A Review of the Literature on Second Language Learning

July 19, 2010

Written Dr. John Archibald,  Dr. Sylvie Roy and other researchers at from the Language Research Centre (LRC), of the University of Calgary, A Review of the Literature on Second Language Learning, 2nd ed. Published in 2006, this study examines 4 key areas:

  1. Effects of a second language on a person’s first language
  2. The role of content instruction in offering a second language
  3. Effects of second language learning on students with special needs
  4. Effects of learning and third language on students for whom English is a second language.

Some key findings of this research are:

  • Exposure to a second language can enhance non-linguistic skills such as divergent thinking, attitudes towards others and math skills.
  • Acquiring knowledge in a second language does not impede first language development.
  • Significant time investment is required to acquire full fluency.
  • Content-based language teaching (e.g. teaching math or science in a second language) can increase students’ ability to make connections between second language study and the outside world.
  • Students with special needs can learn second languages.
  • Acquiring a third language is a common occurrence around the world.
  • It helps to learn a third language if you have a strong proficiency in a first language.

________

Share this post: A Review of the Literature on Second Language Learning https://wp.me/pNAh3-bO

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Leadership through Language Learning and Teaching: The Case of Gandhi

May 11, 2010

In February I presented a paper called “Leading through Language Learning and Teaching: The Case of Gandhi” at the “Interdisciplinary Language Research: Relevance and Application Series” at the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary.

I talked about a study I conducted of Gandhi’s autobiography, An autobiography or the story of my experiments with truth.
My purpose was to uncover and analyze Gandhi’s experiences as a second language learner. Here’s what I found:

1) Gandhi learned 11 languages throughout his life, including his native Gujarati.

2) He used his knowledge of other languages to connect with others on a deeper level, helping them fight for human and civil rights.

3) He believed that all children should learn more than one language.

He says, ““It is now my opinion that in all Indian curricula of higher education there should be a place for Hindi, Samskrit, Persian, Arabic and English, besides of course the vernacular.” (Gandhi, 1948, p. 9)

For Gandhi, language learning and leadership were intertwined. He saw language learning as a way to communicate with others in his own country, to connect with others on a deeper level, understanding their human condition from a compassionate point of view.

While not everyone who learns another language may go on to have a profound effect on the world to the degree that Gandhi did, any person who learns a new language grows as a human being because they can communicate with others in new ways. This helps to develop a more profound curiosity about the world around us, which leads us to learn more about that world. Learning more about the world and those who live in it leads to deeper understandings of other cultures, other values and other ways of understanding life, love, politics, spirituality and all that is important to humans. Learning other languages opens up new possibilities for personal and professional growth, new opportunities to do meaningful work and ultimately, to value others more deeply because we can communicate with them better and understand them.

The presentation included a practical classroom activity for students.

The full-text paper is publicly available on the ERIC data base.

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED508664

___________

Related posts:

______________________

Share this post: Leadership through Language Learning and Teaching: The Case of Gandhi http://wp.me/pNAh3-4L

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


%d bloggers like this: