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Introduction to Language Learning

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Introduction to Language Learning Course Overview

Course Goals

Our goal is to equip you to become a more efficient and effective learner of your new language regardless of the learning method — attending a language school, working with a tutor, independent learning, or a combination of approaches. Here are some of the topics we address:

    •    understanding the language learning process
    •    strategies for becoming a better language learner
    •    working with language helpers
    •    making good audio recordings and using them effectively
    •    addressing issues such as confidence, anxiety, and motivation
    •    setting realistic goals and planning learning experiences
    •    developing listening and speaking skills, including good pronunciation
    •    learning grammar and vocabulary
    •    drawing upon multiple resources (e.g., courses, tutors, helpers, community)
    •    dealing with individual areas/issues that may slow down your learning


Introduction to Language Learning is a course for beginning learners who need a basic grasp of the language for daily life activities. It is ideal for those who plan to serve 1 - 3 years and those who may serve longer but do not plan for significant heart-language ministry. We suggest taking this course either before leaving home or within the first few weeks of arrival on the field.

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 three weeks (approximately 3-4 hours a day every weekday) or at a more relaxed pace over six weeks. But we can accommodate and individualize the course so that it works for your specific needs. Most of the work is done online using Moodle and you also meet individually via Skype with an instructor two or three times each week. In addition, you may work for a few hours with a language helper who is either a native speaker of your target language or another language. 

Register for a Second Language Acquisition Course

Course Components

These sessions provide an overall framework for the course. They deal with the "what" and the "how" of language learning. Some of the questions the Foundations Sessions address include:

  • What does it mean to know a language?
  • In order to know a language, 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 a language school or a structured tutoring situation?
  • How can you learn from ordinary native speakers?
  • How can you learn from your successes, and how can you make your mistakes work for you?

Our LLT sessions will:

  • equip you with a variety of techniques and procedures to use in your on-field learning
  • give you an opportunity to focus on your target language

You will discover a great deal about your personal learning strengths and challenges, including particular strategies that work best for you, and you will gain confidence in your ability to tackle a new language as you work with a native speaker of another language. (For most of our SLA students, their language helper is a native speaker of their target language.)

In this component, we help you to pronounce your target language more accurately. Through one-on-one coaching, we always focus on the target host language of the learner, and always customize the learning to fit what the learner needs, does not need, what they already know, and what they don’t know.

The goals are to help learners:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Develop skills in pronunciation of target host language
  • Self-awareness of features of their own speech so they know what needs to be changed
  • Strengths and weaknesses in pronunciation and how to adapt
  • Self-management skills that help learners know how to assess their own learning and how to move forward in the process
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“This course has given me just what I need to be a more successful language and culture learner. I learned so much in only three weeks.”

-former SLA participant