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Second Language Acquisition for Continuing Learners

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Continuing Learners Course Overview

Course Goals

Have you been actively engaged in language and culture learning for a few months and now you need some help to reach a higher level of proficiency? Do you want to move beyond everyday conversations to use your new language in heart-language ministry or professional activities? Perhaps you feel like you're stuck on a language learning plateau and can't seem to get "unstuck." SLA for Continuing Learners is designed to help language learners improve upon their existing language to get to the next proficiency level. For each participant, the course is highly customized to meet individual needs and goals. It consists of four components: Individual Coaching via Skype, Foundations, Language Learning Techniques (LLT), and Target Language Pronunciation. (See below.)


Most participants are on-field learners in the Novice-High to Intermediate-High proficiency range, which means that at a minimum they are able to carry on everyday conversations about the weather, understanding and giving directions, ordering a meal in a restaurant, talking about what they did yesterday and plan to do next week, handling basic phone conversations, etc.

Flexible Format

Our SLA courses are fully online and flexible to your schedule. This allows you to take it anywhere in the world and manage your own schedule. The course consists of 15 sessions, which you complete at your own pace. In the past, many learners have completed it in six weeks (approximately 3-4 hours a day every weekday) or at a more relaxed pace over 12 weeks. But we can accommodate and individualize the course so that it works for your specific needs.

Although most students take the course for non-credit, you can also enroll for four hours of credit (summers only).

Register for a Second Language Acquisition Course

4 Course Components

Weekly one-on-one Skype meetings are designed to zero in on your specific needs. The initial meeting consists of an analysis of your short-term and long-term needs and goals, strengths, weaknesses, gaps in earlier learning, issues that are holding you back, etc. Then, each weekly session draws upon information from the other three components to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to reach the advanced proficiency level and then to continue progressing in language and culture learning.

The Language Learning Techniques (LLT) sessions give you an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the course to the specific areas you have identified as your needs or gaps in your overall learning. This includes

  • working one-on-one with a language helper to address your learning goals and, depending upon your individual needs
  • planning learning by setting short- and long-term goals
  • developing lesson plans
  • integrating specific language components (e.g., grammar) into your overall learning, expanding your conversational ability
  • addressing personal roadblocks (e.g., confidence, risk-taking, motivation)
  • handling sticky situations in the target language
  • using self-assessment checklists.

The foundations sessions provide an overall framework for your continued language and culture learning. In these sessions, we examine a range of useful insights that deal with the "what" and "how" of effective language learning, and through applications questions for each session you relate these insights to your individual needs and specific learning situation. We explore a number of basic questions. Some concern the "what" of language learning, some address who you are as a language and culture learner, and still others deal with how to go about the learning process. Some questions we cover include

  • In order to reach a higher level of language proficiency, exactly what do you need to learn, and what skills must be developed?
  • How should you go about the learning process?
  • How can you capitalize on your innate learning strengths?
  • How can you make the most of the resources you have available (e.g., language school, tutors, ordinary native speakers)?
  • How can you learn from your successes, and how can you make your mistakes work for you?

If you need to improve your target language pronunciation, you can choose to focus heavily on developing pronunciation accuracy or you may want to give attention to only a few troublesome areas. Because each person's need for work on pronunciation is different, some give considerable time and attention to this component, while others give much less time to this area.

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"It helped me to be able to learn at my own pace. I also liked the convenience of being able to learn from home. "
-former SLA participant