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Teaching World Languages: Tips for Using MERLOT World Languages Learning Materials

The MERLOT World Language collection represents diverse tools and approaches to learning languages. As you peruse the collection, keep in mind that these sites can be adapted for your use in any number of ways: as self-study materials assigned for students as homework, as pair and small group work with tangible tasks assigned, and in many cases, projected for whole class activities.

Example 1: Self Study

Add a link to Breaking News English from your class website. Assign ESL learners 10-15 minutes of practice in communicating about current events in English.

Do your students need to practice verb conjugation in Spanish, French, German and Latin? They will enjoy the game-like structure of Conjuguemos.

Do you want to add a link to a good target language dictionary to your syllabus, course management system or instructor web site? Visit Lexilogos for resources in many languages.

Do your students need practice listening to authentic language spoken by native speakers in the target culture? Assign the video clips from the LangMedia archive.

Example 2: Pair and small group work

Assign the Teen Travel Experts Webquest to your Spanish learners. Be sure that each role for the quest is assigned and that learners have the time and opportunity to work together to achieve the quest.

In a lab setting, have pairs or groups of learners find the front pages of newspapers in the language they are studying by using Today's Front Pages. Students can use the Map View to look at the same story in a few different newspapers. They can then compare their findings in an in-class discussion.

Example 3: Whole Class Activity

Use the assorted realia at the Realia Project site to stimulate conversations in French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Project the unit on Civilisation Française that aligns with your current syllabus. As a group, scroll through the various activities directing one class member to click or input as needed. Learners can discuss such decisions as well as the content projected in the target language. 

Following the Year of Languages, listen together to a Talkin' About Talk segment on the importance of learning languages. Discuss in the target language.


Finally, please share the ways you make use of items in the MERLOT World Language collection by submitting Assignments and/or Member Comments. Remember you must be a member of MERLOT to make submissions.