Since learning to speak a language myself, I’ve valued the role of languages in schools. One of the most life-changing periods of my life was when I went to live in the city of Perugia as a part of my PhD studies in 2000-2001. Immersed in Italian language, I went from knowing a few words to becoming close to fluent in three months. It was an astonishing transformation, one that has enriched my life in so many ways. I fell deeply in love with the city and my experiences there, and it always has a place in my heart.
Fast forward 11 years. I’ve gone from research scientist to secondary teacher to primary teacher to eLearning coach. And the Writers’ Club continues to evolve and expand. But now, a new frontier has opened up. We recently welcomed a school from Indonesia to the site. This changes things, as Indonesian is the language taught at our school. Through our contact, we linked up via Skype this week.
So now this has me thinking – this has the potential to bring a whole new dimension to our language program. The Writers’ Club enables students to blog, but blogging in a foreign language (for both schools) could be asking a bit much. Do the students start a pen-pal relationship using the messaging function? Do they use forums? How does Skype fit in?
My head is spinning. I can see the tremendous value in this, but my lack of knowledge of how to teach languages is stifling my ideas. I am pleased though that this is yet another way for the Writers’ Club to facilitate connections around the world.