Everything sounds better in French

Paris is often regarded as the city of love and by extension, French is viewed as the language of love. It is undeniable that certain languages simply sound better than others. But why is this so?

The Roman emperor, Charles V, once said, “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” You might laugh, but many a language has developed over the years because of phonetic preferences over the general linguistic rule. But is that all? Sounds are common over many different languages, but the way we might feel about French is not the same way we might feel about German. A recent study concluded that people prefer languages that belong to cultures that are similar to their own.

Certain phonetic rules and sounds in the Thai language appeal to those with similar sounds in their native language.

Specifically, we tend to judge a language from the way we regard their people. This is why culture is so important when learning a language. Therefore, a businessman might value Chinese because China is currently an economic powerhouse and an emerging market leader. This theory also applies to languages that are widely spoken and therefore open more communication channels to different groups of people.

Our belief that a language is more romantic or harsh comes from our own understanding and perception of the people and their culture. For example, when I think about French, I imagine a cobblestone street, a quiet afternoon sur la rue and my French lover proposing at the Eiffel Tower. Voilà, the language of love is rooted in the way I perceive their society.

Linguistically, there are many foreign languages with different linguistic and semantic rules that may not appeal to a native English speaker, for example. Tones that are alien to the speaker, may be harder on the ear and therefore sound less enticing. But this is still all rooted in our psyche.

Everything sounds better in French.. or does it?

The more we understand about one another and of another culture, the more accepting we can become. There isn’t much of a point in learning a language if you are not going to want to speak it to its people. When we travel to France, most of us try to pick up a little bit of the language or at least key phrases like “where is the toilet?” (“Où est aux toilettes?”, you’re welcome). The argument can be made that we often fall in love with the culture and the people and then the language. This is also the best way to inspire a love for the language, which can help with the learning process.

At Agape School of Education, our language classes are interwoven with culture. We hope to inspire a love of learning and the language through a deeper understanding of the language, be it their culture, their people or even their food! We also provide playgroups for small children. This course, which is available in different languages, exposes your child to foreign languages and a like-minded community at a young age. If everything doesn’t sound better in French to you, perhaps it’s time to find out which language appeals to you! Come down today to find out how we can help you learn a foreign language for any purpose! Find a course online here.

3 Places to Watch Foreign Films in Singapore

While Netflix, Amazon and Itunes have made watching movies at home convenient, the experience of going down to the movies with friends is one that is not readily replicated at home. Here are some places you should head down to for that awesome movie experience.

1. Ciné Club
Okay, so this is not a cinema- rather, it is a movie club hosted by the Alliance Française de Singapour. However, I would argue that it being a movie club is even better for those among us who are flying solo- after all, what could be better than watching awesome films and perhaps making a new friend or two?
Address: Alliance Française de Singapour , 1 Sarkies Rd, Singapore 258130

2. The Projector
One of the only independent theatres left in Singapore, The Projector shows both box offices successes as well as smaller, indie films. They also occasionally host film festivals, which can be quite valuable to foreign language students since they get to experience overarching themes in films that are produced within a language.
Address: 6001 Beach Road, #05-00, Golden Mile Tower, 199589

3. Carnival Cinemas
Located at the Second floor of Shaw Towers, Bombay Talkies exclusively screens Hindi movies- presumably for Indian foreign workers. That said, if you’re learning Hindi, you might as well go take a look. While the tickets are more expensive, you’re getting more bang for your buck, given the long duration of Bollywood movies.
Address: 100 Beach Road, #02-00 Shaw Towers, 189702, Singapore

Awesome Free Korean Weobtoons to read (and reread)

Korean dramas have taken most of Asia (and arguably, the world) by storm. Thus it should be no surprise that their lesser-known cousin, the webcomic, has also gathered its own following internationally. Just as dramas are excellent resources to learn spoken language, webcomics are also a great resource for learning about written Korean.

As LINE Webtoon also offers official English translations, you can compare them with the original (and even critique them)! The best part? While some webcomics are pay-to-view, quite a few of them are free to view.
1. Tower of God
This is a webcomic written by S.I.U, as part of his Tazer universe. This story centres around Baam, who is following a girl up a mysterious tower. This particular webcomic reads a lot like an epic rather than a periodic comic, given that the author is still slowly filling us in on the details of the tower, its inhabitants and rulers. However, if you’re not daunted by the sheer length of the comic, it is a rewarding read.

