How will Alberta’s second language students ever achieve proficiency?

March 11, 2013

SLIC logoLate last year I had an article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Notos, which is published by the Second Language and Intercultural Council (SLIC) of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. With permission of the publisher, I am sharing the abstract and article with you:

Abstract

Students of second and international languages in Alberta do not receive sufficient hours of instruction through formal classroom time alone to achieve distinguished levels of proficiency (Archibald, J., Roy, S., Harmel, S., Jesney, K., Dewey, E., Moisik, S., et al., 2006). This research study uses a constructivist approach (Guba & Lincoln, 1994; Twomey Fosnot, 2005) to explore what is meant by proficiency and expertise in terms of language learning, by applying what has commonly become known as “the 10,000-hour rule” of expertise (Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R., & Tesch-Romer, C.,1993; Ericsson, K. A., Prietula, M. J., & Cokely, E. T., 2007; Gladwell, 2008).

Alberta’s French as a second language: Nine-year program of studies (Grade 4 to 12) is considered as an example. This paper argues that dedicated, self-regulated informal learning is necessary to supplement classroom learning in order to achieve 10,000 hours of dedicated practice necessary to develop high levels of proficiency or expertise, according to the definitions offered by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Recommendations are offered to help learners and parents understand critical role of self-regulated, informal learning in achieving language proficiency.

Keywords

second language, international languages, Canada, Alberta, 10,000-hour rule, expertise, proficiency, ACTFL, Common European Framework of Reference, CEFR, expert, self-regulation, formal learning, non-formal learning, informal learning.

Citation

Eaton, S. E. (2012). How will Alberta’s second language students ever achieve proficiency? ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, the CEFR and the “10,000-hour rule” in relation to the Alberta K-12 language-learning context. Notos, 12(2), 2-12.

If you are interested in a copy of the full article, please contact me.

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If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or leave a comment. Thanks!

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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.

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UNESCO’s free advocacy kit for promoting multilingual education

October 24, 2012

UNESCO multilingualism Sarah Elaine Eaton blogUNESCO has a number of initiatives on the go to promote multilingual, bilingual and mother-tongue education. They have come out with a new advocacy kit designed to help raise awareness about the importance of multilingual education. The toolkit is for:

  • education practitioners (teachers)
  • education specialists (learning leaders)
  • policy makers

The kit is a 109-page free, downloadable .pdf. It is very cool. Get yours here.

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Share or Tweet this: UNESCO’s free advocacy kit for promoting multilingual education http://wp.me/pNAh3-1vs

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.


German sign language – Resources and tips

August 29, 2012

Did you know that not all countries in the world share a universal sign language? Today’s post is in honour of my friend, Meike Thomesen, who is the Assistant Principal at Bowcroft Elementary, Calgary’s only German bilingual school. Meike just came back from an intensive training program for in-service German teachers. The course was held in Germany. Part of their training involved PD to teach the German language to children by complementing the spoken language with sign language. What a super idea!

If you teach German, here are some resources to help you learn about German sign language:

DGS Korpus – A corpus of German sign language texts. This is a long-term project of the Academy of Sciences in Hamburg for documenting and researching the German Sign Language (DGS).

Basic German sign language – You Tube video with English sub-titles

German Sign Language Numbers – YouTube video

AlphaDictionary – A very cool, multilingual sign language resource site

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Share or Tweet this post:  German sign language – Resources and tips http://wp.me/pNAh3-1uf

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.


Can TV can help you learn another language?

May 24, 2012

Recently someone asked me if watching TV in another language is a good way to learn that language. The answer is… it depends. There are a number of benefits and also a number of factors that may not benefit the learner. Here’s my take on it:

The good

Watching TV exposes you to authentic language, spoken by native speakers. The vocabulary and grammar that students are exposed to in textbooks is carefully controlled to make the learning process methodical. However, real life is not so methodical. By watching TV, you can get a sense of what authentic language sounds like.

You get accustomed to the real rate of speech of the language. Languages are spoken at different speeds. Proper language learning materials will often slow down the speech so that learners can process what they are hearing more effectively. TV is an excellent way to get used to the regular speed at which native speakers talk.

You can learn colloquialisms and slang. Learners often want to master informal jargon and slang not only to understand native speakers, but also to sound like they “fit in”. TV shows often showcase popular slang at the time the show was produced. Slang is presented in a particular social context, among speakers who are likely to use it. The downside to this is that learners still have to master when and how to use the slang in an acceptable way in their own social circles.

The bad

The grammar and syntax of TV are not always correct. TV may represent authentic language, but let’s face it, the real world is far messier than a textbook. TV is a lousy place to learn proper language structure.

