Foreign Language Learning Strategies Term Paper

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Foreign Language Learning Strategies

This is a paper that outlines the strategies that can be used in the classroom by learners in learning foreign language. It has 6 sources.

Implementation of a foreign language learning strategy may be employed by students independently, and these strategies need to be ones that focus on principles such as motivation, gender, age group, etc., in order to have the effect intended.

Learning a second language is an interesting practice for those who are keen and interested in it. Those who indulge in language learning when they do not really need to often find it easier to do so, and this is because of the fact that they are not pressurized to get things right. They may find the process of error and correction more fun than those who feel compelled to learn a language. This is true for most foreign students who settle in another country and have no other option but to learn the language of that land. Also, students in a country may want to learn a language even when they already have mastered one language. For example, students in the United States may want to develop proficiency in French or Spanish.

In order to overcome the anxiety and difficulty of learning a foreign language teachers and students both may employ strategies that could polish one's language foreign skills.

Students may apply some strategies on their own if they wish to ameliorate their foreign language skills. Some of the strategies that they might implement are the participation point system (PPS), lesson fillers, strategy of vocabulary through prefixes, roots and suffix exercises, picture-word exercises, etc. Though each of these is used in the classroom students to improve their foreign language skills may also implement them independently (The Internet TESL Journal, 2003).

Analysis: While applying strategies for studying foreign language it is also important to keep in mind the following factors that influence what strategies one would apply.

Motivation: In the case of importance of studying a language it has been seen that more motivated students tended to use more strategies than less motivated students. The apparent reason for this is that importance of studying a language creates motivation. An example of this is the importance for learning a language that would aid in a particular career.

Gender: Females usually use more strategies than males, though it has been found that males tend to use more of a particular strategy than females.

Cultural background: The strategy of memorization has been found more prevalent among some Asian students. In contrast to this, students from other cultures did not apply this strategy prevalently.

Attitudes and beliefs: These were said to have a deeper influence on the strategies learners choose, with negative attitudes and beliefs often-resulting inefficient strategy implementation or lack of organization of strategies.

Type of task: With most students it appears that the nature of a task determines which strategy they would employ.

Age and l2 stage: Students of different ages use various strategies to pick up a foreign language, and some of these strategies being implemented older and more advanced students.

Tolerance of ambiguity: Students normal cope with ambiguity and learn to implement different strategies. They learn to select and settle in with the most appropriate strategy (The Internet TESL Journal, 2003).

Few principles that have been suggested for learning a language are is follows:

Strategy training for learning a second language should be based clearly on students' attitudes, beliefs, and stated needs.

Strategies should be chosen so that they mesh with and support each other and so that they fit the requirements of the language task, the learners' goals, and the learners' style of learning.

Training should, if possible, be integrated into regular second language activities over a long period of time rather than taught as a separate, short intervention.

Students should have plenty of opportunities for strategy training during language classes.

Strategy training should include explanations, handouts, activities, brainstorming, and materials for reference and home study.

Affective issues such as anxiety, motivation, beliefs, and interests -- all of which influence strategy choice -- should be directly addressed by second language strategy training.

Strategy training should be explicit, overt, and relevant and should provide plenty of practice with varied second language tasks involving authentic materials.

Strategy training should not be solely tied to the class at hand; it should provide strategies that are transferable to future language tasks beyond a given class.

Strategy training should be somewhat individualized, as different students prefer or need certain strategies for particular tasks.

Strategy training should provide students with a mechanism to evaluate their own progress and to evaluate the success of the training and the value of the strategies in multiple tasks (The Internet TESL Journal, 2003).

Taking into consideration the influencing factors with each student, s/he may implement a strategy that best fits his or her needs. Students who need some motivation for instance would go for the points system. This strategy has the ability of measuring with a point system how well and individual progresses with learning a language. This is done on the basis of one scoring points every time s/he manages to learn a new word, phrase, expression, idiom, etc.

The participation point system (PPS) is open to whatever way one wishes to use it, and because of this flexibility one may be able it to implement it in a number of ways (Jeffrey, 2003).

PPS is a highly motivating strategy for learning foreign languages because students are in competition with each other for word usage in a language. Points are given through distribution by a teacher, with different items, like marbles and discs, standing for points. However, awarding with points for older children may be carried out on a chart, which all children in the classroom can see (Jeffrey, 2003).

Students who wish to follow their own PPS may do so independently. They may do this through designing a chart for themselves. Every time they learn a new word or phrase they may write down how many points they have gained, and thus keep a track of how much they have managed to pick up in unit time (Jeffrey, 2003).

Measuring how much one has learned in a language is important to the learner because the measurement system in itself is a motivating feature.

Another strategy that may be employed efficiently for learning a second language is the exercise of Building Vocabulary through Prefixes, Roots and Suffixes (Pittman, 2003).

Building a vocabulary through prefixes, roots and suffix exercises is a strategy that may be implemented by a student on his or her own, or may be done so by a teacher, involving the rest of the class (Pittman, 2003).

The theory behind employing such a strategy is that there are many words in a language, and particularly in the English language, that may be used as triggers to learn newer and related words. Such an exercise is one that is easy to employ with a little guidance, and a student may find him or herself greatly motivated into experimenting with this procedure single-handedly. Of course, it must be realized that these are techniques that one may apply if s/he is old enough to do so. Younger children cannot do this on their own, and even teachers would have a problem implementing it with them (Pittman, 2003).

Similar to learning a foreign language through prefixes, roots and suffix exercises oral quizzing may also be implemented to help an individual learn a foreign language. Teachers may implement this strategy in the classroom, which can be of immense aid to foreign language learning amelioration. This is an extremely competitive exercise that teachers can conduct in the classroom. In contrast to this, students on their own can ask themselves questions to simple verbs and nouns, and note whether or not they can answer the questions. When they fail to do so they may consult their teachers, and obtain the correct answers (Kurzweil, 2003).

Going through some of these strategies guarantees at least some boost in foreign language vocabulary. However, for some learners there might be anxiety in learning. In a classroom where students have been exposed to foreign language experience through meticulous exercises, teachers may include certain exercises that are able to magnificently continue the language class along with relieving their anxiety. These extra exercises are referred to as 'lesson fillers', as they aid in filling the gaps too (Spencer, 2003).

Lesson fillers are strategic exercises that may be employed to fill in any excess time if a language lesson has not consumed enough time. This has to be done so that early or abrupt ending of a lesson does not take place. Some language teachers may include entertainment as part of the lesson fillers in a language class. This is because students' minds will be refreshed with this kind of exercise (Spencer, 2003).

For example, a teacher of French may include a cartoon in French to refresh the minds of her students. While allowing…

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