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Facts & Myths about Achievement of Advanced Professional Level L2 Proficiency (ILR 4). a presentation for BILC, Prague, May 2012 Dr. Betty Lou Leaver Associate Provost Directorate of Continuing Education DLIFLC, USA. Organizational Information.

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facts myths about achievement of advanced professional level l2 proficiency ilr 4

Facts & Myths about Achievement of Advanced Professional Level L2 Proficiency(ILR 4)

a presentation for BILC, Prague, May 2012Dr. Betty Lou Leaver

Associate ProvostDirectorate of Continuing EducationDLIFLC, USA

organizational information
Organizational Information

DLIFLC has four directorates, administered by the Provost:

  • Directorate of Undergraduate Education
  • Directorate of Continuing Education
  • Directorate of Language Science & Technology
  • Directorate of Evaluation & Standards

Note: Provost reports to assistant commandant & commandant, who oversee military structure.

organizational information cont d
Organizational Information, cont’d

The Directorate of Continuing Education has five schools, 37 sites:

  • Distance Learning (sustainment & enhancement)
  • Field Support (non-linguists)
  • Extension Programs (lifelong learning for linguists)
  • Resident Education (enhancement)
  • Educational Support Services
    • DAC (Diagnostic Assessment Center/DA specialist trainers)
    • ASC (Academic Support Center)
    • Command Language Program (360+)
sources of information on students achieving ilr 4
Sources of Informationon Students Achieving ILR 4

This presentation is based on:

