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Learner Support

Background | One-to-one advice | Workshops | Learners' Voices | Learning Resources

The LWW-CETL has provided a variety of support activities for language learners.

Background

Learner Autonomy is the main theoretical framework which has underpinned the LWW CETL’s activities to enhance learner experiences of acquisition. Learner support activities under LWW CETL have adopted a mixture of traditional ‘technical’, sociocultural and political-critical perspectives of learner autonomy. The emphasis has been on the development of communities of practice, the exchange and sharing of knowledge and skills amongst learners, and the positioning of the learners’ own voices along teachers’ voices. A good base has been built for language learner support activities to be consolidated as a practice adding value to the overall student experience.

Questionnaire feedback from workshops, focus groups, and other activities indicate that this approach enhanced students’ learning experiences in the following ways in particular

  • the acquisition of successful learning techniques and habits
  • the enhancement of motivation and enthusiasm
  • the development of responsibility for one’s own learning
  • greater insight into the language acquisition process
  • the development of a more realistic approach to the setting of learning goals

Below is an overview of some of the LWW-CETL activities developed by Michalis Sivvas, the LWW CETL and SOAS Language Centre Curriculum Specialist and Learning Advisor. For more information, contact the Learning Advisor.

One-to-one advice

Students have had the opportunity to discuss their concerns related to language learning with the CETL-LWW Learning Advisor. They often addressed issues such as unfulfilled expectations from a language course, a perceived or real lack of experience in learning a language, as well as issues of confidence and failing motivation. Students have also addressed difficulties related to the development of specific language areas and skills, e.g. learning vocabulary, or developing speaking and listening skills.

Self-study resources addressing language learning issues raised at one-to-one sessions and at workshops are available from the SOAS Language Centre.

Workshops

LWW CETL has offered a series of language learning workshops. The purpose of these workshops has been to familiarise language learners with second language acquisition theories and practices, and to support the development of a community of learners across languages sharing their learning experiences and expertise. Workshops have been run by language learners themselves, the learning advisor, and language teachers.

Learners’ Voices

Learners’ Voices is a public forum hosting learners’ beliefs and opinions on language learning. It constitutes an alternative discourse to traditional teacher perspectives on language learning, and it seeks to enhance the development of a community of learning across languages. The project comprises of learners’ written accounts of their experience in the form of personal narratives or completed questionnaires. The Learners Voices project also includes the series of audio recordings Jinrikisha - How we Learn Japanese, an award-winning project (European Award for Languages – Higher Education 2008).

Learning Resources

LWW CETL has been supporting the learning of languages of the wider world through the development and dissemination of language-specific teaching and learning resources. Examples of such projects, listed by language, are available on the Resources pages.