An Inquiry in Language Learning: Part 2

Jason Shelton, the Command Language Program Manager for the 310st Military Intelligence Battalion in Phoenix, AZ, was a speaker at this years Users Meeting in May. Like Brian, Jason was kind enough to answer some questions about language learning.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for language learners today?
In the Army Reserve, our biggest challenge is keeping our foreign language skills sharp while only drilling one weekend a month.
What is the best tip you can give to language learners?
Language and culture go hand-in-hand.  Study both.  Immerse yourself in the language and culture.  Use as many authentic materials as you can.

Why is being multilingual important?
For us, it’s part of our job.  Regardless of our “Assigned” language, we often find ourselves in areas where we need to learn basic language and culture.  Sometimes a few words and a basic understanding of culture are the difference between mission success or failure, or even life and death.
What is the greatest benefit of using technology to learn a language?
It enables us to conduct language training/maintenance independently.  The options are vast and vary greatly.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the language field?
I took three years of German in high school and really enjoyed it.  When it was time to choose a career field in the military, being a linguist was a natural fit.

We thank Jason and Brian for the time they took to answer these questions. Stay tuned for more posts from language experts!

An Inquiry in Language Learning

Brian Kim, a Liaison Officer at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at Offutt Air Force Base, joined SCOLA for our 2013 Users Meeting. This week, Brian kindly answered some questions for us about language learning:

– What do you think is the biggest challenge for language learners today?

Trying to sort through myriad of available technologies to select the “best” one for one’s own target language training

– What is the best tip you can give to language learners?

Be persistent and proactive in increasing your exposure to the (high quality) target language!

– Why is being multilingual important?

Too many to list!

– What is the greatest benefit of using technology to learn a language?

It enables easy integration of authentic materials into the lesson.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the language field?

– My own bilingual/immigrant upbringing. Having had such a difficult time picking up English has encouraged me to help others who are having difficulty acquiring a new language.

SCOLA is happy to have contacts such as Brian to share with us his opinions on why language learning is important. Stay tuned for more posts from language experts.