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Learning German at UW-Madison. How to form realistic expectations of language learning progress and why we ask you to do what we ask you to do. Note: Do not use Internet Explorer to view this presentation. . Your Experiences . How did you learn English?

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Learning German at UW-Madison

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Learning german at uw madison

Learning German at UW-Madison

How to form realistic expectations of

language learning progress and why we ask you to do what we ask you

to do.

Note: Do not use Internet Explorer

to view this presentation.


Your experiences

Your Experiences

  • How did you learn English?

  • Do you know a FL other than German?

    • How did you learn this language?

    • How long did you learn (have you been learning) this language?


Our program goals how we measure progress

Our Program Goals: How We Measure Progress

  • You can express yourself on a greater variety of topics

  • You can express yourself with more precision and detail

  • You have an increased fluency/speed of comprehension/production


Our program goals how we measure progress1

Our Program Goals: How We Measure Progress

  • You have a decreasing dependence on listeners/speakers for successful communication

  • You have an increasing repertoire of language tools

    • i.e. Beginning: you can distinguish between a request and a command

    • i.e. Intermediate: you can distinguish between more and less direct speech


Our program goals how we measure progress2

Our Program Goals: How We Measure Progress

  • You develop language strategies which help with language use (comprehension and production) in real-life situations (without a textbook, explanations or preparation, and use little or no English)

  • Increasing comfort level with the language


Our program goals how we measure progress3

Our Program Goals: How We Measure Progress

  • You have increasing accuracy in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation/intonation, text production (i.e. in different genres) and social conventions (pragmatics)

  • You have an increasing awareness of how languages function - including grammatical structure and social and cultural connotations.


Our program expectations and goals year 1

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 1

  • You can talk about yourself and your needs in predictable (scripted) situations

    • i.e. situations that would likely be encountered by a student learner of German in a German speaking country.

  • You can understand and interpret very basically what goes on socially and culturally in predictable (scripted) situations


Our program expectations and goals year 11

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 1

  • You gain an overview of the basics of German grammar

    • How is German Grammar organized? (cases, verb conjugations, etc.)

    • What are some basic contrasts? (what function do the nominative, accusative, and dative cases have?)

    • How is German different from English?


Our program expectations and goals year 12

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 1

  • You gain an overview of the basics of German Grammar, cont.

    • What are some effects of these differences?

      • i.e. German has more case endings, so it is easier to recognize the nominative and accusative cases

      • i.e. German nouns can occur in different places, which indicates a certain message or emphasis

    • How do languages function? What purpose do they serve?


Our program expectations and goals year 13

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 1

  • You acquire a basic stock of vocabulary, which allows you to:

    • Talk about the topics previously outlined, both as they pertain to you AND in conversations about these topics pertaining to other people

    • Expand into greater detail later

      • i.e. we learn the 10 basic colors, but in order to talk about a paining, you will need more colors


Our program expectations and goals year 14

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 1

  • Use very specific vocabulary and grammar in very narrow and focused tasks (such as quizzes) with a high degree of accuracy

    • i.e. in a quiz, if you are to select the correct case, you should be able to do that with great accuracy. This level of accuracy is not expected in free and spontaneous speech.


Our program expectations and goals year 2

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • You will be able to talk in basic terms about topics relevant to educated native speakers of the German-speaking countries

    • Including history, politics, the environment and literature.

  • You will achieve a deeper understanding of how the history, geography and social structure of the German-speaking countries relates to language use

    • In personal conversations, presentations, discussions, and the language arts (film, literature and media)


Our program expectations and goals year 21

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • You will develop a firmer understanding of how:

    • Grammatical structures relate to each other in form

      • How do adjective endings resemble article endings?

      • How are the simple past, Subjunctive I and Subjunctive II similar or different in their forms?

    • Grammatical structures relate to certain functions

      • Why would you chose to use the passive over the active voice, or the subjunctive over the imperative?


Our program expectations and goals year 22

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • You will increase your accuracy in narrow and specified tasks such as quizzes

    • This is a review from Year 1

  • You will begin working on accuracy in contextual (less narrow) tasks

    • i.e. writing texts and speaking freely


Our program expectations and goals year 23

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • You will expand your vocabulary for greater detail and expressiveness (you will have alternatives to the verb “gehen”, you will paraphrase, and use synonyms and antonyms as they occur in natural language use

    • Synonyms in English:

      • A: Isn’t it a beautiful day?

      • B: Yes, it is just gorgeous!