2. Noblesse
This webcomic follows the story of Rai, a vampire, after he wakes up in modern day Japan after 800 years of sleeping and the people that he meets along the way. The comics provide some extremely funny and light moments (like when a vampire gifts cup noodles). That said- the authors do not skimp on the storyline either- the world and the storyline is realistic and fairly complex. This webtoon is also episodic, which makes it easy to finish in several reads.

3. The Gamer
Still a relatively new comic, The Gamer details the life of the protagonist Han Jee-Han, a high school student after he gains an ability called The Gamer. This ability turns his life into a real-life game, complete with quests, rewards and allies out of a video game. While the premise might seem a little silly (and there are plenty of lighthearted moments)- there is also an interesting overarching storyline.

What is the best age to learn a language?

In Singapore, our curriculum is structured such that children are exposed to English and a second language at the tender age of 7. Many are exposed to a second language at a younger age as their parents are bi- or multi-lingual. Many researchers have published studies indicating that a exposure to a second language at a young age is beneficial for the child’s learning ability and mental processes.

Perhaps this is due to linguist and neurologist, Eric Heinz Lenneberg’s, critical period theory. In a nutshell, his theory states that children who have not yet hit puberty have the most capacity to learn a new language. This is because younger children are thought to use both sides of the brain for learning but as we get older, language learning is localised primarily in the left hemisphere. Therefore, when we are younger, learning a new language is thought to be more of a natural and intuitive process.

Children often learn from various stimuli including their surroundings, other children and adults

Children learn using information and stimuli from their environment. On the other hand, adults learn language as part of a conscious process and therefore require strict instruction and, more importantly, intention. However, this theory has come under scrutiny and debate recently. While researchers have always debated over the length of the critical period, the debate now surrounds the efficacy of this period of learning. Some have also cast doubts about the existence of the critical period all together.

If exposed to a certain language at a young age, does this guarantee that the child will be fluent in that language throughout their life? Are adult learners simply wasting their time in language classes?

The good news is, there is no ‘magical’ period of learning, where you can ‘soak up language like a sponge’. Every level of learning requires intent and work. While it may seem like children are fast learners, this does not guarantee that the child will remain fluent throughout their lives. Indeed, this does not even guarantee that the child learns the language properly. Grammar is not an innate thing, but rather a learnt skill. Therefore, while it is important to teach a child proper language acquisition, it does not restrict an adult from learning a new language.

So, how does the brain ‘learn’ new languages?

Our brains form new connections whenever we learn new information. This malleability of the brain is most optimal in children, therefore their ability to retain new information is better than that of an adult. However, no amount of learning can help and adult or a child if the intent to learn is not present. This is where older learners (anyone past puberty) benefit, because more often than not, these learners understand the important of learning a new language.

At ASE, we use many different materials to help our students learn effectively

Many more factors apart from age and malleability of the brain play a part in acquiring a new language. These factors are also different between students and therefore when learning a new language, it is important that the teacher understand these different needs. At Agape School of Education, we ensure that each student is taught in the most effective way possible. Our teachers identify the needs of individual students and tailor classes accordingly. With regular student reports and assessments, we ensure that our students are on the right track and allow them to monitor themselves. Perhaps most importantly, we aspire to inspire a love for language in our students, young or experienced.

While there might not be an ideal age for language learning, there is certainly no time like the present to take up learning a new language. Contact us today for more information or view and book a course and get started!

Learning language through film

Mastering a foreign language just got easier. Specialised movies have blended entertainment and reading to create an enjoyable, yet effective way to learn.

How is this so? It’s possible thanks to the “natural approach.”

Movies are a useful tool that complements learning a foreign language.

Developed by Stephen Kashen, a linguistics expert, the natural approach is a philosophy that people can learn a foreign language naturally if the input is enjoyable, relaxed, entertaining and relevant. Similarly, Jérôme Paul, a French teacher, has been developing a teaching series entitled “Le Français illustré” attached below. It’s main purpose is using illustration to accompany words when teaching language, helping students better understand and connect with the language.

The concept has been shaped through research in linguistics, psychology, psycholinguistics and, most recently, multisensory media technology. Multisensory media technologies specifically targeting this form of learning is also available. Scientists and educators indicate that using captions with the film activate the cognitive elements of the brain so the development of both reading and spoken language skills take place naturally. Movies can also serve as a form of motivation, which not only helps learning, but also keeps the student in touch with the language.

​At every learning level, something can be garnered from this medium of language learning, be it culture, intonation, phrases or vocabulary! For example, accents are unique to different countries, even if they speak the same language. Students can often find this challenging, but exposure to different accents in movies can give them the comfort and familiarity with the sounds they are learning.

