What makes a good language learner
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What makes a good language learner?. Hu Wenzhong( 胡文仲 ) Beijing Foreign Studies University. Nature of this talk. This is not a commercial promotion. There are no grand promises. What we’re interested in is the plain truth: how students should learn. Outline of the talk.

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What makes a good language learner l.jpg
What makes a good language learner?

Hu Wenzhong(胡文仲)

Beijing Foreign Studies

University


Nature of this talk l.jpg
Nature of this talk

  • This is not a commercial promotion.

  • There are no grand promises.

  • What we’re interested in is the plain truth: how students should learn.


Outline of the talk l.jpg
Outline of the talk

  • What contributes to the outcome of learning a FL

  • What are learning strategies

  • Research on learning strategies

  • A checklist for good language learners

  • Conclusion


Slide4 l.jpg

Teaching

FL

Learner

Learning

Outcome

Environment

(Adapted from Naiman et al.)


The learner l.jpg
The learner

Age, personality,

motivation, attitude,

intelligence, language aptitude, past language experience


Teaching l.jpg
Teaching

Syllabus,

Teaching material,

Teaching method,

Activities,

Teacher qualifications


Environment l.jpg
Environment

Opportunities for

second language

contacts and use


Learning l.jpg
Learning

Unconscious learning

Conscious use of learning

strategies


Teaching9 l.jpg

Syllabus,

Teaching material,

Teaching method,

Activities

Teacher qualifications

TEACHING

LEARNER

Age, personality,

motivation, attitude,

intelligence, language aptitude, past language experience

LEARNING

OUTCOME

Unconscious processes

Conscious use of learning

strategies

Proficiency in

the use

of the language

Opportunities for

second language

contacts and use

ENVIRONMENT

(Adapted from Naiman et al.)


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Studies have shown that…

  • other things being equal, learning strategies play a significant role in determining the outcome of learning.


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What are learning strategies(学习策略)

  • Learning strategies are “learning processes which are consciously selected by the learner.” (Cohen 1990)

  • “The techniques or devices which a learner may use to acquire knowledge.” (Rubin 1975)

  • Measures taken by the learner for effective study (Wen )


In learning vocabulary you could l.jpg
In learning vocabulary you could

1.read a dictionary from cover to cover

2.learn vocab through copying word lists

3.learn vocab through memorizing texts

4.learn vocab through extensive reading



So this is a talk on l.jpg
So this is a talk on

learning how to learn


Background against which learning strategies studies started l.jpg
Background against which learning strategies studies started:

  • The focus of research has shifted from teaching to learning, from teaching methodology to learning strategy.


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How learning strategies studies started started:

  • Started in the mid-70s of the last century

  • J. Rubin: “What ‘the good language learner’ can teach us” published in TESOL Quarterly in 1975

  • N. Naiman et al.:The Good Language Learner published in 1978

  • Learning strategies have now become an important part of second language acquisition research.

  • Research in China


Naiman et al s research l.jpg
Naiman et al’s research started:

  • The Adult Interview Study: 34 successful and 2 unsuccessful learners selected for study

  • The Main Classroom Study: 72 students from 12 classes of Grades 8,10 and 12 of schools in Toronto and other areas; methods used include classroom observation and interview


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Final outcome: research report started:

N. Naiman et al.:

The Good Language Learner

published by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1978


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Naiman and his colleagues’ conclusion started:

  • “The study has shown that some of the existing stereotypes do not apply. For example, some people believe that a good language learner has to be musical, or have a high language aptitude or an exceptionally good memory. The Adult Interview Study indicated that these qualities may not be essential.” (p. 103)


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3 case studies conducted by Naiman’s team started:

  • In the age group 26-35

  • Two are females and one male

  • All three are successful language learners.

  • They learned and maintained from 5 to 19 languages including Latin, German, French, Swedish, Polish, Italian, Hebrew,Rumanian, Icelandic, Spanish, Albanian, Greek, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Mohawk, Swahili, Gaelic, Hungarian, Hittite, Japanese and Lithunian.


