BYU Education Week: Lifelong Language Learning

Date(s) - 08/18/2015 - 08/21/2015
9:50 am - 10:45 am



Basic RGBTuesday: Are you Fluent in a Second Language?

Presenter: Ray Clifford, Director, Center for Language Studies; Associate Dean, College of Humanities, BYU

One of the vaguest terms related to language learning is “fluent”! Perhaps others have complemented you or someone you know by saying, “You are really fluent!” But, have you ever wondered:

  • How well do you have to speak in order to be considered fluent?
  • How can commercial language courses promise that you will be speaking fluently in another language in two weeks or less?
  • Are all “native speakers” fluent?

Fortunately, there are validated ability scales that can be used to rate an individual’s degree or level of language proficiency. This presentation will introduce the two most widely used scales and give attendees the chance to use those scales to rate the speaking ability of language-learner volunteers. We will also show a matrix to assess your own language proficiency level and estimate the likely language proficiency outcomes of various instructional programs.

flsr_living_education_weekWednesday: How to Maintain Foreign Language Skills: Case Study of the BYU Foreign Language Student Residence

Presenter: Tony Brown, Associate Professor of Russian, BYU

Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “This gospel is not for the people of America only. This gospel is for the people of the earth, and we have incumbent upon us the obligation to learn to speak their tongues.”

Young men and women enter the Missionary Training Center by the thousands and study a foreign language that they will use for the next eighteen months to two years; however, after returning, many find themselves asking the question: “How do I maintain my foreign language skills?”

In this presentation, we will discuss some general principles of language retention and will highlight some methods used at the Foreign Language Student Residence (FLSR)–a unique on-campus language immersion environment–that apply to students and non-students alike.

writing_education_weekThursday: Improving Writing in a Foreign Language

Presenter: Jennifer Bown, Associate Professor of Russian, BYU

Perhaps someone would ask, “Why bother writing in a foreign language?” Often, interest in learning a language may only be to speak it or read it. But, as research shows, learning to write well in a foreign language will increase vocabulary and improve overall knowledge of structure. In this presentation, we will discuss the connection between foreign language writing and speaking and suggest techniques for improving foreign language writing on your own.

Education internet e-learning concept. Earth and open book isolaFriday: Improving Reading in a Foreign Language

Presenter: Gregory L. Thompson, Assistant Professor of Spanish Pedagogy, BYU

This session will look at not only how to improve one’s reading skills in a foreign language but also how to reap the benefits of developing reading skills in a foreign language. This presentation will include a discussion of three types of models in the teaching of reading:

  • The Bottom-up Model
  • The Top-down Model
  • The Interactive Model

Each of these models will be considered for the benefits and challenges as it relates to varying levels of foreign language proficiency. Additionally, these models will be analyzed to determine not only how reading can be improved in a foreign language but also in the participants’ personal, social and spiritual lives. Finally, this session will conclude with the discussion of specific strategies that participants can use to prepare themselves as they encounter writing that is unfamiliar to them and how to decode and read for meaning without losing the overall purpose of the written word.

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