It is that time of year that many of us are preparing to go back to school. If you are going to study a language this year, either as a new subject or as part of an ongoing series, there are many things you can do outside of the classroom that can seriously improve your grades.
You can take responsibility for your own learning and take charge of the direction in which your language study is headed. Start working a little more outside of the classroom, but make sure it’s something different than what you do in class. Look for supplemental resources to learn from and new ways to use what you are learning.
Get a language course. It can be a bit tricky to get one that is well suited to the course you are taking in class, but if you can get the right type of course for you, you can really complement your classroom learning and move forward in class.
Join a language community. There are dozens of language communities on the Internet that can help you learn a language in many ways. You can study vocabulary, grammar, practice dialogue, read articles, and listen to unique content. You can even participate in email exchanges, text chats, and voice chats, all in the language you are studying. The best part is that you can find most, if not all, of these features for free on the internet.
Read websites and blogs. There are tons of free resources and content on the internet for learning a new language. Some in the language you are learning are simple enough that even a beginner can take great advantage of them. But there are also many other resources just for students.
Listen to podcasts. Like websites and blogs, you can find plenty of podcasts to listen to, both in the language you’re learning and some really great ones specifically for learning that language.
Listen to music, watch movies and play games. Don’t limit yourself to just “learning materials.” Try to do things just for fun. Even if this is the only additional study you do outside of the classroom, this can go a long way towards learning and real absorbing the language.
By using some of these simple ideas, you can greatly improve your ability to read and understand your target language. And if you go a little further and try a little harder, your ability to write and speak the language will improve by leaps and bounds. You will gain more than a “head start” in your competition and improve your grades – your fellow students and your teacher will be blown away!