Ms a s story l.jpg
Ms A’s story started:

  • Born in Virginia, USA.

  • Studied German and French at school.

  • Went to France and stayed there for 3 years.

  • Married a French linguist, who was bilingual in French and German.

  • Spent a total of 2 years in Sweden.

  • Went to Poland for 1 year.

  • Settled in Quebec and spoke French at home.


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Ms A’s French learning experience started:

  • Saw French movies every day.

  • Read French newspapers and magazines.

  • Monitored her own pronunciation and tried hard to perfect it.


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Ms A recalled: started:

  • “…whatever you pick up, whether it’s one word or two words…use it…even if it is wrong, try it out, it doesn’t matter.”


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Ms B’s background started:

  • Born in Nova Scotia of Canada

  • Languages spoken at home: English and Yiddish

  • Languages she studied at school: German and French

  • Went to Italy for teacher training


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Ms B recalled: started:

  • “I wasn’t afraid anymore, I generated sentences…if they weren’t correct, people around me told me how to say it. I was on the look-out for clues.”


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Ms B’s experience started:

  • Ms B pointed out that the immersion into an Italian environment, and therefore the motivation for having to learn to speak the language, were the most significant factors.



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Perhaps we could learn from them started:

  • Their interest in foreign languages

  • Their perseverance

  • Their initiative

  • Their use of the environment

  • Their outgoing personality




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Wang Hong: started:

  • “I’m very active in class because I think this is a good chance to practice speaking. I like to talk with my fellow students and my teachers in English. I also like to talk to myself in English. Sometimes when I work in the kitchen I speak English to myself. “


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Li Hua: started:

“I don’t like to answer questions in class. Sometimes even when I do know the answer, I still feel reluctant to speak. I do not practise outside class because there isn’t such an environment. Occasionally I talk to myself. When I cannot remember an English word I use gestures or simply do not speak at all.”


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Wang Hong: started:

  • Wang Hong likes to reflect on the strategies she has used. She evaluates her learning. When she could not answer the teacher’s questions fluently or got an unsatisfactory score, she would try to find out why before she went to bed.


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Li Hua: started:

  • “I’m not clear what strategies I’ve used. I just preview, review, do my homework and memorize new words. That’s all. There’s no strategy to speak of.”



Slide38 l.jpg
俞弘: started:

“如果说学习外语和婴儿学话有所不同的话,那就在于我们缺乏语言环境。这一缺陷需要靠广泛的阅读来弥补。普通中学或非英语院系一般没有大量的阅读课,这要求大家在课外增加英语阅读的数量。”

“我想,阅读的材料从简单的入手,从自己的熟悉的课题入手,在于‘泛’而不在于‘精’,在于数量而不在于质量。”


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吴珺: started:

“那末这种语感如何培养呢?那就得靠平时多花功夫,大量阅读课外书。从二年级开始,我一直不间断地广泛阅读课外书籍,几乎一大半英文名著我都看过,还有许多科幻体裁的通俗作品,另外我也喜欢看《读者文摘》和《时代周刊》。”


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What is common to the GLLs started:

  • A strong interest in the foreign language

  • Hard work

  • Constantly checking on one’s own progress and the strategies used


O malley and chamot s classification l.jpg
O’Malley and Chamot’s classification started:

Learning strategies

metacognitive

meta

cognitive

social/affective


Metacognitive strategies l.jpg
Metacognitive strategies started:(元认知策略)

  • Advance organizers

  • Directed attention

  • Selective attention

  • Self- management

  • Advance preparation

  • Self-monitoring

  • Delayed production

  • Self-evaluation


Be a good manager of your studies l.jpg
Be a good manager of your studies started:

  • You need to be a good planner.

  • You need to use your attention wisely.

  • You need to make preparations beforehand.

  • You need to monitor your studies.

  • You need to evaluate the methods you used.


