Simulations: one of the best ways to learn languages

best ways to learn languages

Simulations are one of the best ways to learn languages. I use this method extensively in my teaching and studies of languages.

In order to speak at the advanced level, you must be able to fully express a problem with details and request resolution. This activity provides a natural context. Think polite phrases, commands, subjunctive and honorifics.

This is a fun activity for people learning to make complaints politely in a foreign language. I love it because it is very communicative and it is fun making simulations the best way to learn languages. It recycles lots of lower-level language like greetings, time, and numbers. It gets a lot of higher-level language in there as well, such as politely complaining to try to get someone to take a specific course of action.

Here are the things that you’re going to need if you want to do it as I suggest:

1. A plastic rat, a plastic dog or cat or a bird- basically any animal that can be a pest.

2. A toy baby.

The sound effects that I have shared with you are the party, the loud speaker, the crying baby, screaming, cat and loud music.


Crying Baby

Loud Speaker



Loud Music

We have the guest is checking in, and the person working reception. If you were the guest, here’s what you must do:


Greet the person at reception in a culturally appropriate way
 Check in
 Say what your name is
 Tell them how many nights
 Thank them when they give you the key
 When you get to your room, you need to go to sleep
 Wake up when you hear the noise
 Have a specific complaint
 Call the desk and tell them what the complaint is
 Have a specific course of action that you want for them to take
 Thank them before you hang up

Person at Reception

Greet your customer
 Help them check in
 Ask about their reservation, etc.
 Ask their name
 Ask them how many nights
 Ask them how they’re paying
 Give them the key
 Tell them their room number
 Tell them to enjoy their stay
 After they’ve gone up to their room, they’re going to call you with a complaint
 Ask what the problem is
 Listen to their suggestion
 Propose something else
 The problem needs to be resolved at the end of the dramatization

If you’re a teacher, let your students know what some of the general problems are going to be, but don’t tell them which one they’re going to have. The person at reception will not know either. I suggest writing them down on little slips of paper, folding them up, and putting them somewhere. You could put them in perhaps a hat or something where they’re going to select what the actual problem is. Or you could just surprise them randomly, like Wheel of Names. Use the one that you feel like using. This is a really fun dialogue dramatization that gets lots of real life practice and is a whole lot of fun, too.

A fun way to do this during remote learning is to create a Google slide and add some pictures. Students get on your Meet and play the parts.

This works as an independent study activity, too. While you may feel silly doing this on your own. I suggest recording yourself after you have written out a script for both parts. Simulations are among the best ways to learn languages. They are great for polishing up some rough spots and learn a lot of vocabulary in context.

Do you teach Spanish? I created a CI course for teachers of beginners: Immersive Spanish Lessons

Do you want to know how long it takes to get to and through this advanced level? Check this out: Learning a New Language: How Long Does It Take?

I offer a course on this, too. Measure Your Progress and Fluency in Any Language


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