WHAT STUDENTS OF
LCTLS WANT THEIR
TEACHERS TO KNOW
Anna Uhl Chamot
Jill Robbins
(thanks to Laura Blythe Liu, Kristen
D’Avolio, & Candice Michalowicz)
The George Washington University &
National Capital
Language Resource Center
Washington, DC
http://nclrc.org/lctls
BACKGROUND
National Capital Language Resource
Center (NCLRC) one of 15 foreign
language resource centers in U. S.
Since 1990 NCLRC has conducted
research on language learning
strategies, both identification and
classroom applications studies.
Learning Strategy Resource Guides
produced for elementary immersion,
high school, and university language
teachers and students.
PURPOSE OF CURRENT
NCLRC STUDY
Explore how US college students
learn
Arabic
Chinese
Japanese
Korean
RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
Most learning strategy research
on Western languages.
Good language learners (of
Western languages) use similar
strategies.
Effect of non-Western writing
systems on strategy use?
Impact of unique grammar and
non-cognate vocabulary?
PARTICIPANTS
College learners of Arabic, Chinese,
Japanese, or Korean.
Low Intermediate (fourth semester)
level at two U.S. universities.
11 students of Arabic.
10 students of Chinese.
6 students of Japanese.
4 students of Korean.
QUESTIONS
What are the challenges in learning
(language) ?
What strategies do you use to
overcome these challenges?
What advice do you give to other
students of this language?
How are you learning the target
language culture?
METHODOLOGY
Record and videotape focus group
interview protocols.
Transcribe interviews verbatim.
Analyze transcripts for learning
challenges and responses.
Identify student perceptions of
effective and ineffective
instruction.
FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW
STRUCTURE
Writing task with think-aloud
prompts.
Questions on
Speaking
Reading
Listening
Vocabulary
Culture
Advice to a new student of the
language.
How students study the
language
Why students are studying the
language
Student perceptions of
effective language instruction
ARABIC - HOW
Online listening: repeat many times
(text materials)
Listen to music online
Online authentic materials: use
images to guess meaning
Use the strategy of inferencing for live
listening
CHINESE
Text CD: slow with Windows media
Repeated listening
CHINESE - HOW
Using boxes for reading
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
CHINESE - HOW
Working with NS friends
Watching movies
Using online listening
Using online games & quizzes (Quia)
CHINESE - HOW
Listening with an iPod)
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
JAPANESE - HOW
Use flashcards while playing video
games
Watch movies in Japanese
Make friends and get involved in
martial arts and cultural exchanges
Study radicals to understand kanji
KOREAN
Use an online translator
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
KOREAN
Internet radio, Korean music
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
KOREAN - HOW
Use Imagery
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
ARABIC - WHY
Becoming more bankable
A mission to learn
Getting “a profound sense of the
Middle East”
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
CHINESE - WHY
Go into International Politics
Just want to speak the language;
enjoy the culture
Fascinated with China
To learn more about my heritage
JAPANESE - WHY
Interest in pop culture; anime
Career involving Japanese or
business with Japan
Go for a homestay in Japan
KOREAN - WHY
To get in touch with my identity
To communicate with my parents or
relatives better (adopted child who
wants to meet birth mother)
ARABIC - INSTRUCTION
Students don’t feel they are getting
enough listening practice; must
puzzle out what the teacher is saying
through her gestures
Knowledge of grammar is simple
CHINESE - INSTRUCTION
Pairwork can be productive (or not)
Partners can let you down
Managing time together is crucial
Limited knowledge of structures
restricts creativity
Choral reading is “mind-bogglingly”
slow
JAPANESE INSTRUCTION
More reading wanted
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
JAPANESE INSTRUCTION
Should start with kanji earlier
Transition from HS to college: “the
jump was hard” because there was
more review in HS
Students shouldn’t be allowed to NOT
speak Japanese in class
KOREAN - INSTRUCTION
Understanding teacher’s questions is
difficult and stressful: Students under
pressure stop listening and guess
“what she must be asking”
QuickTime™ and a
H.264 decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
NEXT STEPS
Continue data analysis.
Develop descriptions of learning
strategy applications for each
language.
Produce resource guide for
teaching learning strategies to
students of Arabic, Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean.
FUTURE RESEARCH
Ways to teach learning strategies
for language-specific challenges.
Effects of strategies-based
instruction (SBI) on student
achievement/proficiency, attitude,
and motivation.
Instructional model for SBI for
non-Western languages.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please visit the NCLRC website for
free resources on language learning
strategies and other topics
http://www.nclrc.org
Special thanks to our transcribers: Laura
Blythe Liu, Kristen D’Avolio, and
Candice Michalowicz
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