Cognitve strategies l.jpg
Cognitve strategies( started:认知策略)

  • Repetition

  • Resourcing

  • Translation

  • Grouping

  • Note-taking

  • Deduction

  • Recombination


Cognitive strategies l.jpg
Cognitive strategies( started:认知策略)

  • Imagery

  • Auditory representation

  • Key word

  • Contextualization

  • Elaboration

  • Transfer

  • Inferencing


Social affective strategies l.jpg
Social/affective strategies( started:社会/情感策略)

  • Cooperation

  • Question for clarification


Rebecca oxford s classification l.jpg
Rebecca Oxford’s classification started:

  • Direct strategies

    • Memory strategies

    • Cognitive strategies

    • Compensation strategies

  • Indirect strategies

    • Metacognitive strategies

    • Affective strategies

    • Social strategies


Research findings by li jiongying l.jpg
Research findings by Li Jiongying: started:

  • “The learning strategies Chinese students most commonly use are memory strategies, cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Next are compensation strategies. The least commonly used strategies are social/affective strategies.” (Li 2003)


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A study of the differences between English majors and non-English majors

  • Subjects:515 non-English majors and 317 English majors at a university in Shandong

  • Questionnaire consists of two parts: personal information and 47 questions based on Oxford’s questionnaire.

  • Conducted in May 2002.

  • Scores of each student for the six strategies and the mean score of English majors and non-English majors worked out.



The research shows l.jpg
The research shows non-English majors

  • Non-English majors use fewer strategies than English majors.

  • Non-English majors use memory strategies more often than English majors.

  • Non-English majors need to improve their learning strategies.


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Rubin’s list of strategies non-English majors

  • The GLL is a willing and accurate guesser.

  • The GLL has a strong drive to communicate.

  • The GLL is not inhibited.

  • The GLL pays attention to form.

  • The GLL practises.

  • The GLL monitors his own speech and the speech of others.

  • The GLL attends to meaning.


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Be a good guesser non-English majors

  • Guessing,in a way, is learning.

  • You may make a wrong guess, but you learn in the process.

  • You don’t make wild guesses. You use your previous knowledge to make an intelligent guess.


Now look at this sentence l.jpg
Now look at this sentence: non-English majors

  • “I’d like to close tonight with words from the second inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln—a great leader who knew a few things about healing deadly divisions in this land. They are uncannily appropriate tonight.”


Have a strong drive to communicate l.jpg
Have a strong drive to communicate non-English majors

  • Talk to your fellow students, your teachers, your foreign teacher or anyone who wishes to listen to you.

  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

  • If you have no one to talk to, talk to yourself.


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Don’t be shy non-English majors

  • Take the initiative to communicate with people.

  • Don’t worry about your “face”.

  • Learn to speak in public.


Pay attention to both meaning and form l.jpg
Pay attention to both meaning and form non-English majors

  • Fluency and accuracy are both important, but at the beginning you should not worry too much about making mistakes.

  • Practise as much as you can.

  • Watch what you say and write. Be a good monitor of yourself.


Be a thinking learner l.jpg
Be a thinking learner non-English majors

  • Find strategies suitable for yourself.

  • Constantly reflect on your study and sum up your experience.

  • Improve your strategies.


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Beiwai’s past experience non-English majors

  • Oral activities

  • Speaking pairs and small group activities

  • Reading aloud contest

  • English evening

  • Field work

  • Summing up learning methods and exchange experiences


Now you can ask yourself the following questions l.jpg
Now you can ask yourself the following questions: non-English majors

  • Do you actively involve yourself in language learning practice?

  • Do you make guesses when you come up against a new language item?

  • Do you try to sum up rules yourself?

  • Do you make conscious efforts to overcome your shyness?

  • Do you seek opportunities to communicate with others in English?


Ask yourself the following questions l.jpg
Ask yourself the following questions: non-English majors

  • Do you monitor your writing and speaking?

  • Do you often use a dictionary and sometimes a grammar book?

  • Do you sometimes sit down and reflect on your learning experience?

  • Are you worried when there’s something you don’t understand?

  • Are you afraid of making mistakes?


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If your answers to the first eight questions are all positive and your answers to the last two are in the negative, I’m sure you’re a good language learner.


Thank you l.jpg
Thank you. positive and your answers to the last two are in the negative, I’m sure you’re a good language learner.


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