Introduction to the Language Learner
Hi everyone! My name is Elaine Horwitz, and I am the Director of the Graduate Program in Foreign Language Education here at the University of Texas at Austin. I've worked with new language teachers for around 30 years, and I'm very interested in helping you be the best teacher that you can become.
I have written a book recently, Becoming a Language Teacher: A Practical Guide to Language Learning and Teaching. My specialty in language learning research has been thinking about language learners and what they bring to the language learning process. The 2 areas of research that I've looked at particularly are issues of language learning anxiety -- why some people feel that learning and using a second language is particularly stressful -- and learner beliefs about language learning. We live in a culture where we think things like "You can go to a language school and learn a language in 2 or three months," or that "Children learn languages effortlessly and perfectly, quickly." So I have spent a good deal of time researching how learners' anxiety and their beliefs impact how they learn a language in your classroom.
In this module, we are going to talk about how you can help your students become more successful language learners. So far, the modules in this course have generally addressed how you as a language teacher should teach various aspects of your target language. In this module, I'm going to try to do something different. I'm going to focus on the emotions that learners bring with them into the language classroom. I think that it's very important that you as a language teacher understand your students' perspectives on learning a language. Learning a second language is different than learning other school subjects and students often have feelings, both positive and negative, about expressing themselves in a new language.
In this module, you will come to understand how students' motivations for learning the new language, their beliefs about language learning, and their anxiety over using the language may influence how they approach their language learning. In addition, I am going to give you a number of suggestions about how you can help all your students become more successful language learners.
- 1 Why FL Teachers Need to Know About Learners
- Explores effective language teaching through understanding your students and the feelings they bring with them into the classroom.
- 2 Motivation
- The many types of motivations learners have for studying a language.
- 3 Anxiety
- Examines the anxiety that some learners experience when learning and using a new language.
- 4 Beliefs
- Some of the preconceptions and misconceptions learners commonly have about how to learn a language.