Learners can develop language habits that may cause others to laugh at them. TV characters often develop, in part, due to the way the writers script their characters. Sometimes they are given particular words or sayings that, after many repetitions, will become part of their character’s “brand” (Quick! Who do you think of when you hear, “Bazinga!” or “Beam me up, Scotty” or “D’oh!”) Language learners need to know how to distinguish between what is an accepted part of normal speech and what is peculiar to a particular show or character. If they miss the mark, they may find themselves the object of some ridicule.

The ugly

Frustrations can escalate quickly. Learners may find they become frustrated easily when they can not understand a TV program. This may be more likely to happen if they are watching a show with a group of native speakers or others who are more advanced. For the “Type A” personality who demands nothing short of absolute perfection from themselves, watching TV can be a frustrating experience because until your proficiency levels are high, it is unlikely that you will be able to absorb much of what happens.

My recommendations

Watch the news. Newscasters are trained to speak clearly and articulate their words precisely. They also do not use much slang. If you also follow the news in your native language you may have a sense of what some of the news stories are about, giving you contextual clues that can help you understand what is being said.

Avoid comedies. As much as we may love comedy shows in our native language, they are almost impossible to understand in a foreign languages, unless you are already very proficient. Comedy shows tend to use more slang and colloquialisms, making them harder for a language learner to decipher.

Use subtitles in the target language to help you. The “closed captioning” function of your TV to also project the written script of what is being said. Be aware that this service is not always 100% correct, but reading at the same time you are listening may decrease your frustration levels.

Use subtitles in your native language if you have to. If you are really a beginner and the TV show or movie is completely out of your grasp, then use the translated subtitles if your system allows you to. This is not the ideal situation, but it is preferable to sitting there in complete misery as you try to muddle your way through a program and not understanding a word of it.

Live interaction trumps watching TV – Get out and talk with people. For a language learner (or for anyone, really), social interaction with real, live people is probably a more effective way to develop your language skills. If you do not have access to native speakers in your area, then watching TV is not a bad way to get exposure to authentic language. But real-time face-to-face interaction helps you build both listening and speaking skills simultaneously.

Related post:

Learning to Talk Like Jesus: How TV shows in Sweden support the Aramaic revival in the Middle East –  http://wp.me/pNAh3-1q7

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Share or Tweet this post: Can TV can help you learn another language? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1pI

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.


Today’s free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools: Relationship Marketing

May 9, 2012

Today we’re having the eighth in a series of ten free webinars on how to market and promote literacy programs and language schools.

Each webinar highlight different ideas from 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program. Every week you get practical, low-cost ideas to help you promote your program. Best of all, you’ll get to connect with others on line who are also interested in the same topic, ask questions and interact.

The webinars are  30 to 60 minutes in length. Bring a pen and paper. I’m going to give you lots of ideas you can implement right away.

Webinar #8 of 10 – What to expect

Today’s webinar will focus on:

  • Relationship marketing.
  • Building trust.
  • Personal touches that make a huge difference.
  • The real “secret” to marketing.

Webinar time

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There are some time zone changes coming up around the world, so double-check these times against your local area:

Point of origin – 14:00 (2:00 p.m.) Mountain Time, March 21, 2012 – Calgary / Edmonton

16:00 (4:00 p.m.) – Eastern Time – Toronto / New York

20:00 (8:00 p.m.) – Greenwich Time – London, England

22:00 (10:00 p.m.) – Eastern European Time – Athens / Istanbul

05:00 (5:00 a.m.) – following day – Japan Standard Time – Tokyo

How to log in

There is no need to register. These webinars are free and open to everyone. Seating is limited though, so sign on early.

To join the webinar, simply click here: http://meet11548754.adobeconnect.com/saraheaton/

Will it be recorded?

You bet. I’ll record the program and post it within 24 hours or so. No charges or fees to watch these recorded programs.

What will future webinars cover?

Here’s what we’ll cover in upcoming webinars:

  • Week #9 – Effective follow up with your marketing and not giving up too soon.
  • Week #10 – Social media for marketing.

All you have to do is block off Wednesdays in your calendar at your corresponding local time and then log in using the link above.

If you can’t make the webinar, and you’d like to ask a question about the topic, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll do my best to answer questions that come in before the program during the webinar. You can watch the recording to get the answer to your question, or I’ll answer you back in the comment section.

Related post:

101 Ways to Market Your Language Program (10 Free webinars) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1j6

Recordings of past programs:

#1 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program 

#2 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#3 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#4 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#5 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#6 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

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Share or Tweet this post:  Todays free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools: Relationship Marketing http://wp.me/pNAh3-1of

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.


Tomorrow’s free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools: The power of connections

May 1, 2012

I’m stoked about tomorrow’s free webinar program! It is the seventh in a series of ten free webinars on how to market and promote literacy programs and language schools.

