A Good Language Learner:
Retrieved on March 27, 2009 from http://www.bellsenglish.com.br/site/content/chamadas/aprendiz.php
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to learn a new language much better?
Do they have a secret formula?
A good language learner has many favorable qualities, attitudes and learning skills.
But if you are willing, you can adopt their strategies, attitudes and learning habits too.
The Successful English Language Learner...
Speaks English in class at all times – with the teacher and with other students; tries to speak English with the secretaries and other teachers, too, as a way to get even more practice and help to create a rich learning environment.
Outside the classroom he uses the language at every available opportunity. He actively does more of what his teacher asks of him. He is forever seeking out opportunities both to use and listen to the language.
Practices what he has just learnt as soon as possible.
For example – while on the bus or bicycle – he is going through in his mind what he has recently learnt in class by holding an imaginary conversation with someone.
Tries to infer the meaning of new words rather than translating and looking them up in a dictionary.
Is constantly analyzing, categorizing and synthesizing his new language. He absorbs what he is taught in class, but he himself is actively involved in discovering where new pieces fit in to the overall picture.
He is willing to experiment and take risks.
Has a strong drive to communicate or to learn from conversations. If he does not know the exact way to express himself, he will borrow rules, make up new words, or invent ways to get his meaning across.
Does not question the irregularities of the language in search of grammar rules.
Tries to learn more inductively than deductively.
Tries out different approaches to acquiring the language. He chooses strategies and materials that work for him and discards the rest. He also notes how other people learnt the language, trying out their methods to see if they are suitable for him.
Records new vocabulary and grammar rules in a notebook – but he does it systematically.
He also keeps a language diary.
Always remembers and understands that language is speech above all else and that ears are more useful than eyes in acquiring a foreign language.
Compensates for his lack of linguistic ability by: - occasionally using his mother tong, asking for help (repeat, clarify, slow down, give examples), using mime and gesture, making up new words, using hesitation fillers when he needs to think, describing the concept for which he lacks a word.
He makes errors work for him, because he knows that errors are a part of the process of learning and can learn through them. He not only notes his errors, but also tries to understand why he made them and how to avoid them again in the future. He is receptive to corrections and negotiates with his teacher when he wants errors corrected.
Is a participant rather than a spectator. Participates as fully as possible in classroom activities; helps to build the English atmosphere. He does not expect to learn English just by sitting in the classroom, and do not rely on the teacher to direct his learning totally.
Asks questions, although some teachers can become irritated by students who are constantly asking difficult and very often irrelevant questions, the urge to find out why is part of a successful learner's equipment. Good teachers invite students to ask if they don't understand something. Good learners do this, judging when it is appropriate to do so and when it is not.
Is realistic. He knows that it will take time and effort to become proficient in English, and that there will be periods where he does not seem to be making much progress. So he limits his expectations to those that are reasonable and attainable.
Has a willingness to listen. He listens to what is going on – not just in the sense of paying attention, but also in terms of really listening to the English that is being used, soaking it up with eagerness and intelligence.
Is willing to live with uncertainty. He does not give up so easily. He is able to overcome his initial feelings of uneasiness, and - in fact - may even be comfortable with uncertainty.
Monitors his own speech, as well as the speech of others. The good language learner, however, is (firstly) monitoring his own speech – listening to himself speak and noting how his speech is being received by his listener – Ex: facial expression, etc. To him, such feedback is very important. Then (secondly) he is monitoring the other person's speech – noting how he uses words and phrases, as well as grammar structures.
Does not make up excuses. If he is not making improvement in the foreign language, before he blames the teacher or the textbook, he asks himself if he is using the strategies and the attitudes of a good language learner.
Does not try to translate in his head. Instead, he tries to speak spontaneously.
Reviews yesterday's material systematically. He knows that he needs to have more encounters with the same piece of language in order to be able to use it actively.
Forgets about his age or aptitude when learning a foreign language.
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Page created on March 27, 2009 | Last updated on March 20, 2009
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