How long does it take to get from advanced to superior?

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

How long will it take you to achieve a superior level?

This is a fair question and deserves a fair answer. It will take you longer to move from the advanced level to the superior level than it did for you to move from the beginner level to the intermediate or advanced level. Once you’ve reached a superior level, the idea is that you will never stop learning as you discover new aspects of the language you need to master!
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The Difference Between Advanced and Superior

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Most learners can get to an advanced working level in another language in a relatively short amount of time. To get to a comfortable working level, you’ve probably been through an intensive immersion program or taken several years of academic study. Here’s what you should be able to do in your language right now as an advanced learner: …Continue Reading

What Makes a Great Language Learner?

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

This is a variation on an earlier post. Last time I focused on what researchers found to be the traits of highly successful language learners. But what about learners? What do they think?

Here’s what one of my language learners told me are the keys to success:

1. Passionate: As a learner, you have to be passionate about your studies and finding opportunities to use your language.

2. Enthusiastic: From mastering vocabulary to grammar, being enthusiastic keeps you positive over time.

3. Strategic: You don’t need to be a methodologist, but having a strategy for your studies can keep you working towards your goals.

4. Hard-working: Taking the time each day or each week to set aside and focus on building your language skills will lead to success. (Note: He was tell me all of this during over a Skype lesson on his cell phone one Saturday evening while hanging out on his balcony. What a fine example!)

5. Sensitive of your mistakes: Realistically, you know that your going to make many mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of learning, but being alert to them helps you self-correct.

What do you think? As a language learner, are there other traits which you believe will help you with your learning goals?

More: 5 Characteristics of Great Language Learners


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2 Strategies for Older Language Learners

Monday, August 4th, 2014

We know that the verbal skills and social skills remain strong with senior language learners, well into a person’s 70s and 80s (see this post), but these are more general findings towards learning overall.

What about language learning specifically? …Continue Reading

Are you an older language learner? Read on…

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

I’ve been reading a wonderful book examining language learners from different perspectives, one of which is the 55+ age group. With baby-boomer retirees going back to school to take up that conversational Italian or Spanish course before heading out on their summer tours of the Continent, this age group presents a new and growing dynamic in language classrooms.

Not surprisingly, there’s no tracking mechanism for age enrollment in language courses, so the perceived rise of the golden learner is just that, anecdotal, but still very real. …Continue Reading