Multiple language learning listories: Is there a happy ending?


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Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Description Asking students to write their language learning history is one of the common ways to make them reflect on their learning process. The aim of this presentation is to share experience with using this tool in university English language courses and to focus on students learning multiple languages. As a member of the English Autonomously project at Masaryk University, the author has been dealing with students´ learning histories during language advising sessions and used them to help students identify their personal learning preferences and to create their individual study plans accordingly. When implemented as an introductory activity into regular Academic English classes, writing a language learning history and discussing it with their peers has been used to make students realize how various their previous experience was and to thus emphasize the importance of effective self-study that would supplement their learning in class. The presentation is going to focus on students who had studied more than one language and whose language learning histories include observations about similarities or differences between learning English and the other language. Among issues that arise when students reflect on their previous experience of learning languages, the differences in motivation, teacher´s role, personal learning environment and learning strategies will be discussed. The presentation will demonstrate that students perceive learning multiple languages as separate processes that do not influence each other. It will be shown that even if students can identify positive aspects and successful strategies of learning each language in their learning histories, they have not been able to transfer those into the other language. The presentation aims at suggesting that if students are encouraged to build (more) connections between learning multiple languages, they can enrich and improve their language learning process(es) and develop some plurilingual competencies too. It will be proposed that what could support this approach best is teachers themselves sharing their experience with learning (multiple) languages. Teachers and students shall try to make the so far parallel language histories interconnect and to live happily together ever after.

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