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Language Learning Strategies

Theory and Classroom Implementation

The joy of teaching English is often accompanied by bouts of frustration. Can you recognize any (or all) of the following students?

  • The potentially top scoring student who settles for less.
  • The student whose vocabulary skills are excellent for World of Warcraft, but remain stagnant in the classroom.
  • The student who excels in simple discussions and colloquial jargon, but never masters precision and depth.
With an insight in language learning strategies and how to implement them into our daily educational settings, we can help motivate our students to become aware of their academic potential and challenge them to break away from colloquial mediocrity!

Date: September 23, 2010
Location: University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M
Room: 100


10:00-10:15 Welcome
10:15-12.00 Second language teaching methodology
  Diane Schmitt , Senior Lecturer in EFL/TESOL,
  Nottingham Language Centre, Nottingham Trent University

Second language teaching methodology has been dominated by the communicative approach to language teaching since the mid-1980s. I would like to use this talk to explore how theory and research in second language acquisition from the early 1990s until now challenges the notion that language pedagogy should prioritize meaning over language form. I will argue that teaching approaches for students studying English for Academic or Work Purposes that do not give significant focus to language form do these students a great disservice. For students at higher levels of proficiency, language use is about more than just getting things done. In study and work contexts, it is about getting things done in ways that are appropriate to the particular context the language user is working in. In university and work contexts, fluency, accuracy and complexity play an important role in achieving meaning and establishing the credibility of the language user. I will report on the research of Skehan and others working in task based language learning and show how their findings lead to pedagogical approaches that aim to develop language awareness among our students, to introduce them to new forms (both lexical and grammatical) and to develop their ability to use current language knowledge with greater fluency and accuracy.

12:00-13:00 Luncheon
13:00-14:30 ICT in language learning/tests etc.
  Hanne Wacher Kjaergaard, M.A., VIA University College
  Dept. of Teacher Education in Aarhus, Program coordinator - CELM - Center for E-Learning and Media
  Anette Wulff , M.A. and B.Ed, Institute of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark

ICT has a clear role in most aspects of language learning from working on strategies and strategic competence (e.g. mind maps) to training the basics of various language areas and establishing authentic communication. We will look at the aims and proposed content for the relevant student groups and relate the use of ICT tools and possibilities to these aims.

14:30-15:00 Coffee break and exchange of ideas
15:00-16:00 Classroom implementation - two workshops:

1) Diane Schmitt

In this session, I will demonstrate pedagogical ideas discussed in my morning talk. I will bring in samples of the types of texts that teachers regularly use when designing their own materials. I will first briefly take participants through the process of developing language- focused tasks for a sample of texts. Then we will move into workshop mode and participants will be given the opportunity to apply these processes to new texts. I will supply a range of texts. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own texts. In this session, I will give particular attention to how language focused tasks must relate to meaning-focused or skill-building activities to be relevant for our students' wider needs. The ultimate goal of language learning is to be able to use language to do other things, e.g. learn accounting, management, or marketing or to do these same things in the workplace. Language form and meaning are intrinsically entwined in use and therefore should also be in our teaching.

2) Hanne Kjærgaard and Anette Wulff

So, now I know what I can do – but how do I do it?
Hands-on with selected tools, e.g. VISL, mind mapping, tools for written feedback etc.

16:00-16:15 Evaluation and goodbye

Course Materials

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