THE RELEVANCE OF DIFFERENTIATING LANGUAGE LEARNERS – A LEARNER PROFILE
Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The aim of this research paper is to throw some light into individual differences which learners bring to the learning context - not just their differences which are apparent, such as age, language proficiency, but differences that make a group a community of individuals, each with their own behaviour, preferences, interests and ways of working - and the active role they play.
We often view a class as a “fairly homogenous group” (Scrivener, 2005:62), particularly when we have large groups to work with. However, individual differences need to be appreciated and accounted for when it comes to planning for learning.
This study case registers, following the feedback of several interviews to students, how influenced students may be by their surroundings when studying a foreign language and how personal motivations and external factors can work for both the teacher and the learner. This qualitative research approach allows the interviewer to guide with general topic areas providing the interviewee with freedom in how they respond. This paper explores the relevance of motivations, interests, good and bad experiences of language learning perceived learning needs and opinion of certain learning activities. The findings and suggested implications for the Language Teacher are then explored reminding us that “As a teacher, I cannot learn for my students. Only they can do that. What I can do is help create the conditions in which they might be able to learn.” (2005:18)
Keywords: Learner, styles, motivation, languages.