Recognising words or phrases during a movie, while rewarding, is also a marker of learning progress. Using movies to expand one’s vocabulary is a good way to gather relevant phrases and words to use in daily speech. Oftentimes, as students, we are unsure of the vocabulary we require until the situation arises. Movies simulate these situations and they’re generally enjoyable, which helps us retain that information.

So how do we find the right movies?

Singapore often hosts film festivals which screen popular movies and can be a fun activity for groups. Source: The AIRSCREEN Company (Christian Kremer)

There is no “right” movie, the key is that the movie or show should be enjoyable for the learner! Don’t force yourself to watch something just because it is in that language because then it becomes a chore. Each year, Singapore hosts numerous film festivals. One such example is the French Film Festival, which showcases the best films from the francophonie. Even if you don’t manage to score a ticket, you can use these festivals as a source for good movies, and popular actors and actresses.

However, all this said, we’re not saying you should throw out those books and sit down in front of the television. Classes and a good teacher are crucial to effective learning, but learning does not have to stop outside of the classroom. Many adult learners often get busy with work, home and life in general and learning a foreign language can quickly take a backseat. Soon, months go by and the language is all but forgotten. Movies can help students learn at their own leisure and keep them in touch with the language. You can even bring the film to class and discuss it with your teacher and other students.

At Agape School of Education, we use a wide variety of methods to cultivate a passion for language. We also understand that students are often busy and that life can get hectic. Therefore, our classes are modifiable to fit different people, different needs and different schedules. Find us online and choose from one of our 13 language courses today!

5 Reasons Why You Should Learn a Foreign Language

During the modern age, with globalisation at its height, knowing one or two secondary languages has become more than a simple feat of high class and intelligence but also a strict requirement in many occasions. Whether it’s for professional, social or personal reasons, learning at least one foreign language is a must for anyone that wants to keep his or her head up high in today’s society. Let’s take a focused look at 5 of the main reasons that should turn you towards learning a foreign language.

ASE also offers purely conversational courses for CEO’s and upper management, suited to their needs and schedules.

1. Professional Requirement

This is probably the main reason for which one would learn a foreign language. Many professions require the knowledge of at least one or two foreign languages, depending on the field of the job. Most jobs may ask that you know an international language such as English, French, Spanish or German or a business-specific language such as Chinese, Japanese, Russian and so forth. If you’re a native English speaker you may have it a bit easier since English is the main international language (and one that is present the most often in job descriptions) but knowing a secondary might also prove vital.

2. Social Bonus

Yes, knowing a foreign language (or more) is definitely a social bonus. There’s definitely a steep hill to climb between being presented as someone that doesn’t know any foreign language whatsoever against being presented as a polyglot. Another case when knowing a foreign language can be literally a social blessing is when meeting a foreigner whose language you can speak. They’ll be extremely impressed by your ability to talk with them through their own native tongue, although you’re on home grounds and this fact can single-handedly create a great impression on you. If the foreigner happens to be part of a business meeting, this impression can turn into a successful business partnership, bringing you both professional and social satisfactions.

3. Family Communication

It’s often the case where a couple formed out of persons of diverse nationalities understand each other through a commonly known international language such as English. However, they’ll soon want to start learning the other person’s mother tongue, not only for a better communication but also out of respect for them.

ASE offers language courses covering over 13 different foreign languages.

4. Personal Satisfaction

Learning a foreign language is one of the highest intellectual goals that one could have, on a personal scale. Think about a difficult puzzle or a math problem that takes months if not years of constant studying in order to be solved. The process of solving it may be a hard, arduous one but the yell of joy at the end is well worth it. Its the same case with learning a foreign language: the learning process is not easy and you’ll have many small issues and problems to tackle along the way. You’ll have to focus on various aspects of the problem, such as spelling, grammar, reading, pronunciation and so forth. If you keep the problem in sight however and if you don’t lose interest in it, the chances of solving it are extremely high and the intellectual fulfilment that you get at the end is incomparable to anything else.

5. Keeping Your Mind Healthy

It’s been scientifically proven that by learning a new language, the process stimulates your brain in such a way that it will make you keen to understand and learn other subjects, including real disciplines such as math, physics, chemistry and so forth. Learning a new language requires the memorisation and understanding of several thousand new words and concepts, which offers your brain a good training for future occasions where memorising is a must. After studying a foreign language you’ll have better results with studying for exams, with information assimilation and generally, with keeping your mind healthy and active even at older ages.