  • Experience with and feedback from upper level at
    • Foreign Service Institute (US Department of State)
    • NASA
    • Defense Language Institute
    • University of Jordan (UJ)
  • Formal research funded by
    • National Foreign Language Center
    • Conference on College Composition and Communication (National Council of Teachers of English)
defining advanced professional level ilr 4
Defining Advanced Professional Level (ILR 4)
  • Usually equivalent to WEHANS; would not be mistaken for cultural native [ILR 3 over-self-assess; ILR 4 self-aware]
  • Wide-ranging control of structure; nonnative slip may occur
  • Language rarely hinders in any task; can set interpersonal official, semi-official and non-professional tone [tailoring]
  • Endurance & sophisticated verbal strategies: lectures, conferences, debates
  • Native social & circumstantial knowledge; not under all conditions
  • Shifts of subject matter & tone
  • Understands standard and major dialects [& street talk]
quiz which of the following characteristics have been associated with near native l2 proficiency
Quiz: Which of the following characteristics have been associated with near-native L2 proficiency?
  • Desire to integrate into the culture
  • Motivated by compliments
  • Tenacity
  • High grades
  • Quick learner
  • Good ear
  • Desire to do a good job
  • Multilingual neighborhood in youth
  • Multilingual home
  • Time abroad
  • Young age at onset
  • Global learning style
  • Female
  • Marriage to a native speaker
answers to quiz in bold
Answers to Quiz in Bold
  • Desire to integrate into the culture
  • Motivated by compliments
  • Tenacity
  • High grades
  • Quick learner
  • Good ear
  • Desire to do a good job
  • Multilingual neighborhood in youth
  • Multilingual home
  • Time abroad
  • Young age at onset
  • Global learning style
  • Female
  • Marriage to a native speaker
student stories
Student Stories
  • Student A (ectenic learner)
    • Spanish
    • US government classes: FAO
    • Duty in Colombia
    • Community work
    • Voracious reader
    • Motivation: Instrumental (lawyer)
  • Student B (ectenic learner)
    • French
    • University classes
    • Study for degree in France
    • Voracious reader
    • Motivation: Vicarious (married to a French person)
more student stories
More Student Stories
  • Student C (synoptic learner)
    • Russian
    • University classes
    • No experience abroad (two weeks after Level 4)
    • Community work
    • Job use (broadcaster)
    • Motivation: Intrinsic
  • Student D (synoptic learner)
    • German
    • University classes
    • Job abroad (publishing/editing English)
    • Motivation: Vicarious (married a German), intrinsic
even more student stories
Even More Student Stories
  • Student E (synoptic learner)
    • Russian
    • After school tutor: Literature
    • University classes: C average
    • US government classes
    • Job use
    • Degree work in country
    • Voracious reader & writer
    • Discouraged by teachers
    • Motivation: tenacity
    • Demotivator: linguistic & pronunciation error
  • Student F (synoptic learner)
    • French
    • Childhood community L2
    • High school: creative writing
    • University classes – A/A+
    • Job use
    • No time ever spent abroad
    • Voracious reader & writer
    • Encouraged by teachers
    • Motivation: intrinsic
    • Demotivator: criticism for regional accent
success achievement
Success/Achievement
  • Courses at DLI:
    • Nine languages, 1-10 students per group
    • Refresher, intermediate, advanced, DTRA, extension
  • Course completion at graduation standard:
    • 95% enrolling with prerequisites (ability not considered)
    • 85% of all students
    • 54% exceed graduation standards
  • Negligible attrition (only those pulled by DTRA)
syllabi
Syllabi
  • Highly individualized/diagnostically oriented
  • Content-based
  • Language & culture focus
  • Task-based authenticity, research, & realism
  • Exclusively authentic; limited/no textbooks
  • Formal and informal immersion
course content
Course Content
  • Subject matter core (language through content)
  • Political, social, and historical events
  • Immersion programs
    • University classes (integrated or duplicated)
    • Recyling vocab & grammar through all skills
    • Related excursions & exercises (e.g., surveys)
  • Integrated skills
  • Focus on process and product
    • Projects & portfolios
    • Presentations
language culture focus
Language & Culture Focus
  • “Grammar in the wild”
  • Grammar manipulation through genre shift
  • Language exercises
    • Packaging & re-packaging
    • Simplification of thought
    • Embellishment of language
  • Sociolinguistics & pragmatics [tailoring]
  • Reading between the lines & beyond the text
task based realism
Task-Based Realism
  • Briefings to visitors
  • Teaching lower levels
  • Analyses & project reports
  • Student surveys (immersion programs)
  • True real-life tasks
    • DTRA translations
    • Assistance to ROK
lower level task vs upper level task
Lower Level Taskvs. Upper Level Task
  • Weather report
    • Lower: Decide what to wear/pack
    • Upper: Parody the speaker; produce a local report
  • Biographical interviews
    • Lower: Pairs interview each other & report out
    • Upper: Students analyze professional interview, then interview each other & report out, using culturally appropriate text structure
  • Grammar exercise: relative clauses
    • Lower: identify the clauses & give alternative
    • Upper: rewrite in a different genre
lower levels vs upper levels
Lower Levels vs. Upper Levels
  • Focus on form(s) vs. focus on text
  • Using context vs. refined knowledge
  • Intensive reading vs. extensive reading
  • Teacher direction vs. self-direction
  • Rote memory vs. associative memory
  • Immersions in class & in country
  • Requests for repetition vs. elicitation
  • Defossilization (upper): structure & lexicon (automatic & correct); strategies; autonomy; pragmatics & sociolinguistics; level
some references for level 4 few publications to date
Some References for Level 4(Few Publications to Date)
  • CDLC:
    • Journal for Distinguished Language Proficiency (6 volumes)
    • Teaching and Learning to Near-Native Levels of Second-Language Proficiency (6 volumes of conference proceedings, 2003-2008)
    • What Works: Helping Students Reach Native-Like Second-Language Competence (MSI Press, 2006)
  • Leaver:
    • Achieving Native-Like Second Language Proficiency (MSI Press, 2003)
    • Individualized Study Plans for Very Advanced L2 Learners (MSI Press, 2003)
  • Leaver, Ehrman, & Shekhtman. Achieving Success in Second Language Acquisition (Cambridge University Press, 2005, chapter 10)
  • Leaver & Shekhtman, eds. Developing Professional Level Foreign Language Proficiency (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • Shekhtman. Working with Advanced Students (MSI Press, 2003)
some more references for lower levels 2 and 3
Some More References(For Lower Levels: 2+ and 3)
  • Byrnes. Advanced Language Learning: The Contribution of Halliday and Vygotsky (Continuum, 2008)
  • Byrnes, Heather, & Sprang, eds. Educating for Advanced Foreign Language Capacities: Constructs, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment (Georgetown University Press, 2006)
  • Byrnes, Maxim, & Magnan. Advanced Foreign Language Learning, 2003 AAUSC Volume, Issues in Language Program Direction (Heinle, 2003)
  • Ortega & Byrnes. The Longitudinal Study of Advanced L2 Capacities (Routledge, 2008)
  • Watch for Brown & Bown, forthcoming, possibly Georgetown University Press, possible title: To 3 and Beyond
centers for higher level proficiency studies
Centers for Higher Level Proficiency Studies
  • Center for the Advancement of Distinguished Language Proficiency, San Diego State University (ILR 4)
  • Center for Advanced Language Proficiency, Penn State University (ILR 2-3)

Note: These are foreign language centers and generally do not address English.

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