It is expected that by the year 2050 the most widely spoken languages in the world will still be mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English – the same as today.
However, something is changing.
According to a report from Adecco, in Spain, 90% of job offers require a knowledge of English. Being able to speak English is essential for surviving in an increasingly competitive labour market. A market without borders.
More languages, more teachers
Public institutions, aware of this trend, are investing in bilingual programmes in public schools. In Madrid, for example, a bilingual programme has already been set up in public schools. However, whilst public institutions are setting up language programmes, the greatest demand for teachers is in language academies and private schools.
The importance of languages means that the demand for language teachers continues to grow.
Now, more than ever, language teachers, and English teachers in particular, play an important role in the future of the next generation. Language teaching will continue to be relevant. But the way languages are taught will be very different. The next generation requires new educational models that are better adapted to their needs and to the demands of the labour market.
A profession with a future but with new methods
The teaching profession will become increasingly digital in the future. Students require an education system that has technology integrated into it. One where computers and tablets are not just used to teach certain skills.
The computer or tablet should be the epicentre: the tool that facilitates access to more in-depth and interactive content, encouraging reflection and enriching the learning experience. The purpose of technology in the classroom is to make the teacher’s work easier and feed the students’ imagination.
Educational apps, video games and interactive content are just some of the tools that motivate the students’ desire to learn.
Technology skills are a plus
Language teachers don’t just need subject knowledge. They also need to have a knowledge of the digital tools available and how to use them. Although this is the case with any subject, it is particular relevant to language teaching because students need to practise four essential skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking. With technology, through the use of audio, microphones and cameras, these skills can be trained in a way that has never been seen before.
For example, in our video game for learning English, Ruby Rei, the user can record their own voice and compare it or even send a written message to another person in the game. These are skills that are developed within language immersion, which would not be possible without technology.
Knowledge about the digital tools available has become indispensable. Our linguists and language teachers are working together with our developers and the creative team to design new products. All of this is possible because they study the latest trends in technology. The quest for tools that facilitate language learning is part of the work that they do.
The use of technology in education is nothing new. Google and Apple have been investing in it for a number of years now. They even offer certificates for teachers, such as the Apple Distinguished Educator or Google’s certificate for educators. Having one of these certificates makes a teacher stand out from the rest. It makes them more skilled and, as a result, allows them to fulfil their role in a way that is more in line with current needs.
The next generation is demanding changes in the way we think and teach. As teachers and educators, we have an obligation to adapt and find responses to these demands. Being able to use technology is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. The future of the next generation depends on us now more than ever.
Translated by Hannah Baverstock, Language Expert at Wibbu. Written by Jonay Suárez, Head of Marketing.