Community language learning
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Community language learning (CLL) is an approach in which students work together to develop what aspects of a language they would like to learn. The teacher acts as a counsellor and a paraphraser, while the learner acts as a collaborator, although sometimes this role can be changed.
Examples of these types of communities have recently arisen with the explosion of educational resources for language learning on the Web.
The CLL method was developed by Charles A. Curran, a professor of psychology at Loyola University in Chicago. This method refers to two roles: that of the know-er (teacher) and student (learner). Also the method draws on the counseling metaphor and refers to these respective roles as a counselor and a client. According to Curran, a counselor helps a client understand his or her own problems better by 'capturing the essence of the clients concern ...[and] relating [the client's] affect to cognition...;' in effect, understanding the client and responding in a detached yet considerate manner.
To restate, the counselor blends what the client feels and what he is learning in order to make the experience a meaningful one. Often, this supportive role requires greater energy expenditure than an 'average' teacher.
The foreign language learner's tasks, according to CLL are (1) to apprehend the sound system of the language (2) assign fundamental meanings to individual lexical units and (3) construct a basic grammar.
There are 5 stages of development in this method.
- “Birth” stage: feeling of security and belonging are established.
- As the learners' ability improve, they achieve a measure of independence from the parent.
- Learners can speak independently.
- The learners are secure enough to take criticism and being corrected.
- The child becomes an adult and becomes the know-er.
A new wave of Community Learning Languages have come into place with the internet growth and the boom of social networking technologies. These online CLLs are social network services such as Papora (language education company), English, baby! and LiveMocha that take advantage of the Web 2.0 concept of information sharing and collaboration tools, for which users can help other users to learn languages by direct communication or mutual correction of proposed exercises.
Barriers in Community Language Learning
When learning a different language while in a multilingual community, there are certain barriers that one definitely will encounter. The reason for these barriers is that in language learning while in a multicultural community, native and nonnative groups will think, act, and write in different ways based on each of their own cultural norms. Research shows that students in multicultural environments communicate less with those not familiar with their culture. Long-term problems include that the foreign speakers will have their own terms of expression combined into the language native to the area, which often makes for awkward sentences to a native speaker. Native students tend to develop an exclusive attitude toward the nonnative speaker because they feel threatened when they do not understand the foreign language. Short-term problems include the fact that native students will usually lack in-depth knowledge of the nonnative cultures, which makes them more likely to be unwilling to communicate with the foreign speakers. Because these foreign students grew up and were educated in a totally different cultural environment, their ideologies, identities and logic that form in the early age cause different ways of expressing ideas both in written and spoken form. They will have to modify and redefine their original identities when they enter a multicultural environment (Shen, 459). This is no easy task. Consequentially, a low-level of social involvement and enculturation will occur for both native and nonnative speakers in the community.
- Richards, Jack C. (1986:113) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching
- Richards, Jack C (1986:138)
- Krashen, S.D., and Terrel, T.D. (1983). The Natural Approach: Language acquisition in the Classroom.