Our program expectations and goals year 24

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • Antonyms in English:

    • A: Wow, that is really difficult!

    • B: You’re right, it sure isn’t easy!

  • Paraphrasing in English:

    • A: I find that really hard to believe!

    • B: You are right - it is incredible!


Our program expectations and goals year 25

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • You will begin to understand the essential non-translatability and cultural embeddedness of language:

    • Elusive meaning (It means what it means only in context)

      • i.e. How would you describe, paraphrase, or “translate” the word “just”?

        • That just isn’t fair.

        • I think it was just punishment for what he did.

        • Hold on - he just came in.

        • Just give it to me and be done with it.


Our program expectations and goals year 26

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • The non-translatability of languages, cont.

    • Different prefered ways of expressing the same thought

      • English: The obvious conclusion is that we did not do a thorough enough job.

      • German: Man muss daraus offensichtlich schließen, dass wir nicht genau genug gearbeitet haben.

      • Notice: different subjects, verb vs. noun related to “conclusion” and “job,” thorough, and a different tense (simple past vs. present perfect)


Our program expectations and goals year 27

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • The non-translatability of languages, cont.

    • Cultural connotations:

      • What is a “job” in American English?

        • Good job! He does not have a job! That is not my job! He signed up for on-the-job training.

      • In German

        • Der Job, Die Arbeit, Der Beruf, die Aufgabe, die Stelle


Our program expectations and goals year 28

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • What you should NOT expect to be able to do at the end of Year 2 (and what we do not expect of you)

    • Speaking or writing without hesitation

    • The ability to speak or write well (relatively accurately and spontaneously) about a topic you have not practiced

    • The ability to easily understand texts (spoken or written) about which you have very little background knowledge or which are written in a style other than factual (i.e. sarcastic or satirical)


Our program expectations and goals year 29

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • What you should NOT expect to be able to do at the end of Year 2, cont:

    • The ability to use low-frequency (“unusual” or “sophisticated”) words spontaneously

    • The ability to use low-frequency words in grammatically-accurate forms

      • See the language-learning theory of “connectionism”

    • The ability to maintain high levels of grammatical accuracy in context (i.e. when writing an essay)


Our program expectations and goals year 210

Our Program Expectations and Goals: Year 2

  • What you should NOT expect to be able to do at the end of year 2, cont:

    • The ability to understand or use ALL grammatical forms equally well (accurately, spontaneously) - some (i.e. subject verb agreement) will develop faster than others (most notoriously: subjunctives, passives, relative clauses, and adjective endings)

    • The ability to carry on a conversation independently of how “good” (proficient, helpful, etc.) your conversational partner is


How we teach and why we teach this way

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • At the UW-Madison and in the vast majority of language programs throughout the country, the Communicative Approach to language learning is used.

  • This Approach to language learning has been around since the early 1970s and was developed in response to language learners being able to analyze sentences, but unable to communicate in the Foreign Language.


How we teach and why we teach this way1

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • The Communicative Approach is a language teaching approach that has been and continues to be the subject of research studies in Second Language Acquisition

  • Basically, the Communicative Approach says that you can only learn to do Y by doing Y - not by doing X: You learn how to communicate by communicating and not by practicing paradigms.


How we teach and why we teach this way2

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Learning to Communicate Requires:

    • Input (the teacher, other students, and even texts “talking” to the learner)

    • Output (the learner producing meaningful language)

    • Interaction/negotiation for meaning

      • The back-and-forth of one party trying to communicate a message and the other trying to comprehend it as intended, and how the two go back and forth coming closer to arrive at a common understanding.

    • Real tasks associated with real language functions


How we teach and why we teach this way3

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Consider how much input, output, and interaction it took for you to become a fairly proficient speaker of your mother tongue (first language). Compare that to how much input, output, and interaction can happen in a course which meets 15-16 weeks a semester, 250 minutes/week, with 24 or so students and one teacher.


How we teach and why we teach this way4

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Consider how real the task of asking for/getting a treat is for a child as compared to how real the task of an imaginary shirt at a fictitious store, supposedly in a country which many have never visited, is for students who learn the language in a classroom.

  • Try to think of ways to maximize your exposure to input and your ability to produce output and interact.


How we teach and why we teach this way5

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Communication requires not only knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, but also knowledge of the social context and the culture.

    • Imagine for a minute that you are lost and need directions. Now, imagine the reaction of a German-speaking adult who may be able to assist you if you address this individual with “du.”