Come down to Agape School of Education and pick a foreign language course that you’re interested! If you’re a Singaporean citizen above the age of 25, you are eligible for the SkillsFuture Credit Scheme! Our Korean and German classes are claimable via SkillsFuture Credit.

What better way to improve yourself than by picking up a new language or refreshing rusty skills?

All About French-Speaking Countries

The French Language

Over 220 million people around the world speak French. This number includes people who speak French as a native language, as a second language and students of all ages who do not live in the Francophonie Française but have learned French. In fact, French as a foreign language is the second most commonly taught language worldwide after English. It is also the only foreign language that can be useful throughout the world, as well as, in the United States. French comes in second after English on the list of the world’s 10 most influential languages. Proof of this is the pivotal role French holds in politics. It is one of the official working languages in dozens of powerful international organisations such as the European Union, United Nations, World Health Organisation, World Trade Organisation and a host of other worldwide institutions. In addition, the Universal Postal Union, a part of the United Nations, together with the worldwide postal system, uses French the official language. English, a working language, was only introduced in 1994.

The French language of today is a direct result of long periods of evolution. France, throughout its long history, had been invaded by different ethnic tribal groups. The most distinguished of these are the Franks. They adopted the Latin language, which was spoken at that time and from which the French language descended. It is also known as one of the Romance languages, which include Catalan, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. They are called such because of their parent tongue, Latin, was the language of the Romans. Of course, this is not to say that French isn’t a romantic language, many a time Paris has been called the city of love. Over the years, the early French language has undergone changes in words and grammatical structures. It has evolved into the global French that is taught today.

French speak – Here, There and Everywhere

French is one of the world’s most influential languages and is the official language in more than 29 countries.

The French-speaking world spans the entire globe as it is heard and used in all continents. Aside from English, French is the only language spoken as a native or first language on five different continents.

In Europe, French is the official language of France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Belgium and Switzerland. France, with a population of more than 60 million, is one of the most modern countries in the world. It is one of the predominant leaders in the European Union. French is also a co-official language in Switzerland. This picturesque country is one of the world’s richest countries and the centre of many international associations. Belgium, in the half past century, has emerged as a progressive European state. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is home to the headquarters of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Cote d’Ivoire is a French-speaking African nation with one of the fastest growing economies worldwide, making French an important language in business.
Photo credit: Zenman

In Africa, there are over 20 French-speaking countries include Algeria, Burundi, Benin, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Madagascar, Morocco, Rwanda, Togo, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. In the Americas and the Caribbean, French is spoken in Canada, Haiti, French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe (these last three are French territories). In Australia and the Pacific, Vanuatu and the overseas French territories French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Fortuna are French-speaking. In total, there 29 countries using French worldwide and the Côte d’Ivoire is one such country often recognised for having one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As such, French is quickly becoming an important language in the business world.

In many other countries, French plays a significant role either as an administrative, commercial or international language. Some of these countries are Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Egypt, Greece, India, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Mauritania, Poland, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom (Channel Islands), United States particularly Louisiana and New England, the Vatican City, and Vietnam. Within the Francophonie Française there are associate members who, despite not being in a French-speaking country, are engaged in promoting the French language and its culture.

Learning French doesn’t have to be boring, especially since it’s a language with such rich history and culture. At Agape School of Education, our language classes are interwoven with culture. We hope to inspire a love of learning and the language through a deeper understanding of the language, be it their culture, their people or even their food! We also provide an executive conversational course for professionals and business leaders, called French Expresso. Our materials are specifically designed for high-level management and CEO’s. The French language is poised to be a key player in future expanding businesses worldwide. Come down today to find out how we can help you learn French for any purpose!

Taking learning language into the future

With the advent of multiple modes of language learning, where is the future for the traditional language class? Today, we have online platforms like Duolingo to help us learn a language whenever we want, wherever we want and however we want. This suits our busy schedules better than the traditional classroom with hard rules, a set timing and little leeway. So is the future of teaching language in the virtual world?

When it comes to teaching a language, the age-old method of focusing on the nitty-gritty aspects of linguistics continues to dominate. Even when we teach the English language in schools, we focus on grammar exercises and sentence structure. This is not to say that these aspects are unimportant, but if we condition our youths to think that learning a language is painstakingly tedious and dry, how can we expect them to place importance in it?

