What’s wrong with language learner compensation strategies at the higher levels?

Monday, October 6th, 2014

A common attitude held by language learners is that one course or a series of sequential courses will allow them to meet their individual goals. The reality of proficiency development is that while the lower levels breeze by for learners, at the higher levels it will often seem as if the same learners plateau.

In fact, by the time language learners reach the advanced levels, they have often developed a complex set of compensation strategies which allow them to …Continue Reading

What is an individual difference? How to accommodate?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

What are your individual differences?

I was completing a book review the other day and I came across the term ‘individual difference’ for language learners. Then last week I was finishing an article with a colleague and we got stuck on the draft. The problem? We were working through defining and including ‘individual differences’.

What are individual differences? …Continue Reading

Not Everyone Is A Master Language Learner

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

What’s the connection between culture, class (as in social-capital) and language? Check out this article from The Atlantic, the story of a mid-career, African-American professional enrolling in an intensive language program.

Coates, the author, highlights not only what it means to be an effective language learner in one of the world’s most renowned language programs, but it also touches on the fact that the skills needed for success are gifted to us through our families and upbringing, termed social-capital, and that certain lucky individuals come into these programs as master learners not because they are smarter, but because of their previous learning experiences. This access to social-capital (or lack of) has been documented in university programs across the US for many years now.

The idea that there are ‘master’ language learners among us bears consideration. …Continue Reading

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!
…Continue Reading

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