As with learning any language, practice and repetition are essential. When it comes to learning a second language though, the question up for debate poses, “What is the best way to learn?” A comparison of the two most popular methods of teaching and learning show both to be effective approaches.
The first, the classroom method is the traditional style, a format of one teacher and multiple students. Instructors provide a great deal of knowledge about grammatical rules, syntax, and verb agreements, presenting the mechanics of the new language. Students, in turn, listen, repeat and are also encouraged to respond in the language being taught and learn from the speaking and mistakes of self and classmates.
The second method of learning is the immersion method. This technique is useful when learning an initial language and any additional languages thereafter. The immersion method thrusts the learner into a situation wherein native speakers surround them. This style of learning offers very little, if any, rules an explanation and the ‘picking up’ of the language comes through understanding context, tone, idioms, and absorption.
While both methods have proven effective, the debate remains, which is the best approach? According to a study published by The Public Library of Science, those who learned through immersion not only retained the language, but also showed a native-like processing of grammar. The winner of the debate may lay with the learner. Just as teaching styles differ, so too do those of learners. For some, being fully immersed may help more than a classroom setting ever could. For others, the traditional method may be the key to their second language fluency success.