Each webinars highlight different ideas from 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program. Every week you get practical, low-cost ideas to help you promote your program. Best of all, you’ll get to connect with others on line who are also interested in the same topic, ask questions and interact.

The webinars are  30 to 60 minutes in length. Bring a pen and paper. I’m going to give you lots of ideas you can implement right away.

Webinar #7 of 10 – What to expect

Tomorrow’s webinar will focus on:

  • How to identify your connections.
  • Showcasing the experts in your school (and how this adds value to your marketing).
  • How to connect with your connections.
  • Building successful partnerships.

Webinar time

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There are some time zone changes coming up around the world, so double-check these times against your local area:

Point of origin – 14:00 (2:00 p.m.) Mountain Time, March 21, 2012 – Calgary / Edmonton

16:00 (4:00 p.m.) – Eastern Time – Toronto / New York

20:00 (8:00 p.m.) – Greenwich Time – London, England

22:00 (10:00 p.m.) – Eastern European Time – Athens / Istanbul

05:00 (5:00 a.m.) – following day – Japan Standard Time – Tokyo

How to log in

There is no need to register. These webinars are free and open to everyone. Seating is limited though, so sign on early.

To join the webinar, simply click here: http://meet11548754.adobeconnect.com/saraheaton/

Will it be recorded?

You bet. I’ll record the program and post it within 24 hours or so. No charges or fees to watch these recorded programs.

What will future webinars cover?

Here’s what we’ll cover in upcoming webinars:

  • Week #8 – It’s how you make them feel. Adding personal touches that make all the difference.
  • Week #9 – Effective follow up with your marketing and not giving up too soon.
  • Week #10 – Social media for marketing.

All you have to do is block off Wednesdays in your calendar at your corresponding local time and then log in using the link above.

If you can’t make the webinar, and you’d like to ask a question about the topic, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll do my best to answer questions that come in before the program during the webinar. You can watch the recording to get the answer to your question, or I’ll answer you back in the comment section.

Related post:

101 Ways to Market Your Language Program (10 Free webinars) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1j6

Recordings of past programs:

#1 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program 

#2 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#3 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#4 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#5 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#6 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

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Share or Tweet this post:  Tomorrow’s free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools: The power of connections http://wp.me/pNAh3-1nX

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.


Today’s free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools: Specialty tips for large institutions

April 25, 2012

Join us today for the sixtth in a series of ten free webinars on how to market and promote literacy programs and language schools.

Each webinars highlight different ideas from 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program. Every week you get practical, low-cost ideas to help you promote your program. Best of all, you’ll get to connect with others on line who are also interested in the same topic, ask questions and interact.

The webinars are  30 to 60 minutes in length. Bring a pen and paper. I’m going to give you lots of ideas you can implement right away.

Webinar #6 of 10 – What to expect

Tomorrow’s webinar will focus on:

  • Specialty tips for programs at large institutions
  • Navigating institutional politics
  • Advocacy and relationship-building as part of marketing

Webinar time

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

There are some time zone changes coming up around the world, so double-check these times against your local area:

Point of origin – 14:00 (2:00 p.m.) Mountain Time, March 21, 2012 – Calgary / Edmonton

16:00 (4:00 p.m.) – Eastern Time – Toronto / New York

20:00 (8:00 p.m.) – Greenwich Time – London, England

22:00 (10:00 p.m.) – Eastern European Time – Athens / Istanbul

05:00 (5:00 a.m.) – following day – Japan Standard Time – Tokyo

How to log in

There is no need to register. These webinars are free and open to everyone. Seating is limited though, so sign on early.

To join the webinar, simply click here: http://meet11548754.adobeconnect.com/saraheaton/

Will it be recorded?

You bet. I’ll record the program and post it within 24 hours or so. No charges or fees to watch these recorded programs.

What will future webinars cover?

Here’s what we’ll cover in upcoming webinars:

  • Week #7 – Relationship marketing. The power of connections.
  • Week #8 – It’s how you make them feel. Adding personal touches that make all the difference
  • Week #9 – Effective follow up with your marketing and not giving up too soon.
  • Week #10 – Social media for marketing.

All you have to do is block off Wednesdays in your calendar at your corresponding local time and then log in using the link above.

If you can’t make the webinar, and you’d like to ask a question about the topic, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll do my best to answer questions that come in before the program during the webinar. You can watch the recording to get the answer to your question, or I’ll answer you back in the comment section.

Related post:

101 Ways to Market Your Language Program (10 Free webinars) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1j6

Recordings of past programs:

#1 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program 

#2 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#3 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#4 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

#5 Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program

___________________________

Share or Tweet this post: Today’s free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools: Specialty tips for large institutions http://wp.me/pNAh3-1nj

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.


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