In the past, students traditionally learned foreign languages in a class room set up with a teacher and a text book. Often classes were boring and failed to inspire the students – even those who were engaged with the learning process. This was often because the style of teaching was to address the class as a whole and was rarely tailored to the needs and expectations of the individual. All too often text books described French language grammar and introduced vocabulary in ways that were meaningless to a modern audience. For instance, verbs might be described in ways that only school children would find appropriate as well as examples of everyday expressions being given in out-of-date ways, like referencing old pop-stars..
Of course, it has been a process. Many modern language courses were simply converted to internet pages which you gained access to after paying a subscription fee. Unlike classroom teaching, it allowed students to practice their French language skills at a time that suited them, but the course content was rarely anything better than you could get from a book. These days, mobile technology is the primary means of learning the major European languages. It allows students to carry about everything they need in their pocket. So, if you are booking a hotel room or ordering a meal in a French restaurant you can use the online resources conveniently and specify the language tutorial you need.
If you take the example of booking accommodation in a French town, you may not have the necessary language skills to do it. Even if you do, you may want a quick refresher on the sort of vocabulary that might come up. Using a dictionary for this can be a bit time consuming. Instead opt for an Android French language application on your smart phone and head to the section that deals with hotels. Here, students can not only read the necessary vocabulary, but hear the correct pronunciation of auberge de jeunesse, hôtel or chambres d’hôtes, for example. Going into a social interaction or a commercial one, like booking a room, can be difficult in a foreign language when you are not prepared. These mobile applications help in such situations and once the words have been used in earnest, they tend to stick. This is so much better then the endless role play that you used to get in classroom situations.
One thing to remember is that mobile applications for iPhones and tablets are not simply glorified phrase books. You can use that way, sure, by searching for a keyword like “airport”. Nonetheless, many such apps also offer sections on grammar so you can begin to express yourself in your own way. Because they often require no live internet access – you download the material in sections beforehand – you can use them anywhere to brush up on more complex linguistic sentence construction, such as pluperfect French verbs or subjunctive phrases like je voudrais, for instance. And the best thing about them is that there is no boring homework to do – you simply learn at your own pace.