By now, you probably understand that learning does not only take place in a school.
Learning is done by individuals who want to acquire knowledge from others or from the world around them.
Your success as a language learner should be driven by an interest in languages and the pursuit of sociability in the sense that Cicero meant it – enjoying the company of others because they share our lives, regardless of their country or language.
This attitude of autonomy, combined with a desire for human communication, is common to many people around the world. The world is full of language learners who only need to find the best way to develop their abilities.
Are you one of these people?
The famous Austrian linguist and philosopher Ivan Illich proposed the creation of learning webs as a substitute for the formal education system dominated by “experts.”
These webs were to be informal communities which provided resources for independent-minded people to learn and share knowledge in a manner that was more effective than formal schooling.
A better language learning system brings this vision to life.
How can a sociable language learning environment work in practice? Going over interviews with real people in different walks of life and in different languages, as well as texts on many subjects, both fiction and non-fiction can do the trick.
This kind of content should be both in audio and text format. The audio can always be downloaded and the text can be read online. An online dictionary and a powerful method for storing new words and phrases for regular review are a good supplement.
In addition, it’s a good idea to find a place where a professional tutor can offer pronunciation and writing corrections which are unique and practical.
Communicating with other learners and native speakers using instant messaging and email, voice- or video-chat, or even face to face meetings are simply the key here.
Participating in organized events, with or without native speaker coaches is another good way to get involved. In a friendly learning community, it is up to the participants to take the initiative.
It is, however, always a good idea to have a personal plan of study.