Missionary Learners and their proficiency. Another production of

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  • Slide 1
  • Missionary Learners and their proficiency
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  • Another production of
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  • What factors would be most important in creating a program that would help missionaries develop language proficiency? Consider
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  • Linguistic Life at the MTC
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  • Missionary Language Profile Dewey and Clifford, 2009
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  • Language Training in the MTC approximately 6 hours a day/5 days a week in class Total hours in MTC: o Foreign speaking: 6-12 weeks= 180-360 hours in class o Missionaries are expected to speak 100/week end of second transfer: o online language speaking assessment o MTC is only concerned with MTC and first four months in the field.
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  • Language Teaching Materials Speak Your Language (SYL) Use what you know Try first in the language Ask permission Find out how to say it Do something more TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning) Vocabulary Phrases Grammar Listening Reading 1. Taught in the missionary context 2. Systematic approach 3. "Missionaries should feel stretched but not overwhelmed"
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  • Thoughts on MTC language learning MTC Teacher: "That is the ideal goal for complete immersion. But honestly, the missionaries that I have seen progress the most have a LOT of faith in the gift of tongues and they WORK, PRAY and STAY WORTHY to obtain this gift."
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  • Thoughts on MTC language learning MTC Director: MTC researchers have seen that those who stay in the MTC longer usually have better proficiency This discrepancy is equalled out by about 16 weeks in the field. Some languages are definitely harder than others, but the determining factor is "frequency of communicative opportunities" MTC is working on an in-field language training program
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  • Thoughts on MTC language learning MTC researcher: MTC doesn't currently have a "teaching methodology," but "audiolingual approach with board displays" is the main technique Language has been "deemphasized" a lot o Language is viewed as only one component of the MTC training o Language team has been dissolved o Missionaries are trained to be self-directed Teacher training is "difficult" o tenure is about 6-9 months
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  • Thoughts on MTC language learning MTC researcher: Difficult to track missionary progress and conduct reliable research
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  • MTC and BYU MTC Director is aware of Dr. Clifford's research, but was clear to say he wasn't "working for the MTC" Several current and former BYU MA students work for the MTC No official collaboration between the two organizations
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  • From the research
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  • What is or could be the role of aptitude testing in the MTC? What is or could be the role of aptitude testing in learning?
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  • What is aptitude? An individual difference of language learners A factor of language learning A characteristic of an individual that is stable over time but plays a role in influencing how a human learns (Dornyei, 2005) Measured as a rate of learning or the speed at which we learn languages Linguistic ability (Skehan, 1989) How well you perform or are capable of performing in certain areas of learning (Adapted from Larson-Hall and Dewey)
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  • What is the reality? "Missionaries receive approximately six hours of classroom language instruction each day... a range of between 240 hours (eight-week missionaries) and 330 hours (eleven-week missionaries) of classroom language instruction prior to departure" "in the most difficult languages (Category 4), learners with average aptitude needed a minimum of 1320 hours of classroom instruction" For Russian, a Category 2 language, the FSI data reported that average aptitude learners needed 720 hours of instruction. Dewey and Clifford, 2009
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  • Missionary Language Profile Dewey and Clifford, 2009
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  • What do we tell our missionaries? "Given the amount of input one can access outside of the classroom in a target language community, arguments have been made (e.g., Krashen, 1982, Martin, 1980; Lussier, 1993; Parr, 1988) for the comparatively strong benefits of informal learning largely through using language in authentic contexts out of class over formal classroom learning." (Dewey and Clifford, 2009) SYL Baby yeah!!! Come on gift of tongues!!! "As a missionary you have the responsiblity to seek the gift of tongues and fulfill your purpose in the mission language. Your teachers will guide you but you will be most successful when you take responsibility for your language learning." (MTC Language Program)
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  • What's more motivating, knowing you only have half of the instruction and half the aptitude you need to learn the language or thinking like this kid after riding your bike half a block?
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  • What's going to trump... APTITUDE or ATTITUDE?
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  • OR... Can we utilize both? "...it does not seem to be the case that motivation can totally overcome the effects of aptitude. Aptitude was always just as strong a factor in the regression models as motivation." "For the OPISOPI, motivation and aptitude were both equally predictive and had large effect sizes (about 15% each)"
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  • Research Questions: 1.What level of speaking proficiency do returned LDS missionaries typically achieve? Second Language Speaking Proficiency Development of LDS Missionaries Dewey and Clifford (2009) SpanishFrenchGermanItalianRussianMandarinJapaneseTotals S1630141025 AH658742253114 AM11288250108198 AL11150102029 IH400036922 IM20000013 Total21020 7892421391
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  • Research Questions: 2.How does the oral proficiency development of these missionaries compare with learners at home studying in undergraduate language programs? Second Language Speaking Proficiency Development of LDS Missionaries Dewey and Clifford (2009)
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  • Second Language Speaking Proficiency Development of LDS Missionaries Dewey and Clifford (2009) Research Questions: 3.What are these returned missionaries capable of doing with their speaking abilities after they return?
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  • Synthesis Activity The MTC has agreed to work in conjunction with the BYU language departments. Draw on your educative experience and the principles of SLA that we have talked about in this class: 1. Discuss in groups the ideal overall language program for missionaries 2. How can we get more missionaries to Advance High and Superior Levels? a. Is that an important goal?


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