Easy way learning English Language style
So far in this series of articles I have given information and advice on language learning that is of specific interest to parents of ESL children. The task of learning to function in a foreign language situation is not one restricted to ESL families, however. Everyone at Frankfurt International School – adults and children, teachers and parents – is confronted with the challenge of learning and using a foreign language, whether at school, at work or in their day-to-day life in the German community. Some fortunate people seem to master the difficulties of Easy way learning English Language style with great success and little effort, while for others the task is neither an enjoyable nor a successful one. Why should this be the case? What is it that makes learning a new language so easy for some and so difficult for others? In the next few articles I would like to explore answers to these questions, starting this time with a discussion of Easy way learning English Language style.
Each of us has our own preferred way of learning that is determined by our cultural and educational background and our personalities. Language researchers have categorized the various Easy way learning English Language style in numerous ways. Some researchers have identified different perceptual styles: the visual, the tactile and kinesthetic, and the auditory. Others have looked at cognitive styles and distinguished between field-independent and field-dependent learners. Still others have examined the personality styles of reflectivity and impulsiveness. Let’s briefly examine each of these styles:Easy way learning English Language style
- Visual learners usually enjoy reading and prefer to see the words that they are learning. They also like to learn by looking at pictures and flashcards.Easy way learning English Language style
- Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening. They enjoy conversations and the chance for interactions with others. They don’t need to see words written down.
- Tactile learners learn by touching and manipulating objects – this is known as “hands-on” work.Easy way learning English Language style
- Kinesthetic learners like movement and need frequent breaks in desk activities.Easy way learning English Language style
- Field-independent learners (also called analytic learners) like to concentrate on the details of language, such as grammar rules, and enjoy taking apart words and sentences. They are sometimes unable to see the “big picture” because of their attention to its parts.
- Easy way learning English Language styleField-dependent learners (also known as global learners) focus on the whole picture and do not care so much about the details. For example, they are more interested in conveying an idea than worrying about whether it is grammatically correct.
- Reflective learners like to think about language and how to convey their message accurately. They tend not to make so many mistakes because they take time in formulating what they want to say.Easy way learning English Language style
- Impulsive learners take risks with the language. They are more concerned with speaking fluently than speaking accurately, and so make more mistakes.Easy way learning English Language style
(A recent study has found that Koreans and Japanese students tend to be visual learners, whereas English-speaking Americans prefer the auditory learning style.)Easy way learning English Language style
So what are the practical implications of this information for people learning a new language? Firstly, it is useful to put yourself into one or more of the categories that have been identified above. Most people will not find it difficult to identify themselves as a particular kind of learner (although some may feel that their style varies according to the learning situation and the language task). Easy way learning English Language styleAwareness of your preferred learning style may help to explain why some aspects of language learning seem to come easier than others or are more enjoyable. If you are an analytic learner, you are unlikely to feel comfortable doing a language activity which involves a lot of unstructured, spontaneous speech without any concern for grammatical correctness. An ESL teaching colleague recently experienced the converse situation when doing a grammar activity with her class. The teacher had chosen some personalized examples to demonstrate a grammatical point – how to ask questions about the past. So, for example, in response to the sentences I was born in 1963 and I usually went to school by bicycle students had to say When were you born? and How did you get to school? One of her students, however, was a field-dependent learner whose sole focus was on the communicative meaning of the sentences, not on their value in practising grammar. His response to the statement I fell in love for the first time in grade 6 was not the expected How old were you when you fell in love ..? or What happened in grade 6 ..?”, but What was his name?
The second implication follows from the first. Learners who are in a position to choose how they acquire a new language can ensure that their preferred style matches the teaching methodology of the particular language course they want to enrol in. For example, reflective learners may not fare so well in purely conversational classes and auditory learners will probably want to avoid a course with a heavy reading requirement. Of course many learners have no such choice – language learners at FIS for instance! In general, however, language teachers are aware of the range of learning styles in their classrooms and try to find activities that will at least please all the students at some time during the course.
Despite the amount of research that has been done into learning styles over the last few years, there is no clear evidence that any one style is generally better than another. This is just as well, because we cannot do very much to alter how we prefer to learn. What is much more important in influencing the rate of progress in learning a language are the strategies that are employed in the particular learning situation. For example, how you can improve your chances of understanding a difficult text that you have to read. Language learning strategies will be the subject of the next article.Easy way learning English Language style