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Learning Styles

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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frenkeld
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 Message 17 of 55
27 November 2005 at 9:36am | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
even listening to a book on tape and reading along silently helps a lot. ... If the material is unfamiliar, reading the translation while listening helps a lot too. ... I happily notice my ability to translate on the fly improving.


I am sure this works well for you, but the standard notion would seem to be to avoid translating, but somehow reach a point where one "just knows" as opposed to translates.

The textbook I taught myself Spanish from, "Spanish for Beginners" by Charles Duff (listed as "Spanish for Beginner" on amazon.com), uses reading until reaching the sense of not translating as the key learning tool. Here are the "instructions" from the book:

"Experience has shown that reading, and especially continuous reading of some work by a good writer, is one of the best forms of practice for learners of a foreign language. This kind of practice, if provided with assistance on the difficulties, is of paramount importance to those who have no teacher. The assistance given here, to begin with, is an interlinear literal translation.
You are advised to approach each unit of reading in this way:
First, read the Spanish aloud slowly, making the best you can of the meaning.
Then read over the Spanish more quickly at least twice.
Next read over the translation to get the general sense.
Then go over the piece word for word - Spanish and English - until you understand the sense of each phrase and sentence.
Finally, read the Spanish aloud, thinking with the text, until you feel that you can follow the author as well as if he wrote in your own language.
When you have done this, you should be at home with the new words, grammatical forms, and idioms. Not until you have confidence that you have reached this stage should you proceed.
When you come to a new instalment, go back over the preceding instalment so that you will not forget the words, etc., that you have learned."

He also suggests earlier not to memorize translations of the new words, but rather visualize the words to the extent possible.


It is from this book that I derived the notion that reading selected portions aloud a few times helps make the reading experience much more active.


Edited by frenkeld on 27 November 2005 at 12:38pm

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patuco
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 Message 18 of 55
27 November 2005 at 11:49am | IP Logged 
The method you describe above seems a very useful way to learn. The experience would probably be improved if you also had some audio to go with the book.
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frenkeld
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 Message 19 of 55
27 November 2005 at 12:46pm | IP Logged 
patuco wrote:
The method you describe above seems a very useful way to learn. The experience would probably be improved if you also had some audio to go with the book.


No questions about it - nowadays one wouldn't want to miss out on Pimsleur or FSI.

I was bringing this up more in the context of what one can do with reading to help one learn to think in the language and to make reading more of an active practice.


Edited by frenkeld on 27 November 2005 at 5:32pm

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luke
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 Message 20 of 55
27 November 2005 at 1:10pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for the tips from Duff's book.

A couple of the works I want to become very familiar with are about 200 pages each. Before I got the audio for the books, I approached them one sentence at a time, reading them aloud. That was difficult for me to keep up. My voice gets stressed, and I feel like I need to save it for drills. So, although at some point I will read the books aloud, for now, it's just reading silently. The audio alone is about 20 hours. For me, the "global" learner, I'm liking the chapter at a time approach much more than the phrase at a time I started with. I do use the read/re-read approach at times. It is also effective. It's feels good to understand a news article fairly well - after having read it three or four times - when the first time the meaning was not very clear.

At my current level, books for 9 year olds can be challenging (diverse vocabulary). Using a translation with an audio book lets me approach books I want to read as an adult. At the moment, this is easier for me to do than burn or slog through children's books, of which I have read a bunch.   

Edited by luke on 30 July 2007 at 7:06am

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frenkeld
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 Message 21 of 55
27 November 2005 at 1:55pm | IP Logged 
I actually find even a chapter at a time hard - once I am interested in a book, I end up just reading through it, ignoring the many words I don't understand, so long as I get the gist of the plot. On the other hand, if the book is boring, who wants to read it at all.

Now that I want to make a concerted effort to expand my vocabulary, I lined up 17 novels I have actually read from cover to cover over the years, and plan to try to reread them, in part aloud, while looking up the words and putting them into electronic flashcard software.

It is to be seen how successful this is going to be.

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luke
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 Message 22 of 55
27 November 2005 at 3:44pm | IP Logged 
frenkeld wrote:
I end up just reading through it, ignoring the many words I don't understand, so long as I get the gist of the plot.

That's an effective technique too. One of the neat things about pushing yourself like that is you begin to notice some words are more common and that'll pique your interest to learn a new high value word.

Edited by luke on 30 December 2005 at 8:56pm

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rhh1
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 Message 23 of 55
30 December 2005 at 7:37pm | IP Logged 
I'm not sure that the interest shown in learning styles is well founded. See, for example, http://www.becta.org.uk/page_documents/industry/advice/learn ing_styles.pdf
This is a September 2005 review of the research literature. The paper states that "there is no secure evidential base" to support any one theory of learning styles.

So it's back to basics, the pursuit of effective learning strategies.

Richard

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luke
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 Message 24 of 55
30 December 2005 at 9:20pm | IP Logged 
It's an interesting paper. It also says, "An awareness of learning styles theories[sic] may help to develop metacognition and the ability to learn how to learn."

Learning strategy is certainly important. One of the advantages of the student who is advanced in several languages is they are more likely to have come up with effective stragegies.


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