24 votes
Accepted

What are the main foreign language teaching methods?

There are lots of possible methods, including the ones presented by moramodules (visit the site for more information): The Grammar-Translation Approach: This approach actually uses mainly the learner'...
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  • 5,198
9 votes
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What is the Pimsleur method?

This is an "unofficial" explanation based on my personal experience. What is it? Pimsleur method is an series of audio-courses that focus heavily on auditory/verbal perception, as oppose to visual ...
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  • 987
9 votes
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What is phonics?

Phonics is a method of teaching English-speaking children to read and write English by connecting the phonemes (or sounds) of the spoken language with graphemes ("letters") or letter groups in the ...
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  • 19.2k
9 votes

What are the advantages and disadvantages of direct methods (using only the target language)?

Historically, the direct method is a language teaching method (rather than a learning method) developed by Maximilian Berlitz at the end of the 19th century. Berlitz called it the "Berlitz Method", ...
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  • 19.2k
8 votes
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of direct methods (using only the target language)?

There are tons of advantages and disadvantages to the direct method. The direct method is put simply as a teaching method that use only the target language. This itself presents some of disadvantages,...
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  • 5,198
6 votes
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Evidence that learning radicals speeds up character learning in Chinese?

The 1999 article "Using Radicals in Teaching Chinese Characters to Second Language Learners" by Marcus Tuft and Kevin Chung reported on a study where students who new nothing about the Chinese writing ...
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  • 19.2k
6 votes

What is the Pimsleur method?

The Pimsleur method is named after Paul Pimsleur, who was a professor in applied linguistics. According to Wikipedia, he identified three factors that could be measured to calculate language ...
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6 votes
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Does it take "about 50 exposures for most words to be retained in long term memory"?

There are two important things about Terry Waltz that you need to know: she teaches Chinese to native speakers of English, so not everything she says about learning Chinese automatically applies to ...
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  • 19.2k
5 votes

How can I progress from A1 to B2 on listening skills?

I found myself in a similar predicament early on in my language learning endeavors. Many people fall into the fallacy of "when I am watching TV or listening to it, I am only learning if I understand ...
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5 votes

Should literacy in the L1 be taught before teaching reading & writing in an L2?

Yes. From general viewpoint, learning your L1 first and being proficient at it can help you with your L2 as you can associate L2 vocab with the L1 vocab as seen with methods like the Translation ...
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  • 5,198
4 votes
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Effectiveness of reformulating incorrect sentences as feedback?

Below is a relevant fragment of my Master's thesis. The focus is on written feedback, but oral feedback is mentioned, too. Based on that, I would say that giving the student a reformulated sentence is ...
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  • 2,244
4 votes

Is it acceptable to use one's mother tongue in teaching English?

Whether or not you use the student's native language when teaching a foreign language depends mainly on two factors: the "distance" between the target language (here English) and the native language, ...
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4 votes

How to teach someone to correctly pronounce tones in tonal languages such as Standard Chinese?

To practice pronouncing two tones together, such as 哪里 and 那里, you could try tone pair drills. Chinese has a lot of two-character words and twenty possible combinations of tones and practicing these ...
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4 votes

How to teach someone to correctly pronounce tones in tonal languages such as Standard Chinese?

How can I help other learners of Standard Chinese to get the tones right? Especially without being a native speaker myself? You can help learners of Standard Chinese (Mandarin) get the tones right by ...
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4 votes
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Is it difficult for the low proficiency learner to learn a second language like English?

Success at all academic school subjects is highly and positively correlated. I think success in all subjects, including for example physical education, music and crafts in addition to the more ...
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  • 3,300
4 votes
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Is the use of mother-tongue in the English class a boon or a bane?

The "sink-or-swim" method, that is, teaching entirely in the target language, only works if your students are "swimming." If they are "sinking" in the total immersion environment, they are better off ...
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  • 971
3 votes

How can I progress from A1 to B2 on listening skills?

I assume you already considered and used listening for the same podcast multiple times. If you can get an audio with a transcript, listening comprehension should be easier. When I was learning ...
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3 votes
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How are the Pimsleur courses and Michel Thomas courses different?

The Pimsleur program offers courses with more audio time and covering a larger number of languages. Pimsleur is built on a "spaced repetition" approach. Some people dislike that approach when they ...
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  • 987
3 votes
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If someone gets a phrase correct, how many more times should they practice it?

According to research that I cited in this answer, "a typical learner should meet a word about 8 to 10 times to obtain full word knowledge" (F. Rasouli and K. Jafari: "A Deeper Understanding of L2 ...
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3 votes

At what level of Chinese or Japanese should one start learning the writing system to avoid a plateau?

I can only say something about Chinese. According to my experience, when you are a beginner, the learning of the spoken language is quite independent of the learning of the written language. That is, ...
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  • 2,244
3 votes
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Efficient way to teach English singular/plurals and verb tenses to Chinese students

There are several questions in one. Let me focus on plurals first. First things first: from personal experience communicating with Thai native speakers, many would skip the -s simply because of ...
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  • 1,353
3 votes
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How does flow relate to language competency? Can it be taught/learned?

K. Anders Ericsson, the father of deliberate practice and expert on learning, pretty much destroys flow as a good learning method in this article. It is clear that skilled individuals can sometimes ...
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  • 4,996
2 votes

How to overcome verb tense confusion

(Note: I am writing the response in an impersonal form only to make it generic across learners.) I would break the problem down into three parts: awareness, learning the correct forms (conjugations) ...
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  • 19.2k
2 votes

Teaching the Present Continuous before the Simple Present?

Teaching the present continuous first would make sense for highly inflected languages like Spanish. You only need to learn six present-tense conjugations of the verb estar (to be) according to person, ...
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  • 971
2 votes

Is it possible to read Braille from vibration motors?

It would be very hard to do so unless you had very precise motors whose vibrations only go through a short distance on a soft surface. To get a "visual" why, place one of your hands on a table then ...
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  • 5,198
2 votes

How to motivate a tandem partner to do exercises that are not part of a compulsory language test?

Building on what lordingtar said, you could try to get them involved in whatever media consumption/ cultural activities you can find. For instance, you could invite them over to watch movies in German ...
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  • 789
2 votes

Evidence that learning radicals speeds up character learning in Chinese?

Let me add a couple of thoughts. I'm posting them here, as they are too long for a comment. A good SLA study should not only provide empirical results, but also a model that explains them. The ...
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  • 2,244
2 votes

How to teach someone to correctly pronounce unaspirated t and p in Standard Chinese?

The following technique can be used to teach native speakers of English or German to pronounce the unaspirated p and t at the beginning of a word or syllable. In both English and German, the ...
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  • 19.2k
2 votes

How can I progress from A1 to B2 on listening skills?

I'd go back to a technique we last used in grade school, "oral reading." If you can write at a B2 level, you know a lot of characters. You can probably read (silently) at this level (or higher). ...
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