imagine utilising this time instead for educational endeavors. Now, imagine where else you could find time to study your target language. We’ll identify some of these opportunities in this article.

Adding a soundtrack to dishwashing

Held hostage by your sink? Hands figuratively tied to the dishes? Help pass the time while learning by making it an opportunity for listening to audio lessons.

The Internet is replete with free audio lessons and podcasts. All you have to do is pick the ones right for you. Look for audio lessons that won’t require you to pause and rewind, as your hands would likely be wet. You could also listen to music in your target language, learning the lyrics beforehand so that you can sing along.

A similar exercise could work while you commute to work, however you might want to concentrate on driving, and speaking or singing aloud to yourself on public transport might not be the best idea.

Mixing up your relaxation time

If you enjoy kicking back at the end of the day with the television, consider mixing up your entertainment schedule with foreign entertainment. Rather than watching a film in your native language, opt instead to watch one in your target language. The trick is to make it a habit to the point it doesn’t become a chore. Let entertainment be the first motivator with the added benefit of learning, and then it won’t feel like studying at all.

Many of the popular streaming services available today offer foreign films and shows complete with subtitles in multiple languages.

Label your life

A great way to learn everyday words in your target language is by posting adhesive notes around the house with the translations of each object. For example, you could translate the word for “lamp” into your target language, jot it down onto an adhesive note, and then stick it upon a lamp in your home. Now, every time you see your lamp, you’ll remind yourself of the word in your target language.

Doing this throughout the house can really help with learning the words for less commonly mentioned household items. Just remember to remove the stickers before hosting guests.

Listen to the news in your target language

If you like to listen to the news at the start of each day, opt instead to listen to the news in your target language. If you prefer to read the news, read it in your target language as well. Besides getting a new perspective on world events, it’s a great way to learn a few new words daily while staying informed of world events.

To prevent you from exhausting yourself in the morning, limit yourself to a pre-specified allotment of time for consuming the news. It shouldn’t feel like a lesson, rather it should be a part of your everyday routine.

However you choose to slip in language learning into your chores and everyday routine, make sure to keep it fun. Go easy on yourself and reserve the hard stuff for when you have time to really sit down and study. You’ll find that by doing similar exercises above, you’ll learn without feeling like you’re studying, and a little bit each day can end up amounting to a whole lot.

How do you fit in study into your everyday life? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on language learning tips!