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Facts & Myths about Achievement of Advanced Professional Level L2 Proficiency (ILR 4) a presentation for BILC, Prague, May 2012 Dr. Betty Lou Leaver Associate.

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Presentation on theme: "Facts & Myths about Achievement of Advanced Professional Level L2 Proficiency (ILR 4) a presentation for BILC, Prague, May 2012 Dr. Betty Lou Leaver Associate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Facts & Myths about Achievement of Advanced Professional Level L2 Proficiency (ILR 4) a presentation for BILC, Prague, May 2012 Dr. Betty Lou Leaver Associate Provost Directorate of Continuing Education DLIFLC, USA

2 Organizational Information DLIFLC has four directorates, administered by the Provost: Directorate of Undergraduate Education Directorate of Continuing Education Directorate of Language Science & Technology Directorate of Evaluation & Standards Note: Provost reports to assistant commandant & commandant, who oversee military structure.

3 Organizational Information, cont’d The Directorate of Continuing Education has five schools, 37 sites: Distance Learning (sustainment & enhancement) Field Support (non-linguists) Extension Programs (lifelong learning for linguists) Resident Education (enhancement) Educational Support Services – DAC (Diagnostic Assessment Center/DA specialist trainers) – ASC (Academic Support Center) – Command Language Program (360+)

4 Sources of Information on Students Achieving ILR 4 This presentation is based on: 1.Experience with and feedback from upper level at – Foreign Service Institute (US Department of State) – NASA – Defense Language Institute – University of Jordan (UJ) 2.Formal research funded by – National Foreign Language Center – Conference on College Composition and Communication (National Council of Teachers of English)

5 Defining Advanced Professional Level (ILR 4) Usually equivalent to WEHANS; would not be mistaken for cultural native [ILR 3 over-self-assess; ILR 4 self-aware] Wide-ranging control of structure; nonnative slip may occur Language rarely hinders in any task; can set interpersonal official, semi-official and non-professional tone [tailoring] Endurance & sophisticated verbal strategies: lectures, conferences, debates Native social & circumstantial knowledge; not under all conditions Shifts of subject matter & tone Understands standard and major dialects [& street talk]

6 About the Students

7 Quiz: Which of the following characteristics have been associated with near-native L2 proficiency? Desire to integrate into the culture Motivated by compliments Tenacity High grades Quick learner Good ear Desire to do a good job Multilingual neighborhood in youth Multilingual home Time abroad Young age at onset Global learning style Female Marriage to a native speaker

8 Answers to Quiz in Bold Desire to integrate into the culture Motivated by compliments Tenacity High grades Quick learner Good ear Desire to do a good job Multilingual neighborhood in youth Multilingual home Time abroad Young age at onset Global learning style Female Marriage to a native speaker

9 Student Stories Student A (ectenic learner) – Spanish – US government classes: FAO – Duty in Colombia – Community work – Voracious reader – Motivation: Instrumental (lawyer) Student B (ectenic learner) – French – University classes – Study for degree in France – Voracious reader – Motivation: Vicarious (married to a French person)

10 More Student Stories Student C (synoptic learner) – Russian – University classes – No experience abroad (two weeks after Level 4) – Community work – Job use (broadcaster) – Motivation: Intrinsic Student D (synoptic learner) – German – University classes – Job abroad (publishing/editing English) – Motivation: Vicarious (married a German), intrinsic

11 Even More Student Stories Student E (synoptic learner) – Russian – After school tutor: Literature – University classes: C average – US government classes – Job use – Degree work in country – Voracious reader & writer – Discouraged by teachers – Motivation: tenacity – Demotivator: linguistic & pronunciation error Student F (synoptic learner) – French – Childhood community L2 – High school: creative writing – University classes – A/A+ – Job use – No time ever spent abroad – Voracious reader & writer – Encouraged by teachers – Motivation: intrinsic – Demotivator: criticism for regional accent

12 About the Upper Level DLI Programs

13 Success/Achievement Courses at DLI: Nine languages, 1-10 students per group Refresher, intermediate, advanced, DTRA, extension Course completion at graduation standard: 95% enrolling with prerequisites (ability not considered) 85% of all students 54% exceed graduation standards Negligible attrition (only those pulled by DTRA)

14 Results

15 Syllabi Highly individualized/diagnostically oriented Content-based Language & culture focus Task-based authenticity, research, & realism Exclusively authentic; limited/no textbooks Formal and informal immersion

16 Course Content Subject matter core (language through content) Political, social, and historical events Immersion programs – University classes (integrated or duplicated) – Recyling vocab & grammar through all skills – Related excursions & exercises (e.g., surveys) Integrated skills Focus on process and product – Projects & portfolios – Presentations

17 Language & Culture Focus “Grammar in the wild” Grammar manipulation through genre shift Language exercises – Packaging & re-packaging – Simplification of thought – Embellishment of language Sociolinguistics & pragmatics [tailoring] Reading between the lines & beyond the text

18 Task-Based Realism Briefings to visitors Teaching lower levels Analyses & project reports Student surveys (immersion programs) True real-life tasks – DTRA translations – Assistance to ROK

19 Lower Level Task vs. Upper Level Task Weather report – Lower: Decide what to wear/pack – Upper: Parody the speaker; produce a local report Biographical interviews – Lower: Pairs interview each other & report out – Upper: Students analyze professional interview, then interview each other & report out, using culturally appropriate text structure Grammar exercise: relative clauses – Lower: identify the clauses & give alternative – Upper: rewrite in a different genre

20 Lower Levels vs. Upper Levels Focus on form(s) vs. focus on text Using context vs. refined knowledge Intensive reading vs. extensive reading Teacher direction vs. self-direction Rote memory vs. associative memory Immersions in class & in country Requests for repetition vs. elicitation Defossilization (upper): structure & lexicon (automatic & correct); strategies; autonomy; pragmatics & sociolinguistics; level

21 Some References for Level 4 (Few Publications to Date) CDLC: – Journal for Distinguished Language Proficiency (6 volumes) – Teaching and Learning to Near-Native Levels of Second-Language Proficiency (6 volumes of conference proceedings, ) – What Works: Helping Students Reach Native-Like Second-Language Competence (MSI Press, 2006) Leaver: – Achieving Native-Like Second Language Proficiency (MSI Press, 2003) – Individualized Study Plans for Very Advanced L2 Learners (MSI Press, 2003) Leaver, Ehrman, & Shekhtman. Achieving Success in Second Language Acquisition (Cambridge University Press, 2005, chapter 10) Leaver & Shekhtman, eds. Developing Professional Level Foreign Language Proficiency (Cambridge University Press, 2003) Shekhtman. Working with Advanced Students (MSI Press, 2003)

22 Some More References (For Lower Levels: 2+ and 3) Byrnes. Advanced Language Learning: The Contribution of Halliday and Vygotsky (Continuum, 2008) Byrnes, Heather, & Sprang, eds. Educating for Advanced Foreign Language Capacities: Constructs, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment (Georgetown University Press, 2006) Byrnes, Maxim, & Magnan. Advanced Foreign Language Learning, 2003 AAUSC Volume, Issues in Language Program Direction (Heinle, 2003) Ortega & Byrnes. The Longitudinal Study of Advanced L2 Capacities (Routledge, 2008) Watch for Brown & Bown, forthcoming, possibly Georgetown University Press, possible title: To 3 and Beyond

23 Centers for Higher Level Proficiency Studies Center for the Advancement of Distinguished Language Proficiency, San Diego State University (ILR 4) Center for Advanced Language Proficiency, Penn State University (ILR 2-3) Note: These are foreign language centers and generally do not address English.

24 Questions ?


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