Edie A. Furniss & Julia Kleinheider, University of Houston
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Language learning strategies became an object of investigation within applied linguistics in the 1970s, and continue to be researched today; however, the teachability of these strategies is disputed (Griffiths & Oxford, 2014). Still, for novices without prior language learning experience, raising awareness of available techniques and resources for efficient language study has the potential to foster empowered, language learning strategy-literate students.
The presenters will demonstrate an online module designed for students taking language classes at the University of Houston. The objective of this interactive module (located at http://www.uh.edu/class/lac/learn/) is to confront popular myths about language learning, to equip students with realistic expectations regarding the level of investment needed to succeed in a language course, to give students concrete strategies for reaching their language goals, and to provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their own study process. The design of the module was motivated by experiences with students of varied levels of preparedness for taking a university-level language class, and the content was informed by the literature on language acquisition and language learning strategies. The choice of a technology-mediated training module was deliberate, as it gives instructors and students flexibility: to assign or work through the module at their own pace; to complete the components in class or as homework; and to further explore topics of interest within the module through links to additional resources.
In this presentation, research related to language learner strategy training, as well as practical considerations for creating an online module, will be discussed, and attendees will have the opportunity to explore the module themselves. Additionally, the outcomes of a pilot implementation in Spring 2016 will be presented in the form of reflections from the module designers and pilot course instructor and student survey feedback on the usefulness of the module components. It is hoped that this presentation will provide guidance to language instructors and program coordinators interested in providing their students with research-based training for increasing language learning strategy literacy.
Griffiths, C., & Oxford, R. L. (2014). The twenty-first century landscape of language learning strategies: Introduction to this special issue. System, 43, 1–10.
Edie A. Furniss
Director of the Language Acquisition Center and Instructional Assistant Professor
University of Houston
Departments of Hispanic Studies and Modern and Classical Languages
University of Houston