Lisbeth Egerod teaches Danish at IA Sprog. She has taught Danish as a second language for over 30 years and knows the typical challenges of the various target groups. She shares her experiences with us and offers her take on using resources in the best way possible – in particular in order to ensure successful language learning in the workplace.
Learning a second language as an adult can be challenging. But if we can manage to become aware of our own resources, and how to use them optimally, we stand a greater chance at success in language learning. So how does that work in real life?
Lisbeth: “It is very much the students themselves who arrive here already in possession of the resources for learning yet another language. Most have already had experience learning other languages and are accustomed to everyday routines with many languages. But learning a new language is hard work. That is why we must help them make language learning a part of their everyday routine.”
It is natural to learn Danish in the workplace – but it won’t happen all by itself
Lisbeth: “Many of our students’ jobs do not have Danish as the common language, either because few – if any – of the employees speak Danish, or because the company is an international one, and the language in the office is English. So we must help students find other natural learning opportunities in their everyday lives.”
IA Sprog can assist students in creating opportunities to speak Danish. A good example is the school’s offer of a ‘conversation buddy’ in addition to the classes. The language school is collaborating with a large corps of skilled volunteers who meet with the students, providing them with their very own personal conversation partner. And the student can be sure that the ‘conversation buddy’ is a supportive, encouraging and cooperative partner.
Lisbeth: “The sense of achievement with the ‘conversation buddy’ will give the student the courage to initiate conversations in Danish with others in their daily lives. There is nothing more encouraging for a class than when students relate how they have successfully engaged in a conversation with their colleagues, clients or some other person in Danish.”
Why is motivation important?
Lisbeth: “Motivation is crucial when you are learning a second language. It is a very complex phenomenon, and motivation depends on all sorts of changing conditions in the students’ lives. As a teacher, one must pay attention to the ‘motivation profiles’ of the students, in order to give each student the best support or challenge, depending on the circumstances.”
It is our experience here at IA Sprog that continuous follow-up by the school’s teachers and counselors can help give students new inspiration for tackling any problems they are having learning the language. It is also an advantage for the students that we offers many different kinds of Danish lessons such as intensive courses, Blended Learning, online education and weekend classes. This enables the student to attend the courses that best suit their current life situation.
More and more are learning Danish as a second language through Blended Learning
So even if you are terribly busy on the job, you are able to learn Danish. Many students benefit from IA’s various Blended Learning courses, where attendance classes are combined with online learning activities. It provides for great flexibility that you don’t need to spend many hours at the school every week. But it also calls for good learning habits on the student’s part.
The next generation of learning materials to be launched in the autumn of 2017
At IA Sprog, we have a long tradition of creating our own teaching materials based on the instructors’ experience with what works well in a teaching context. It also provides a more economically efficient school, because the cost of licensing is cut away. The school owns more than 100 learning videos with talented actors, such as Mia Lyhne.
This year, IA Sprog is launching a new teaching system that Lisbeth Egerod is behind. It has to work both in classroom training with a digital supplement for homework and as part of a Blended Learning concept.
Lisbeth: “The material will help the teacher provide the optimal learning experience for the students. The sense of achievement in the classroom helps boost students’ learning. Of course, this becomes even more obvious if the teaching in the classroom connects to the students’ opportunities for learning and needs for Danish outside school. That is why the material has special focus on raising awareness, on resources, commitment and community,” Lisbeth relates. And what she means by these four key words, she explains below.
- Awareness-raising: “We raise awareness among students about how they can learn in and outside the classroom.”
- Resources: “We support the students in discovering, using and developing their learning resources optimally.”
- Engagement: “We start with the students’ perspective to better maintain their motivation.”
- Community: “We create the framework for a working partnership with mutual support and encouragement, which reinforces learning.”
IA Sprog has focused on giving students the tools to use their time learning efficiently and make learning Danish a part of their everyday life – in the workplace too. And to make Danish classes even more accessible, we also offer targeted courses at many workplaces in close cooperation with the company’s HR or development officer.
IA Sprog has existed since 1977 and teaches approximately 6000 students every year. The school accentuates a high level of professionalism, up-to-date teaching and effective learning with an optimal use of resources – both the school’s resources and the students’.