2006 INSIGHTS FROM STUDY ABROAD FOR LANGUAGE PROGRAMS

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    Introduction: The view from abroad
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Wilkinson, Sharon
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    Global simulation: Experiential learning and preparing students at home for study abroad
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Dupuy, Beatrice
    Every year, increasing numbers of undergraduate students elect to study abroad. For the majority of these students, residing overseas and immersing themselves in the target language and culture will finally allow them, they believe (as do their teachers), to develop the linguistic and cultural proficiency that has eluded them so far. Although many studies have documented the contribution that a study abroad experience can make to language and cultural competence development, a small, but growing, number of research reports indicate that many students are not able to make the most of the study abroad context. It is suggested that the home foreign language (FL) classroom, where elements (e.g., language forms and skills, cultural facts) are introduced and developed sequentially, has not prepared them well for the foreign immersion environment where these elements converge all at once. In view of this misalignment between the home and study abroad contexts, reforming the stateside curriculum is needed and planning immersion-like opportunities for students to experience the demands of real-world communication in the home classroom is imperative. One way to accomplish this goal is by implementing experiential formats such as global simulation. In this chapter, global simulation, a project-based approach, is examined as a possible option to address the changes needed to promote better articulation between learning at home and abroad.The implications of adopting global simulation in the introductory and intermediate language program are discussed and suggestions are made to language program directors (LPDs) regarding implementation with students and TAs.
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    From the learner's perspective: A case study on motives and study abroad
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Douglass, Kate
    As we attempt to better understand the study abroad experience from the perspective of the participants, we must examine individual learners’ motives for language study and for study abroad and the role of social history in shaping these motives. Framed by an activity theoretic perspective, this study explores the language learning motives of one learner of French as they are shaped and reshaped in anticipation of and during a one-semester undergraduate study abroad program in Paris. Findings reveal that this learner’s motives for learning French and for studying abroad are initially shaped by her social history, including her previous language learning experiences, her parents’ early pressure to succeed, and her personal life goals, as well as by her parents’ and her own perceptions of the use value of language learning. Over time, the strengthening or weakening of these motives in response to the shifting material circumstances in the Parisian context (including the academic program, her daily encounters in French society, and her degree of access to certain French communities of practice) impacts her strategies and behaviors and her success overseas.The results of this study demand a return to a focus on the individual learner in teaching and in research on language learning contexts at home and abroad and suggest further investigation of the role of motives and social history in shaping learners’ goals in language learning, their decisions to study abroad, and their experiences once overseas.
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    Speak for yourself: Second language use and self-construction during study abroad
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Pellegrino Aveni, Valerie
    Communication plays an integral role in an individual’s construction of the self in society. Second language (L2) learners, whose communicative competence in the new language is less advanced, may experience a compromised sense of self when using the L2.The subsequent conflict between the “real self” one is able to convey and the “ideal self” he or she would like to convey may cause a learner to reduce L2 use and potential L2 acquisition in self-threatening interactions.This chapter explores the role of the self in L2 use and several factors that affect learners’ ability to construct the self in the L2. In conclusion, the chapter considers ways in which teachers and administrators may help learners navigate their new identity in the L2.
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    A model of intercultural competence and its implications for the foreign language curriculum
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Deardorff, Darla K.
    Although study abroad has often been promoted as an effective means of developing cross-cultural knowledge and skills, this process has been difficult to assess due to the challenge of defining intercultural competence.This chapter reports the results of a research project designed to answer to this question. Using a Delphi technique for group consensus building, 20 intercultural experts engaged in successive rounds of proposing and rating definitions, ultimately achieving 80% agreement or higher on key characteristics of intercultural competence. Not only useful for understanding what is meant by intercultural competence, these characteristics also form the basis for a new cyclical and dynamic conceptualization of the process of developing intercultural skills.This model holds implications for curriculum design and assessment, which are discussed as well, particularly as they relate to the concerns of language educators.