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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.
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    Reading comprehension and vocabulary development in orthographically complex languages during study abroad
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Dewey, Dan P.
    This paper reviews research on the acquisition of reading skills and vocabulary knowledge during study abroad, focusing specifically on findings in Japanese and other orthographically complex languages. Studies suggest that, both for alphabetic and ideographic languages, (1) learners can achieve significant growth in reading proficiency during study abroad (in particular, in Japan), (2) learners tend to become more confident in their reading skills during study abroad, (3) vocabulary development during study abroad is largely evident in the form of passive knowledge, (4) intensive domestic immersion can lead to gains equal to (and in some cases greater than) gains made through study abroad in reading and vocabulary development, and (5) individual differences are greater in study abroad than in at-home settings.Studies in Japanese indicated that the following can contribute positively to vocabulary gains:(1) amount of writing in the second language, (2) time spent speaking with native-speaker friends, and (3) various types of attention. Implications are discussed and programmatic suggestions are given.
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    Study abroad and the second language acquisition of tense and aspect in French: Is longer better?
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Duperron, Lucile
    Recent research in the study abroad context (SA) has focused on the sociocognitive factors affecting second language (L2) development compared to the foreign language classroom environment (FLC). However, the effect of SA on the acquisition of complex linguistic features that resist instruction requires further examination. Furthermore, research on the impact of SA duration remains scarce. In response, this study examines the L2 French acquisition of tense and aspect in order to shed light on the interaction between learning contexts and the development of interlanguage.Twenty-two college students who enrolled in a one-year French SA program received a pretest on the contrastive use and interpretation of the imparfait and passé composé. Participants assigned to the Semester group received a posttest five months later (n = 10).Those assigned to the Year group received it 10 months later (n = 12).The test design operationalized the Aspect Hypothesis, which predicts the leading role of lexical aspect in tense assignment.All participants received the opportunity to use the passé composé and the imparfait with each of the four Vendler lexical categories of verbs, state, activity, accomplishment, and achievement in a cloze test (n = 48).Their interpretation of the imparfait versus the passé composé was also measured by an aspectual judgment test (n = 16). It was hypothesized that the Year group, because it received more input and output opportunities, would be more advanced than its Semester counterpart with regard to the overall use and interpretation of passé composé and imparfait across lexical categories of verbs. This hypothesis was not fully supported because participants were found to make statistically significant progress between Month 0 and Month 5 rather than later. Implications for SA and language program articulation as well as pedagogical treatments of tense and aspect are discussed.
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    Requesting help in French: Developing pragmatic features during study abroad
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Magnan, Sally Sieloff ; Back, Michele
    This study is part of a larger project looking at the development of language ability among study abroad students in France. After confirming that students in the larger study made significant improvement in their proficiency and in their confidence when speaking in French, the current study looked at the development of pragmatic competence of six students. Using role plays from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), the study looked at requests for help, focusing on markers of formal address and direct versus indirect request forms used by students before studying abroad and at the end of their study abroad programs. The results showed that students increased their use of formal forms of address, direct requests, and indirect requests. Only students whose proficiency improved moved toward favoring indirect requests over direct requests.A heavy reliance on est-ce que questions dominated direct requests, especially for students whose proficiency did not improve. These findings encourage language program directors to reflect on how they might better prepare students to acquire pragmatic features before they go abroad, as well as continue pragmatic development when students reenter language programs after studying abroad.
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    Native speakers' perceptions of fluency acquired by study abroad students and their implications for the classroom at home
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) Dubiner, Deborah ; Freed, Barbara F. ; Segalowitz, Norman
    This chapter explores the relationship between empirically identified features of nonnative oral fluency and the subjective perceptions of oral fluency by native speakers (NSs) of Spanish. Our aims were to understand what fluency, in general, means to a group of NSs, to examine listener perceptions of nonnative fluency, to determine which characteristics of nonnative speech are associated with fluency and dysfluency, and to investigate the association between NSs’ subjective reactions and objective measures of fluency. In addition, we were interested in the extent to which dysfluency disturbed listeners. Nine NS judges listened to and evaluated speech samples of 46 students who studied Spanish abroad (SA) or at home (AH). Judges assessed each speaker’s fluency level on a 7-point scale.Findings revealed that all NSs defined a fluent speaker as one who is able to transmit a clear, comprehensible message that is easily understood by the interlocutor.However, the NSs also identified a wide range of elements that they considered as part of fluency.The judges identified the SA students as being more fluent at the end of the semester than the AH students.Additionally, their subjective ratings correlated highly and significantly with the empirical measures of oral fluency. Finally, we explore possible pedagogical implications of these findings for helping second language (L2) speakers improve their fluency.
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    Contents, acknowledgements, preface, conclusion, contributors
    (Thompson & Heinle, 2006-01-01) AAUSC staff