Want to give yourself the best shot at success in the language classroom? Social learning gives you a huge advantage – and at a low cost. Collaborating with fellow students boosts your motivation, as well as opening up an opportunity for you to benefit from improvements to the learning process.
Let's take a look at how the social aspect of Casa Spanish makes all the difference.
1. Learning as a group increases your motivation
There are two parts of the brain that can help you learn faster and better
Why is the social side of Casa Spanish such a powerful tool to boost your motivation?
There are three main reasons:
- Communication is social by nature, so learning in groups brings the language to life as an exchange of ideas.
- Social learning unlocks values such as cooperation, peer support and team spirit (while also promoting a healthy sense of competition)! Because your learning experience is tied to your relationship with your classmates, you have something at stake that works alongside your end-goal for learning Spanish.
- Humans are social beings. We all seek engagement. Among other things, this is a learning mechanism. Our brains have the capacity to copy the good habits of others, which means that engaging with classmates and teachers helps you learn from them by watching what they do. Their wins and fails spark a decision-making process where you’re faced with a choice... should you behave the same or differently?
Scientists have discovered that we use two parts of our brain when we learn a language socially: the ventral striatum and the medial prefrontal cortex. The ventral striatum calculates and predicts errors, updates previously learned information, makes decisions, and fires up when a task is enjoyable and rewarding. The prefrontal cortex reflects on what others may be thinking, for the purpose of taking action as a group. Together, these brain functions play a role in social learning. They’re primordial skills we all need day to day, and you can use to them to give you a brainpower boost in the language classroom too.
2. Learning as a group is cost-efficient
Social learning can be a lot cheaper than learning one-to-one
It’s true that individual tuition works wonders. The downside? It quickly gets expensive.
The good news is that small group lessons can deliver the same quality of education, with similarly targeted support and similar results, but for a much lower price.
Even better, as we mentioned above, the social interaction actively contributes to your learning – so long as your class knows in advance what you’re expected to practise and the skills you need to develop. That’s something you don’t get in one-to-one tuition, despite the higher price tag.
The cost per student decreases as the group size increases, and we pass these savings onto our students. To avoid a negative impact on the learning experience, it’s important to not to let the groups get too big, otherwise it becomes impossible to address the needs of each student. The optimal size is around 10 people.
3. Unlock a wider variety of learning activities
Well-prepared group lessons help you learn a language in ways that solo learners can’t
Groups allow for games and competitions, the exchange of opinions and ideas, and of course, having fun! This makes groups the perfect tool for encouraging you to overcome the challenges you face as a student.
In the language classroom, educators aim to develop reading, listening, vocabulary, grammar and cultural skills, all of which can be developed socially. Each activity always has an objective, and the teacher follows a structure that aims for the optimal achievement of the task at hand. This allows them to be creative, guiding students using new approaches and techniques.
For example, practising speaking the language is an important skill for non-native students. However, as we’ve experienced first hand, it can be incredibly intimidating (and it’s a knotty challenge for teachers too!). By introducing group work with speaking activities, such as roleplaying, quizzes, conversation questions, and reading out loud, teachers can minimise this fear. The task becomes natural, enabling students to build their confidence bit by bit.
Well-trained language instructors know how to create engaging lessons according to the level and taste of the group. These activities require a meticulous preparation, following a meticulously organised lesson plan. That’s exactly what you can expect when you learn with Casa Spanish.
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