How to use the Internet in a relevant way in a language class?


The Internet is a rich resource which is part of the everyday life of students. Only using books and CD’s is obsolete. Language teachers should follow the news, the trends, and offer various innovative and motivating activities made from documents that they find on relevant websites. It allows the students to reinforce their learning and their motivation to learn a foreign language and a new culture. Here are some suggestions about how to use the Internet in a language class.

The Internet, a limitless source of authentic documents.

An authentic document is a document which was conceived for the native speakers and which is in the language that the students are learning. This type of documents is very motivating because they link the learning of a language to the real world. These documents are the best friends of the language teachers because they are various: images, commercials, videos. The choice of the documents will depend on your instructional goal but also on the level and the interests of the students. Studying important themes for native speakers is crucial so that the students can understand the challenges and the concerns of a foreign society. It’s a good way of discovering multiculturalism and of becoming a citizen of the world.

It’s possible to study all the subjects thanks to resources from the Internet. You can use the document as it is or you can adapt it to the level of your students. You can shorten it, you can use the video without the sound, students can imagine dialogues…

Taking part in the social web:

The social web is an excellent tool to allow students to practice their language skills being mixed with native speakers. For instance, if they comment on an article on the website of a famous newspaper or write about their own experiences on some specific websites, they will be participants in the culture they’re discovering. What a reward to be able to do that!

Using a blog:

A lot of teachers already have their own blog for their students. One of the relevant goals of such a tool if the customization of your class to the level, difficulties, and interests of your students.

A blog can have various tabs. One can be about theory. A clear written article about a point that you studied in class can reassure students and reinforce their learning. Another tab can be dedicated to the content made by your students…

A blog can also be a device for other teachers at your school and more interestingly, for teachers from schools in other countries. It can be the channel for intercultural exchange.

A blog is a tool that you build slowly but which will have positive consequences on the results and on the motivation of your students. Besides, you will be able to use some of its content with other students for years.

Switch roles!

Thanks to the Internet, students can become teachers and teachers can become students. In other words, you can ask your students to research information to introduce a cultural theme, for example. They prepare a written or an oral presentation about a monument, a city, a tradition… When the facts and the quality of the language are checked, they can continue working on the theme making a podcast, a video, or an article for your blog…

Let’s protect the planet!

While you use the Internet for your teaching, you save trees! Indeed, you don’t need to print and copy anything. As long as the students know where they can find the content of the class, they will find everything with their laptop. Being paperless is much more practical and so much better for our planet!

The internet can and must revolutionize language classes. Living languages must be lived by the students and not only learnt. Students will feel more involved when they are active and feel like part of the culture they’re learning. Learning a foreign language is also becoming a citizen of the world and the Internet is the perfect tool to make the world your village.

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