Language in Bloom

Stay updated on language learning and teaching by joining our newsletter!

Language Coach Responsibility #6: Identify Gaps in Learning Strategies

The sixth of the ten principal responsibilities of a language coach is to identify gaps in learning strategies.

When you’re studying a language on your own, it can be overwhelming just to get a handle on the content you’re working on, let alone trying to be mindful of learning strategies. If you don’t have much experience in the education sector besides being a student, it’s possible that the question of learning strategies has never even crossed your mind.

What is a learning strategy? 

A learning strategy is a process/action that a learner uses to help him or herself effectively acquire and apply knowledge. In the context of language learning, learning strategies are those that relate specifically to understanding and applying language skills.

As with any other academic subject, there are many existing theories about language learning strategies (and some critics even argue that the term strategy should be abandoned).  I won’t go into a long explanation of the history of categorization of strategies, but I’ll give some examples here, several of which I am sure you already do or have heard of before:

If you’ve been reading this blog and other materials here on Language in Bloom, you’ll recognize several of these.

If you’ve never given any thought to what learning strategies you employ as you progress with your language practice, take a look at some of these examples of learning strategy inventories:

http://www.educ.ualberta.ca/staff/olenka.Bilash/best%20of%20bilash/SILL%20survey.pdf  

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/

http://www.carla.umn.edu/maxsa/documents/LanguageStrategySurvey_MAXSA_IG.pdf

Why are learning strategies important? 

Learning a language on your own is often a mishmash of disjointed classes, information found online, e-courses, and random textbooks. Being aware of the very many learning strategies that stimulate language acquisition is just one way that adult language learners can provide some cohesion to their learning plan.

This is where a language coach comes in.

A language coach will identify any gaps in the learning strategies that might be affecting your autonomy, motivation, or progress, and can give you guidance to incorporating cognitive, metacognitive, or social strategies into your plan to fill those gaps.

Employing learning strategies is just one of the many components of a good language learning plan, and your language coach will be able to guide you in making sure your plan is well-rounded and unified.

Language Coach Responsibility #6

Written by

Tammy Bjelland
Language lover, teacher & coach.

Recent comments

Comments are closed.