When deciding to learn a language, our attention should not only focus on acquiring the knowledge of that language, but also on how to learn the language more effectively. For this reason processes and actions must consciously be taken by language learners to help them achieve that goal. These processes and actions are called learning strategies.
Those who think about their methods of studying are usually the more effective learners.
Learning strategies can be implemented from the very outset of learning to the most advanced levels of target language performance [ Cohen, Andrew (2011) Strategies in learning and using a second language ( 2nd edition/Longman)].
Students should be encouraged to use learning strategies to enhance their performance in the four areas of speaking, listening, writing, and reading.
- Materials within the students’ level should be used, when they can understand the language, in context but with some added elements beyond their current level.
- Students should learn a set of phrases that would help them express their opinions more easily.
- They should learn to use circumlocution, and paraphrase.
- They should be able to monitor their language repertoire simply by staying within the limits of their foreign language vocabulary knowledge and making good use of what they know.
- Circumlocution is when a complicated idea is expressed in a series of simple sentences.
- Paraphrase is expressing the meaning of something using different words, to achieve greater clarity.
- Students should have a set structure for their writings.
- They should plan consistently
- And should try to have their work corrected.
- Students should look to develop effective vocabulary learning strategies.
- They should find a way to self-test regularly.
- They should group words in topics.
- They should get into the routine to making sentences out of the items to be learned.
- They should register new vocabulary (in a book or App).
- Students should be able to realise a self-diagnosis and deal with problematic points of grammar.
- They should understand grammatical terminology (subject, object etc
- They should be able to ponder that the reason why their mistakes matter it’s to provide clarity to their writing so that the reader might understand.
- Students should resist translating every word.
- They should concentrate on “key words”.
- They should use inferencing from context
- They should be able to predict what might happen in a passage.
- They should practice reading from gist (to grab the general meaning)
- They should be able to use elaboration (use of knowledge already gained);
- They should practice word recognition
- They should be able to analyse the sentences, and
- Use cognate
Students should be able to:
- Use word recognition in the first hearing.
- Focus on verbs and other words rich in meaning.
- Use inferencing
- Elaborate (using prior knowledge)
- Use repetition to grab the general meaning of what they are listening to.
- Organise their work.
- Record the vocabulary
- Use a dairy to write down the challenges, the parts of their study they find enjoyable, easy ,etc.
- Be able to monitor their own progress.
- Oversee their self-assessment.
This help the students to bridge the gaps in their vocabulary and/or grammar knowledge.
They should be able to:
- Use circumlocution and paraphrase.
- Learn and use hesitation fillers in oral conversations to keep the communication going.
- Make up definitions for unfamiliar vocabulary.
- Review how much time they have available for their language study, and how much they want to achieve on a weekly basis.
- Analyse which aspect of their language learning they want to improve the most.
- Develop a structure for their working week.
- Review their achievements periodically and assess if they are on track.
As you can see, how students learn a language is as important as the fact of learning that language, because those who think about their methods of studying are usually the more effective learners.
How do you monitor your language study? Please do let me know in the comments below.
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