Community Web Version Now Available
Jesús
Do you think language lessons or language learning must be FUN ? Do you need fun to learn ?

I have noticed that several tutors or language teachers offer their lessons as something fun. Do you think that it is a condition to learn languages ? or Is it only a marketing strategy ?

What do we understand when we say FUN in the context of language learning ?

I think we must enjoy learning languages but it is not always fun and other times it is! 

May 16, 2019 5:44 PM
6
1
Comments · 6
Interesting, Jesús. Yes, as I understand it, "divertirse" is kind of related to entertainment/distraction (at least, that's how it is in my mind) and "disfrutar" is more closely associated with taking pleasure in something.

I see, so for you, "having fun" is about a louder, more obvious, easy enjoyment, and "enjoyment" is calmer, more moderate. I don't know if I use the same distinction, but I agree that there is a distinction. To me, enjoyment seems more refined and related to pleasure, while "fun" has a childish connotation, at least in my mind.

When people ask about my hobbies, and I say that I like reading and languages, they answer, "Yes, but what about for fun?" Well, that is fun for me!

I agree that between cultures, people have different notions of fun/enjoyment, but it's also quite individual within cultures themselves.
May 16, 2019
I think something can be both a marketing strategy (a good idea seized by many, whether or not they really understand it) and hold truth.

To learn languages to any significant level (let's say understanding authentic materials and being able to communicate well enough to be understood without putting strain on the listener in the situations where you want to use the language), you have to spend a lot of time with them. There's no getting around that. In order to spend all the time on a language, and not on other things, there's got to be something you enjoy about the process, unless it's a life or death situation. Even if it is a matter of urgency that you learn the language, it's still going to be a lot easier to stick to your schedule if it's enjoyable.

When I listen to interviews, podcasts, and videos about linguistics, history, language acquisition and controversial debates in my target languages, I'm enjoying myself. It's pleasurable. I'm also acquiring the language through massive exposure and repetition (hearing the same typical ways native speakers express themselves, over and over).

So yes, I think "having fun" is essential, and I don't think it's frivolous. It's a normal part of being human to enjoy pleasurable pursuits.

How do you distinguish between "enjoying" languages (a word you use) and having fun? I'm somewhat skeptical of the "game-ification" of language learning because I absolutely hate tech trends and buzzwords infiltrating this domain, but that's a personal preference.
May 16, 2019
Sometimes it's hard work but there should be some form of enjoyment at some point. Maybe letting a student read a book they enjoy reading during a class or having them read a website article they've been wanting to read. Learning anything depending on where they're starting at can be hard work. If you're a very beginner then there's more hard work. Plus some element with 'fun' has to come from within. If you're getting closer to your goal then there should be 'joy' and excitement in that. You're doing something productive and you're learning. Learning new things hopefully is enjoyable and fun. If it's not fun at all and learning new things aren't fun then maybe reconsider learning a language or anything for that matter. I remember when I was in math class when I was younger the teachers sometimes had us count with candy or they'd give us candy if we got a problem correct. Or we did games to see who could spell the fastest in English class. That was fun! 
May 16, 2019
Nowadays, people generally won’t do anything that requires commitment unless it is fun. That said, if “fun” is the only thing a teacher has to offer, the student won’t really learn much. On the other hand, when learning languages is actually fun for the teacher, this naturally extends to his teaching.

May 16, 2019
The game my 4th grade class played required no computer, cell phone or electronics at all. One student got up from their desk and stood next to another student who was standing at the front corner of the room. A teacher would read out a word and each of the two students had a chance to spell the word. Whoever was correct got to move on to stand by the next student in the row. The student that was wrong had to sit down. Whatever student made it the farthest around the room then they won. 
May 16, 2019
Show More
Jesús
Language Skills
English, French, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
English, French, Russian