New language labs used in Milford middle schools to teach foreign languages

MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- It's a new year and students at East Shore Middle School in Milford will be learning language in a whole new way.

Right now, these teachers are the ones learning. Milford's East Shore Middle School just got a world language lab. It sounds scientific...

"The language lab is essentially a tool the teachers use in order to increase the frequency in which students interact with their target language," said Brian Scott, Milford Schools World Languages Instructional Supervisor.

Instead of a teacher standing up front, reciting a lesson, calling on students one at a time to answer a question, now, each student sits at a computer. The teacher puts a lesson on the screen.

"They can interact either with us, they can do work independently, they can interact with each other using this platform," said Anna Einstein, Language Teacher.

When done right, the results can be...

"Amazing," said Deb Grillo, Language Teacher.

With this headset on and this microphone here, this room can be full of kids learning and speaking Spanish without interfering with each other, and anytime the teacher wants, he or she can listen in and critique what they're doing.

"Give them feedback, speak with them individually through the intercom. They can ask us questions," said Einstein.

"React or respond to those audio and video either live or they can record their responses and the teacher can listen to them later," said Einstein.

For some students, recording a lesson or speaking into a computer headset means sparing them a lot of embarrassment.

"And it also boosts their confidence, because a lot of time kids don't want to talk out loud in front of their peers, because they don't want to feel different or awkward," said Grillo.

Last week, we took you on a tour of West Shore Middle School it's still under construction, but it also has a language lab. In fact all three Milford middle schools now have them. The idea is to get kids speaking foreign languages at younger ages.

"As we know, the world is a rapidly shrinking place in many ways and the number of jobs and the number of opportunities students have moving forward is greatly limited if they don't have exposure to world language," said Scott.

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