How we teach and why we teach this way6

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Communication requires knowledge of how certain functions one wishes to accomplish (i.e. to make a polite request) relate to certain forms

    • “Ich hätte gern ein Glas Wasser.”

    • vs. “Gib mir ein Glas Wasser.”

  • Language is creative and meaning does not neatly correspond to one single specific form.


How we teach and why we teach this way7

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Example: You are hot and would like the other person in the room to agree to open the window. You can choose from different options, depending on how well you know the person, your status relative to the other person’s status, how urgent the situation is (e.g., you are suffering an asthma attack as compared to you are mildly uncomfortable), whose house it is, etc. You can vary what you say in forcefulness, directness, and politeness. You can mention the window or not. You can refer to yourself or to the other person or neither. You can make a statement or exclamation or ask a question.


How we teach and why we teach this way8

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Open the [*#@] window!

  • For goodness’s sake, please open the window!

  • Would you please open the window?

  • I am dying here!

  • My face must be red.

  • Aren’t you hot?

  • Don’t you think it’s hot in here?

  • It seems it’s a bit warm in here.


How we teach and why we teach this way9

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Language can be represented in the form of rules but only with serious limitations. Rules are shortcuts and abstractions.

    • Where there are rules, there are exceptions (language changes, develops, and constantly eludes “neatness,” especially in the most frequently used expressions)

    • Much of the language has not been and might not ever be captured in hard and fast rules.


How we teach and why we teach this way10

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Language can be represented in the form of rules but only with serious limitations. Rules are shortcuts and abstractions, cont.

    • Some rules are so complicated that they come close to being useless as rules.

      • Where does one place the particle “doch”?

      • How does one use “like” in American English?


How we teach and why we teach this way11

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Although we can representsome of language in rules, that does not mean this is how we learn it. We can represent a route we are going to take on a map, but that is very different from actually walking the route.


How we teach and why we teach this way12

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • We can represent some rules, cont.

    • Some rules are very complex and require so many sub-rules that it is difficult to use the language (especially in speaking) if one were to try it simply by “applying the rule/s” (remember adjective endings?)


How we teach and why we teach this way13

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • We can represent some rules, cont.

    • Grammar rules are applied more successfully to certain words (those used more often) than to others.

      • Few people have problems conjugating “er geht” but many more have problems with “er kneift.”

      • According to the Connectionism Theory, if there were “hard and fast rules,” this difference shouldn’t occur.


How we teach and why we teach this way14

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • We can represent some rules, cont.

    • Most people can only focus on one rule or a few rules at a time. Actual language use requires the application of many different rules at the same time. It is easier to conjugate “er kneift” in a fill-in-the-blank test than use it in a sentence or a composition. Thus, accuracy in quizzes is easier to achieve than accuracy in essay writing (consequently, we expect higher accuracy on quizzes)


How we teach and why we teach this way15

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • We can represent some rules, cont.

    • Learners do not simply “add” and “retain” rules as they learn. Old “rules” get adjusted or seemingly forgotten. The nominative might make sense until you hear of the accusative and the accusative is then fine until the dative comes along. Since rules need to work together in actual language use, learning a new rule will affect the “rule system.” We present an overview of the “rule system” in Year1, so that you can orient yourself and Review un Year 2 (and 3 and 4).


How we teach and why we teach this way16

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Spiral Learning


How we teach and why we teach this way17

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • U-shaped Learning


How we teach and why we teach this way18

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • We can represent some rules, cont.

    • Rules are “learned” (understood and retained for future application) more readily when learners uncover them themselves - in other words, when learners read or hear language first and then either look for or, better yet, “discover” (induce) a rule, it will promote their learning more than someone first telling them about a rule and then showing how it applies in a context.

      • Inductive Learning (evidence before the rule) is more beneficial than deductive learning (rule before the evidence)


How we teach and why we teach this way19

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • We can represent some rules, cont.

    • When people learn their mother tongue, they are sensitive to rules (and later, exceptions) but they do not consciously apply them. Most cannot even give a “rule” of their language until someone teaches them about such “rules” in school - much later than when they actually become proficient in the language.


How we teach and why we teach this way20

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • Strategies are important in both learning and using a language. Learning strategies include memorization, motivating self-talk, and practice of various kinds. Language use strategies pertain to both producing (writing and speaking) and comprehending (listening and reading) languages. They include paraphrasing, repeating/rereading or asking for repetition, and guessing at the meaning of words in context. Strategies enable learners to function more independently and make “do with what they know”. This skill is essential in real life, when one has to communicate without the immediate aid of a textbook, a teacher, or dictionary.