In Singapore, students often don’t understand or appreciate the benefits of learning a mother tongue or foreign language. This is surprising considering the emphasis the government and education syllabus places on students to encourage them to learn new languages. Perhaps one reason for this is the way it is taught in schools. One approach is used for the multitudes of students, all of whom learn in different ways. If learning one language becomes that difficult for a child, what’s the point of learning another? Another cause of this gap could be due to the ‘Asian mentality’, which places more emphasis on subjects such as maths and science, and relegates language to the backseat.

At the age of 9, Eitan used YouTube videos to teach himself different languages. He could read simple text, speak and write in 14 different languages. At Agape, Eitan gained the help he needed to go further in his language goals.

So perhaps the way forward is to emphasise teaching of the culture of the language. This is where the aspect of human interaction comes into play. Where virtual programmes have difficulty corresponding the nuances of culture, a teacher can excel. Of course, this change in teaching syllabus or style cannot happen overnight. It is important for schools to adapt and innovate according to the times. But does this mean we should embrace the idea of the virtual classroom, such as those on coursera or those conducted over Skype?

In theory, this is a good idea, but in practice, it runs into many problems. What is the one thing we depend on when learning a new language? Communication. Language is learnt for the whole purpose of communication, therefore when we take that out of the mix, the crux of learning a new language is lost. While courses conducted live over the internet do have an aspect of direct communication, it is usually very limited as these teachers often teach numerous students at the same time. Not to mention the issues related with breakdowns in technology. Small class sizes are crucial to learning a new language because it gives the teacher and the student quality interaction time. Learning a language in a class is also beneficial because students get the opportunity to test their theoretical knowledge in real time and can learn off one another. Another plus point is that their fellow students will be able to communicate at the same level of complexity.

Perhaps the final plus point of the traditional language class is the fact that it is a responsibility. Often, it is easy to forget or postpone an online class simply because you can determine when you want to do it. For many of us, this is a slippery slope to picking up that app or reviewing that course material once every six months. When progress is slow and irregular, it is easy to lose interest and give up. The traditional class, however, presents as a necessary appointment. It reflects the responsibility to yourself to complete what you have started.

Our Japanese teacher, Yuko, is well-known for inventing, and applying diversified approaches and pedagogy in her classrooms.

Therefore, although we can agree that teaching approaches must change and adapt to the times, the traditional classroom is not in danger of being overshadowed by the virtual domain. Rather, the virtual domain is a good supplementary resource to the traditional classroom method, being under the circumstance of ‘Blending Learning’ method. Blending learning is an education program that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While students still attend “brick-and-mortar” schools with a teacher present, face-to-face classroom practices are combined with computer-mediated activities regarding content and delivery.

As the rise of digital blending learning has grown so rapidly, we Agape School of Education have been trying to adopt it to our school program to allow students to maximize their learning efficiency. It will give students the opportunity to practice their skills, outside of the classroom, on their own time, at their own pace and in their own space. When properly implemented, blending learning can result in improved student’s success, satisfaction, and retention.

We are sure blending learning using technology in and beyond the language classroom can become a powerful force for you. If you want to enhance your learning strategy and ability, please contact us today to find out how we can help you reach your language goals. Learning a new language doesn’t have to be boring or tedious, let us show you how it can be fun and fulfilling!

​Learning the Arabic Language

The Arabic language is an ancient tongue that dates back to earlier than the 6th century. It is a language steeped in history and shrouded in mystery. Today, Arabic is the 5th most spoken language on the planet, and it is the official language in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

If you are interested in the study of ancient Near Eastern history, modern Middle Eastern history, religion, or foreign language, learning the Arabic language will help you in your academic pursuits. In Singapore, learning Arabic is especially important because students can also gain extra points for taking Arabic as a third language. Furthermore, the Quran, the Islamic holy book is written in Arabic and is the holy text for one of Singapore’s main races, Malays. There are several ways you can go about learning how to read, write and speak Arabic.

Arabic is very useful for those in academia, particularly for students of religion, history, archaeology or even art history. Arabic will help you to translate ancient documents and literature, which could give you wonderful research capabilities in Singapore and overseas.

At Agape School of Education (ASE), we teach Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is the language of written Arabic. Not only is it used in the Holy Quran, it is the language of newspapers and is also widely heard on the radio and television.

As the MSA is also used in the GCE ‘O’ level examinations, our course enables students to read and write at an acceptable academic level; although it can also be customised for business-centred, couture, and religious study.

If you have plans to travel extensively to an Arabic-speaking country such as Egypt or Morocco, consider taking ASE’s accelerated foreign language courses for travel. By learning the basics of their language, travellers can ensure that they remain culturally sensitive and make travel easy as they can communicate with locals. Without the worry of communication, travellers are free to have a greater appreciation for the culture and people they meet.

