Promoting Language Learning as a Hobby, Not a Class

Jan 25, 2016 11:16:54 AM / by Lindsay Mullen

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Did you know that multilingual employees are in high demand across the workforce? The students you work with on campus probably do—and if not, they ought to take it into consideration as they prepare applications for summer and post-graduation jobs. Today, language learning is an essential part of being a global citizen, and it’s something you can help foster on campus even outside of the foreign language department.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the ways your library can help promote language learning on campus outside of class. Read on for our thoughts.

Prepare students for study abroad

So maybe the cohort of sophomores preparing to study in Dakar, Senegal next semester have already taken their requisite two semesters of French, but have they had a chance to learn about the Wolof culture and language? Many study abroad locations have incredibly vibrant and important unofficial languages that can help a visitor get around, and you can help introduce students to these. Work with your study abroad department to identify the top study abroad locations and important minority languages and cultures students should learn about before leaving. You never know: a student preparing for a stint in Paris may find themselves living in a predominantly Tunisian neighborhood and might need some extra musaeada (help) in getting to know their new aljiran (neighbors). They may even find a new passion for the language!

Hold cultural events

We all know what college students really like: free food. Use this to your advantage and hold fun cultural events at your library! Consider promoting your collection of Soviet film with a screening of Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera and traditional Russian delicacies like kholodets, pierozhki and varenyi. Encourage students to take the fun outside of the library and learn more about the Russian language and culture through books, more movies, more food and definitely language learning software like Mango. You’ll be promoting your library offerings, immersing students in a foreign culture and helping to foster a sense of campus community all at once.

Make it into a contest

College students like to compete almost as much as they like to eat. Indulge students’ competitive streaks by holding a language learning contest or digital badge program to get them learning. Offer rewards, whether it’s a badge for their LinkedIn profile or forgiveness on some pesky overdue fines, and promote the winners on social media. You never know: some students may take up competitive Pashto learning and forego former loves like football and basketball. Don’t worry, we won’t tell the coaches what you’re up to.

If you’re interested in learning more ways to promote language learning on your campus, take a look at the case study we did with the University of Arkansas. They created a digital badge program for Mango, boosting students’ engagement with the product and helping foster language learning outside of class. Download the case study here!

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Topics: Higher Ed

Lindsay Mullen

Written by Lindsay Mullen

Lindsay Mullen is CEO of Prosper Strategies, working behind the scenes to support the Mango team's world of lovable language learning. A language aficionado herself, Lindsay oversees a team of marketers fluent in public relations, content development and strategy (and they speak some German, French, Spanish and Chinese as well.)

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