Monday, April 18, 2011

Tips for language learning

Studies show that students display improved performance when we raise their awareness of how they should acquire a language.

Here are some points we can give our students to help raise this kind awareness:

1) Be self-reliant. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and be in control of your own learning.
2) Listen first. Start with listening and then move on to speaking and leave the reading and writing to when you feel comfortable with the language.
3) Be intuitive. Be creative with the language in order to get a “feel” for the language. Getting bogged down with too many rules will not help fluency.
4) Be proactive. Seek out opportunities to use newly acquired language both inside and outside the classroom.
5) Don’t fear the unknown. You don’t have to understand every word get used to just understanding the “gist” and gaining from the context of the language.
6) Make mistakes. Every error that you make gets you closer to speaking correctly.
7) Use extension but realize its limitations. Use what you know about your first language and what you know about the target language to make intelligent guesses about how you might say something.
8) Be a conversationalist. Learn how to keep the conversation moving. You are learning to communicate not code.
Read about my experience learning a second language here
9) Learn different ways to say things. Learn the polite, casual, passive way to speak, learn written forms. Do not limit yourself.
10) Have fun with learning a language. Find a way to keep yourself engaged in learning and be aware of your motivations so that you can remind yourself of them when motivation is low.
Read about my learning strategies here.

What kind of learner are you?  Read about learning styles here.

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