There are several advantages to learning how to read and speak the Arabic language. At ASE, you can modify your course to suit your specific goals and schedule so that your studies won’t interfere with your work and personal commitments. Our group classes provide many opportunities to interact with qualified instructors and other students, to help students improve their conversational skills.

Singapore government agencies and private sectors have realised the tremendous business opportunities available in the Arab world, which comprises of 22 countries. There are now several hundreds of Singapore companies operating in Arab Countries, especially the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Furthermore, the Singapore government has recognised the Arab world as a potential emerging market and set up several embassies and government agencies, such as the International Enterprise Singapore in the region.

Dubai alone hosts around 350 Singapore companies operating in many sectors. Within a few years, Singapore employees in the Arab world have managed to establish their reputation and they are recognised as honest, sincere and hard-working employees. All these factors will open many opportunities for those who learn the Arabic language to secure jobs in these promising markets of the Arab world.

Whether you are a student of ancient history, religion, or archaeology and you feel that learning the Arabic language will give you a leg up in carrying out your research, or you are making plans to travel to an Arabic speaking country like Egypt or Morocco in the near future and want to be able to ask where the bathroom is or order dinner from the menu in their language, learning Arabic will help. Taking the time to learn the Arabic language will allow you to immerse yourself into an interesting new culture, perhaps help to change a few stereotypes, enhance your travels and supplement your academic pursuits or career goals.

Learn or pickup an Arabic Language Course now!

The fast and effective way to learn a foreign language

Learning a foreign language is never easy for the simple reason that it is exactly that, a new language. 99% of the time and, barring the existence of congenital speech defects, the difficulty in learning a new language is due to the learners’ adherence to the conventions and practices of their first language. We often, wrongly, try to fit a new language to the rules of our native tongue. Conflicts in pronunciation, vocabulary, usage, intonation, the manner of expression and even understanding of concepts, arise as a result. The perfect way to test this fact is to make someone from France, Italy, Russia, Japan, Portugal and Germany say a simple statement in English. See how many English versions of the same statement you get!

The quickest way to avoid this complication when learning a new language, therefore, is to start fresh. Try, even temporarily, to suppress whatever conventions you are used to in your native tongue, and learn from scratch. While this is easier said than done, it is crucial to the process of learning a new language. You may also apply the following proven techniques:

  1. Understand the basic sentence structure of the language. Regardless of what language it is, its basic unit of thought will always be the noun-verb combination we know in English as the sentence. Learn some nouns and verbs to convey your thoughts and you’re on your way. That said, do not concentrate on learning the rules alone. Remember, to know a language means being able to put it into practice.
  2. Read, read, read! Reading will help you get acquainted with the common terms and expressions used in that language. Read simple materials like newspapers and magazine articles, which can be easily understood and will help you slowly build up your vocabulary. As a student, the goal is to be conversant in this language one day. Therefore, the importance of vocabulary cannot be stressed enough. Bear in mind that, to be effective, your vocabulary must be made up of words you can understand and use, and not just words that you recognise and understand but cannot use.
  3. Write, write, write! As you acquire more confidence, start writing your thoughts down on paper. Write about things you have read or any experience you may have encountered. The best way to practice your writing skills is to maintain a personal journal of your thoughts and things going on around you. This will also hone your skills in narrating and describing events.
  4. Learn the art of listening. The best way to acquire skills in correct pronunciation and intonation of a language is to listen to how a native speaker speaks. It is necessary for anyone who wants to be an expert in any language to develop his listening comprehension.
  5. Learn to use the dictionary. Whether you are writing, reading or merely listening, it will serve students well to study the dictionary. This will not only help you widen your vocabulary, it will also increase your confidence in choosing the correct words for particular situations.
  6. Learn the culture. Language is often influenced by and influences the culture of those who use it. When you can understand and accept the culture, you can better immerse yourself in the language. It’s often said that immersion in a language will help students learn it quickly and effectively. This is because those students develop a love and passion for that language and therefore are better at picking up its nuances.

At Agape School of Education, we follow these tips and coach our students to success. Using a variety of methods and training materials, our teachers find and employ what works best for their students. Be it providing students with a variety of reading materials, encouraging conversation or using different types of media, our methods are diverse. Our curriculum is unique because we place importance on the culture of a language. We do this because we know that inspiring a love of the language will breed passion in our students, which will lead them to realise their goals.