This is what my students are! Several of my students (and myself), have started using Duolingo to learn a new language. Currently I have 5 languages being acquired in my classroom: Spanish (most popular), French, Portuguese, Italian, and English.
It all started several months ago with an ELL student. She was still having trouble acquiring English after being here for a few years. One suggestion I received was to have her get on Duolingo. So, we set her up in her native language (Spanish). She took the placement test and began learning English. She loves doing it, and feels that it’s been helping her. In order to have her not feel different during our Silent Reading time, I agreed to brush up on my Spanish. As time has progressed, more and more students have asked to learn a language. Yes, I realize some were asking so they could ‘get out’ of reading during Silent Reading time (SSR). I said, “Yes!” Yup, I’m that teacher that is okay when a student says they hate reading. I know they just haven’t found the right books yet, or it’s hard for them and SSR is no fun. So, learning a new language can be fun – and yes they are reading too!
What really excites me, is that some of the students asking to learn Spanish come from Spanish speaking homes. Some of these students have ‘forgotten’ their first language, in varying degrees, want to speak with their grandparents, or just want to learn the language their family knows. I think it’s all very exciting!
Now my SSR has students reading books – inside or outside; real or digital – learning a new language, listening to a book on CD, or reading a story (and taking a quiz) on Raz-Kids. Will all of them stick with learning a new language? No, and that’s okay. I love their willingness to try and learn new things.