Nadia, a Canadian teacher, wrote to us about how she started using Duolingo with her students. The results amazed her.
King City Arts Magnet, King City, California
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I believe Duolingo to be a powerful tool in the classroom. I am a 5th-grade teacher in a rural agricultural area. We are a Title 1 district with a large population of English Language Learners. I know what you're thinking, "How can you use Duolingo in an elementary classroom?" Simple, the same way a high school foreign language class might use it.
Imagine students being able to practice English and getting the visual, auditory, and written support needed. Sounds pretty cool, right? While students are becoming more proficient they earn badges and progress on their own learning schedule. This is not an impossible feat. For the past few years, I have had a few students who really struggled with acquiring English. My first thought was to go to Duolingo for extra support. After setting students up with their own account, they went to town. I saw growth, not just with their language acquisition, but with their confidence as well.
Now, not all of my students need help solidifying their English Language skills. So how can Duolingo benefit those students? They learn a language of their choice. A few years ago, while one student was practicing her English skills, others came to me and asked if they could use the program to learn a new language. Some wanted to learn Spanish while others wanted to learn French. The room was filled with students learning languages; discovering their passion. I also participated by learning Spanish.
This tool is so versatile and easy to use. Students can review the words they have learned in lessons using the 'words' tab. By hovering over the word in the language, they can practice translating. One of my favorite features is in the Labs. This is where students can put what they've learned into practice: reading passages and responding. It allows students to use the words they know in context.
What has me the most excited are the stories. The ability to extend those beyond the app can help students gain a deeper understanding. They can illustrate the story as they listen/read. They can act it out in the language they are studying. Students can summarize it in the language they are learning and have a fellow student read and edit their work.
To say that Duolingo only benefits Foreign Language classes is a short-sighted view. Given the opportunity to learn, in an interactive way, students embrace it and are better for it. It is my hope that all students learn and value multilingualism.