About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3914-3921
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

THE MISSING TOOL IN THE PANOPLY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING AIDS

A. Corbisier1, A. Cohen2

1Université Libre de Bruxelles (BELGIUM) / Haute Ecole Lucia De Brouckère (BELGIUM)
2Université Libre de Bruxelles (BELGIUM) / Ecole Hassania des Travaux Publics (MOROCCO)
In a society focused on individual pleasure, entertainment and communication, the idea of learning a language just by speaking has been taken for granted and has been justified by the theorists, saying: skills should be developed rather than knowledge.
Language teaching is now focused on the practice of communication in the form of conversation tables, immersion courses, books, documents, platforms with exercises made exclusively in the foreign language.

However, in numerous cases, progress is found to stop at the level of a basic communication, without nuances, hampered by multiple errors. Actually, once learners have reached a level that allows them to be (more or less) understood, their progress stagnates and they continue to make the same mistakes.

Why do they stop progressing?

Because they have not learnt the true structures of the language and, worse, in the learning process, they have often integrated wrong reflexes. Why? Because trying to master a language only by talking would be like trying to play tennis at a professional level just by playing games ...
Speaking the language is obviously necessary, but serves mainly to consolidate what has been learnt and to increase confidence and fluency because the attention is focused on "what", "what" am I being told, and "what" will I say.
"Learning", on the other hand, requires exercises during which the attention is focused on "how" to do, i.e. the equivalent of technical exercises in a physical sport.

In short, learning a foreign language requires two types of exercises:

- A first type of exercises to LEARN, during which the attention is focused on "how should I do?”. This first type of exercises should be based on a mental model (the structures of the language to learn) and aimed at internalizing, at automating.
- A second type of exercises based on communication in order to use what is known, what has been automated, more fluently, since the attention is focused on "what am I being told? and "what will I say”.

The current methods to learn languages tend to focus on this second type of exercises and to neglect the first one. The tool missing in the panoply of material available today for the intellectual sport of learning a language is the clear mental representation of what you should do, the very basis of the learning process, and exercises to automate the process.
Just as for the mother tongue, in order to reach a language level that enables you to express yourself accurately and correctly, instead of"cobbling together" sentences, you must learn to think in the foreign language, i.e. learn how to structure your sentences as the natives do. And that cannot be learnt just by “doing”.

The "Mind-Setting Method” I have created is designed to format the mind to think in the foreign language. It is built around three main axes:
1) create in the learners’ minds an overall structure of the language to learn;
2) compare with the structure that is already present: their mother tongue;
3) automate the translating process by creating reflexes with exercises that apply the learning principles identified by psycholinguists:
- have the learners consciously perform the mental action of going from one language to another
- repeat, drill.
@InProceedings{CORBISIER2011MIS,
author = {Corbisier, A. and Cohen, A.},
title = {THE MISSING TOOL IN THE PANOPLY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING AIDS},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {3914-3921}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Corbisier AU - A. Cohen
TI - THE MISSING TOOL IN THE PANOPLY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING AIDS
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 3914
EP - 3921
ER -
A. Corbisier, A. Cohen (2011) THE MISSING TOOL IN THE PANOPLY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING AIDS, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 3914-3921.
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