Learning a second language is like learning to ride a bike, do up your laces, or drive a car. The language learning process is precisely the same as the processes involved in developing any skill.
Our long term memory is where we store (and retrieve) all the knowledge and skills we have learnt. For a short term memory to be committed to long term memory, it must have significant meaning and/or value to the individual and it must be processed, or 'cogitated'. Memories held in long term memory are either declarative (fact-based) or proceduralised (skill-based) in nature.
To develop skills, we must proceduralise the declarative knowledge we hold in our long term memory. Before any knowledge is proceduralised, it is first held as declarative knowledge, e.g. I point out my finger to touch the light switch and then push the light switch with that finger to turn on the light . However, skills do not produce any answers to any questions, per se; rather, each individual piece of declarative knowledge, when repeated and recycled, attaches itself to an imaginary piece of string; this string enables each individual fact to become part of a larger, systematically arranged whole. By practising, repeating, recycling and reviewing, the strength of each attachment is reinforced, or consolidated. This is the process of skills development; when it comes to language learning, this manifests itself in fluency.
What implications does this have for language tutoring? Above all, language tutors must develop their tutees' ability to 'produce' language. To achieve this, they must be given opportunity. This means following a PPP format - presentation, practice and production. After a new language item has been presented, orally, by hand-out, aurally, or otherwise, tutors must give tutees controlled practice - matching activities, gap fills, synonym activities, opposites activities, etc., and this MUST be 'completed' by using productive (or freer) activities in the third, most important phase, where the language items 'stick'. Real communication is the objective. Tutees must be given the opportunity to use the language they have 'learnt' in context, in either (or both) written or spoken form. Focussed questions and answers, targeted creative writing, or a tailored presentation using the language items covered are all effective techniques.
The creative deployment of such techniques characterises the tutoring approach Aaron Neame adopts. His French tuition, German tuition, Spanish tuition and 11 Plus tuition follows a systematic methodology which optimises the language learning process.
The LingaAcceletate ™ methodology
The LinguaAccelerate™ methodology is born out of a tutee-centred, communicative language approach. The methodology has as its primary goal the development of knowledge and skills through collaborative tasks and active learning. Emphasising inductive techniques, tutors promote interaction with the subject matter to draw conclusions that tutees make their own.
By Aaron Neame, Sep 8, 2014