This post is sponsored by Verizon FiOS as part of the #FIOSPhilly Campaign.
My day gig gets more interesting each day. I love that I can travel the world without leaving my neighborhood,. With the help of my students, I can now greet people in six different languages! Using Fios with my students has made communicating so much easier.
Google Translate is still my top resource. With over one hundred languages, it’s rare that I can’t work with someone. I really like the voice to text feature during class. Sometimes my Philly accent doesn’t always translate even close to the British English some of my students have studies. The clear computer generated voice can clear up any confusion.
Translate Voice Free is also in heavy rotation. The students from Ukraine swear it’s better than Google Translate, mainly because Russian is actually one of the choices of the ten languages.
I’ve introduced the students to Pinterest and it is just as addictive to them as it is to me. As usual, food is a bridge to all cultures. When the conversation lulls during practice, I ask about a dish that is the specialty of the student’s country. I use their enthusiasm over this dish to encourage them to talk not just to me but to the rest of the class as a way to
Fridays continue to be the best day to see how far my students have come. There’s no need to coax anyone to speak – the women come in chatting away, ready to display their current work in progress or finished item. They proudly show off blankets, purses, or pot holders to name a few items, and whip out their hooks to start the next project. Initially I provided patterns and old magazines to sneak in a reading lesson. That is useless. The women can look at a picture and duplicate by sight. The entire time they are talking, showing a newbie how to start a chain, and producing dazzling designs. I snap pictures and try to talk them into opening Etsy shops.
For more structured learning, Duolingo is a great app. This learning game can be played on a mobile device or tablet.
I’ve used Skype to practice Spanish with people from South America, and have my students call me if they need to rehearse before a phone call, job interview, or meeting with their child’s school.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Amazon.com. Kindle Unlimited is a great way to enhance reading skills. I use my account to download books for extra lessons after class. Personally, I use it to read Spanish novels once I exhaust the local newspapers (the Presidential election in any language is still just as maddening).
Using Verizon both at work and home has been a great way to enhance language learning.