How Learning Strategies Enhance Foreign Language Learning

When the learners of a foreign language who choose strategies that fit well with their personal learning style are more focused and productive. The strategies used effectively are useful tools that significantly benefit learners.

Six effective language learning strategies

1. Advocate strategy

How you perform in language learning depends on your self-esteem, your mood, and your confidence? Look in the mirror smile and say “I can do this”, and you can by the way.

How you feel plays a large role in your language learning success. For instance, taking a close look at your mood and anxiety levels will help you identify barriers that are holding you back. While learning self-affirmation and positive self-talk does wonders to your confidence. If you are stressed you are less likely to attain information. Remember to take deep breaths and keep being your best advocate, if you are not, why should someone else be your advocate. You got this

2. Cognitive strategy

In order to learn, you must be attentive. The average person can manage up to 3 small tasks at a time and 1 complex task at a time. To be a cognitive language learner one of those task spots will have to be dedicated to language learning. As I mentioned, each learner has their style and because of this, their study habits take them little different direction to learn cognitively.

For example, when starting to learn a language it starts with the sensory register (which only takes seconds), then it is passed into short-term memory  (which can take 20 seconds to 2minutes), then if the word is rehearsed it should end up in the long-term memory. To achieve this you need to encode the foreign words you are learning. Visual learners can do this by reading a language book. The audio learner can listen to a podcast on language. As a tactile or kinesthetic learner, you may find writing the language out or using flashcards work best.

Learning in a cognitive manner enables the learner to manipulate language learning materials indirect ways via reasoning, analysis, note-taking, summarizing, synthesizing, outlining. Likewise reorganizing information to develop knowledge structures. Each learning style heads a little different direction to learn cognitively All learning styles can benefit from these methods.

3. Compensatory strategy

The compensatory strategy is when a learner is guessing the context to understand the content of what is being learned. Listening and reading are used to get hints from this strategy. Using synonyms and“talking around” the missing word to aid strictly for speaking. Watching body language to put foreign language into context by paying close attention to gestures or pause words help the learner make up for missing knowledge. When used in conjunction with a memory-related strategy it can be a powerful language learning strategy.

4. Metacognitive Approach 

Meta-cognitive strategies focus on identifying on a more holistic approach taken individual needs into consideration.  Planning and goal setting for language learning tasks, information gathering, and organizing materials, arranging a study space and a schedule, monitoring mistakes, and evaluating task success. A meta-cognitive approach can complement effective learning strategies.

5. Memory-Related strategy

This is the method used in schools and colleges. Memory-related strategies help learners link languages or concepts with another but do not necessarily involve deep understanding. If you are looking for a powerful tool try memory palace to explore this strategy

6. Social strategy

Social strategies, I also call this strategy ‘live it‘. Fully immerse yourself in the language and no matter your sensory preferences bombarded with visual, auditory, touch, and taste. Great ways to engage are asking questions to get verification, asking for clarification of a confusing point, asking for help in doing a language task, talking with a native-speaking conversation partner, and exploring cultural and social norms. Social strategy helps the learner work with others and understand the target culture as well as the language.

Pushing Boundaries

To be a successful language learner it is really important to push past the boundaries and get out of your comfort zone.  Although it is important to make the most out of learning styles don’t be afraid to extend beyond your style preferences.

In conclusion, the key is to try a variety of different activities within a more holistic learner orientated approach. Also, don’t forget about the biological structures that could be holding you back from achieving your goals. By applying these and also pushing boundaries you will become a much more efficient, focused and productive language learner.

If this article has helped you or you feel it may help another person please share…

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