From what I have gathered, LinguaMeeting is more often than not used to increase one’s secondary language skills by connecting students of foreign languages with native speakers. And this tendency makes sense: students can meet one-on-one with a native speaker, converse in the foreign language, and not be limited by a professor’s extremely busy teaching schedule. These “coaches,” as they’re called, are employed as a service designed to “enrich the foreign language classroom experience.” Calling LinguaMeeting “conversation-centric” is not a misnomer. Look at their website and you’ll see that they aim at “helping [teachers] to implement more conversation into their curriculum.”
By default, LinguaMeeting is less likely to be considered for its ability to expand one’s cultural awareness of a specific dialect or locale, which is exactly why Dr. Liana Hakobyan assigned her students five LinguaMeeting assignments over the course of the semester. Her goal was to allow LinguaMeeting – with its hyper-nuanced approach to finding language coaches – the opportunity to fill in the gaps with information culturally relevant to the films she had assigned in her SPAN 333 course titled “Topics in Hispanic Cultures.” With a 95% approval rating from the students, LinguaMeeting passed: it delivered as a highly efficient way to find the nuances of dialect and cultural practice that make language study so tantalizing. I hope you enjoy hearing our conversation about a powerful tool, but more importantly I hope you see how Dr. Hakobyan re-imagined the way she could use this tool for a more expansive, culturally-inclusive experience. Great job, Dr. Hakobyan!
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