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So You Want to Learn a Language?

So you want to learn a language? That's wonderful: the desire to learn a second language not only prompts people to enroll in language courses, but can actually help them succeed as students. For years, general consensus held that successfully learning a new language resulted solely from student aptitude. In the mid-twentieth century, however, researchers began to focus on multiple elements surrounding second language acquisition. Perhaps the most well-known of these researchers is Robert Gardner, whose language learning model focuses on social factors. The Gardner Model, as outlined in Language Learning Motivation, published in 2001 in Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education, vol.6, examines at length what students, teachers, and researchers can do to achieve a mutual goal: increase the likelihood that students will successfully learn the language at hand. To enhance that process, understanding student interest in a new language is enormously helpful.

Students choose to learn languages for a variety of reasons. Because acquiring a new language generally means becoming acquainted with a new culture, in language learning, as in so much else, open-mindedness is important. But beyond a general receptiveness to new ideas, Gardner stresses that a desire to identify specifically with the culture of the new language helps students to learn it. This desire often results, for example, when people plan emigration to a foreign country, yet the situation need not be as extreme as that. Students learning a new language for professional needs, in preparation for travel, to read text in its original language, or simply to expand the pool of people with whom they are able to communicate all seek to identify with a new culture.

At Rennert, our foreign language teachers come from countries around the globe and our curriculum for every language we teach is infused with cultural information. In addition to mastering grammar and syntax, Rennert students gain familiarity with the cultures that speak the language at hand. Further, with our small class sizes, teachers can incorporate student needs and interests into the existing course curriculum.

Want to translate lyrics to your favorite Italian song? Bring the CD with you to class. Wondering how to order dinner in Portuguese? Just ask; you may find yourself writing a sample menu. For students with extremely specific reasons for language learning, also we offer private tutoring and small group classes. Feel free to contact us at languages@rennert.com to discuss what sort of course might be right for you. We're glad that you want to learn a language. We want you to learn a language too.