Learning a 2nd Language – Immersion vs Classroom – VOA Special English 2014

Âm Nhạc

From VOA Learning English this is As It Is. I’m Anna Matteo in Washington.
Today on, As It Is, we will hear about something our listeners do every day they hear, read or watch VOA Learning English– learning a 2nd language.
We will hear whether being surrounded by a foreign language, or immersed in it, is the best way to learn a language. Or are traditional lectures with grammar rules and vocabulary lists the best way to learn to speak like a native speaker.
Steve Ember has more on that topic.
What is the best way to learn a new language? A small study of foreign language learning in adults compared 2 methods. 1 is known as the explicit or classroom method. This is the kind of traditional classroom teaching where students are taught a lot of information about grammar rules.
The other method is known as the implicit or immersion method. The idea here is to learn much the way children do when they learn a native language. That is, by being with native speakers and absorbing the language that surrounds them, generally without a lot of explanation. Teachers may combine these 2 methods into what Professor Michael Ullman calls immersion-style classroom teaching. But is that necessarily a better way to learn a language?
Mr. Ullman was the senior investigator for the new study. He is a professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington. He says he was surprised to find that combining the 2 methods might not help the brain in processing the new language. “You know, if my life were on the line, and I had to learn a language, what would I do? I’m not sure. 1 possibility would be that, to start with explicit and then go to immersion, right? Start with classroom and then go to immersion. But there is this possibility that classroom could hurt later immersion. That’s what, you know, 1 possibility of interpreting our data.” The Public Library of Science published the study earlier this year. The 21 adults in the experiment learned Brocanto2, a thirteen-word language created for the study. The words and grammar rules relate to a computer game similar to chess that the learners played. For example, “Blom neimo lu neep li praz” means “The square blom-piece switches with the neep-piece.”
The researchers tested the people 3 to 6 months after they had learned the language, to see how well they could remember it. The study found that those who had learned it with the immersion method had brain waves similar to those of native speakers of a language when speaking that language. Professor Ullman says those who trained with the classroom method also became more native-like in their brain processing. But only the immersion group showed full native-like processing of the grammar. Still, he says teachers should be careful how they use the results of his study.
“You know I would not make any curriculum changes based on this. Nevertheless, it is suggestive, and I think it warrants further research to see whether in fact what kind of training might in fact be best not just for reaching the native brain bases but also for, you know, maximum proficiency in different aspects of language, like grammar, you know, syntax and lexicon. So I think further research is warranted. And it may be, for example, that a combination of classroom and immersion might be best. But we don’t know that.”
I’m Steve Ember.
And I’m Anna Matteo. So which way of learning a language is working best for you? Do you think immersion is the best way to learn a language? Or do you believe the traditional lecture model is good enough? Let us know in our comment section! And find us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for more Learning English stories.

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27 thoughts on “Learning a 2nd Language – Immersion vs Classroom – VOA Special English 2014

  1. For my I think the traditional methods are better just at the begin (3 level) to make students stand on strong ground after that the immersion should be better than the traditional methods

  2. The traditional method does not work if you do not study the necessary time: Minimum 3 hours a day. Otherwise, is better the immersion method.

  3. I have been teaching English for 33 years and can say that a combination of classroom and immersion is the right thing to do while teaching a foreign language.

  4. I think the immersion is the best way to learn English is very important to improve your English skills.

  5. 1) Traditional lectures or classroom method with grammar rules and vocabulary lists.

    2) Full immersion with native speaker, then you get discouraged because you realize that the previous efforts don't pay off!

    3) Then drink a bottle of good red wine! To forget it …!
    A bottle is too much, but one or two glass of red wine helps!

    In my case in which I did a lot of otitis when I was a baby, drinking a glass of red wine and eat ginger (the root) helps a lot to catch more English speech!

  6. I think you need both, because one thing is to be able to communicate, a very different one is to write an essay, take classes of other subjects in English. You can ask yourself how are you going to relearn the most important thing in the language, the vocabulary, without the classic method? Your brain has already learned the name and utility of the things in a set of codes, and you are trying to add another code to identify the same things. Once you've gotten the most common vocabulary then the immersion process will produce its meaningful effects.

  7. Dear People at VOA Special English:

    I follow you for many years from the time of Short Wave Radio Broadcast.

    I am a Primary School Teacher from Chile, but this time I want to know about the technology you use to produce this special Englis video.

    As a Teacher, I have a similar video in my yotube channel, in order to help young chilean learners in our mother tonge Spanish.


    In my Channe you can see what I have been doing with the Oficial Reading Books from our Education Departament. www.mineduc.cl.

    Righ now I am apply for a contest in order to present and produce same VIDEOBOOks, to give away to families in DVD Format, and also to shools and Libraries in USB ThumDrives mp4 format to use in tablet, netbooks PC´s, cel phones or any platfor that admit mp4 video format.

    Please give a hand or some advice hao do you make this wonderful videos.

    Thak you so much in advance.

    Carlos Toledo Verdudo




  8. As a teacher for 17 years I have learned that intensive immersion is best…..This is why I have started up a new intensive full immersion program. http://englishexperiences.com. Full Immersion in an English Speaking Country, but with a teacher there beside you to correct your mistakes, teach you vocabulary that you need in that moment for natural conversation, and customized private and small group lessons for what you need. …This really is the best, most fun, natural and fastest way to improve your English!

  9. according to my personal experience currently i can talk four language but the method that i followed was the combination between the classic method and the immersion, so thank Voa i hepled alot to enhance my vocabulary as well as my learning skills.

  10. I love VOA Special English videos. I use them and recommend them to all those who want to speak with an excellent pronunciation; but…….(By the way, I understood the message of the video perfectly well) Even so, I´ve been teaching for 36 years. Please, I just have a message for those who say that the best way to learn a foreign language is by learning it the same way you learned your native language; please, stop lying to those students who hate grammar or study hard…. you can´t learn it the same way as you learned your native language because YOU ARE NOT A BABY ANYMORE, YOU ARE A TEENAGER OR AN ADULT and the patterns "sculpted" in your brain are those of your native language. To teach students without grammar rules, you must bombard them with a great deal of listening, repetition, reading, writing and in our modern world there´s no time for that. I sometimes teach three hours a week to some groups. Is that enough for them to learn without rules? Another message, Teachers, if you don´t know grammar or you don´t want to lose your pupils, that´s a different story, but don´t repeat that phrase "Learn it as you learned your own language" That´s lying.Another lie is saying that native teachers are better at teaching their language, were it so, every Mexican can teach Spanish and every Chinese citizen can teach Chinese, that´s not so. If we are talking about a native speaker who is a real TEACHER, OK, I shut up. But even these teachers don´t know how far they can go when teaching as everything is easy for them, but not so easy for the student.The best way is learning it well in class and after you have a good command of the language, if you have the money, the time and the visa, go and practice in the USA , England, etc. I haven´t met a Cuban, Mexican or Latino who has learned English by simply living in the USA without studying it.I have had students who lived in the USA ten years and refuse to have their mistakes corrected as they tell me "Americans used to understand me, why do you correct me?, blab blab blab. Another solution is listening to radio stations the whole day, but if you don´t study grammar, you end up understanding everything and speaking enough as to be understood at a cafeteria

  11. very good, I have learned a lot from VOA,  I learn many words day after day and the most important I love Anna Matteo's voice is wonderful god bless you dear Anna you have the most beautiful voice in the world

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