How we teach and why we teach this way21

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • One does not learn in a straight line or a constantly rising curve (or simply add rules), how well one performs (e.g., how fast one can talk or how accurately one writes or talks) depends on a number of other considerations, besides how well one “knows the rule”. Factors include how much time one has to plan, rehearse, and/or revise one’s language production; how familiar the topic is; how much one has to produce at a time; how comfortable one feels in the situation, etc.


How we teach and why we teach this way22

How We Teach and Why We Teach This Way

  • It is difficult to track “progress” or “growth in knowledge” in a definitive way.


Language teaching relates to the science of second language acquisition

Language teaching relates to the science of second-language acquisition

  • Second-language Acquisition is a theoretical as well as empirical research field.


To learn more about sla

To Learn More About SLA


To learn more about sla1

To Learn More About SLA

  • Visit UW-Madison websites: www.sla.wisc.edu and www.languageinstitute.wisc.edu

  • Go on-line, including a UW-Madison library data base “LLBA”


To learn more about sla2

To Learn More About SLA

  • LLBA:

    • go to: http://www.library.wisc.edu/

    • click on second line (E Resource Gateway)

    • pick “L” for LLBA

    • click “LLBA”

    • begin e.g., key word search; you might use terms such as “communicative language”, “accuracy”, “connectionism”, “accuracy”, “noticing”, “rule based learning”, “vocabulary” or “lexical accuracy”, or “language teaching” to read more about many of the topics touched upon here


To learn more about sla3

To Learn More About SLA

  • Visit the websites of relevant professional and/or research organizations:

    • www.actfl.org [American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages]

    • www.aaatg.org [Association of American Teachers of German]

    • www.aaal.org [American Association for Applied Linguistics]

    • www.aausc.org [American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators]


To learn more about sla4

To Learn More About SLA

  • Read (on-line or hard copy) one of the many, many professional/research journals:

    • American Association of Language Program Supervisors and Coordinators (AAUSC) - Annual Volumes

    • (Heinle & Heinle)

    • ADFL Bulletin

    • Annual Review of Applied Linguisticss

    • Applied Language Learning

    • Applied Linguistics

    • Australian Language Matters

    • Australian Review of Applied Linguistics


To learn more about sla5

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Babel

    • Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

    • Brain and Cognition

    • Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics/ Revue canadienne de linguistique appliequee

    • Canadian Modern Language Review

    • College ESL

    • Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

    • Cognition


To learn more about sla6

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Didactica (Lengua y Literatura)

    • ELT Journal

    • EUROSLA Yearbook

    • Folia Linguistics

    • Foreign Language Annals

    • Fremdsprachenunterricht


To learn more about sla7

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Gender and Education

    • Intercultural Education

    • International Journal of Applied Linguistics (INJAL)

    • International Journal of Bilingualism

    • International Review of Applied Linguistics (IRAL)

    • ITL, Review of Applied Linguistics

    • Issues in Applied Linguistics

    • Issues in Language Learning


To learn more about sla8

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Jahrbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache

    • Journal of English for Academic Purposes

    • Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

    • Journal of Pragmatics

    • Journal of Research in Reading

    • Journal of Second Language Writing


To learn more about sla9

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Language Awareness

    • Language Communication

    • Language, Culture, and Curriculum

    • Language and Education

    • Language and Intercultural Communication

    • (Journal of) Language, Identity, and Education

    • Language Learning

    • Language Policy

    • Language in Society

    • Language Teaching Research


To learn more about sla10

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Modern Language Journal

    • Mosaic

    • Multilingua

    • Praxis des neusprachlichen Unterrichts

    • Reading and Writing Quarterly

    • Reading Psychology


To learn more about sla11

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • Second Language Research

    • Studies in Second Language Acquisition (SSLA)

    • System

    • Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German


To learn more about sla12

To Learn More About SLA

  • Journal List, cont.

    • TESL Canada Journal/Revue TESL du Canada

    • TESOL Journal

    • TESOL Quarterly

    • World Englishes


Questions

Questions?


Questions for discussion

Questions for discussion

  • What were your first impressions of your first German class at UW?

  • What do you really like about your German class?

  • What do you not like so much about your German class?

  • After listening to this presentation, why do you think your TA teaches as s/he does?

  • What can you do to succeed in your German class at UW-Madison?


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