Fully online SLA course is for beginning learners who are living in their new host communities and pre-field learners who will begin language learning within a few weeks
For those who are planning to serve more than a year or two, our Just-in-Time SLA course begins with the three-week Introduction to Language Learning course (Phase 1), followed by a few months of individual coaching while engaged in on-field learning (Phase 2), and finally an additional three-week course that is an abbreviated version of our SLA for Continuing Learners course (Phase 3). The three phases span about 7-9 months.
Our primary 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. (This printable pdf version of the course description gives more detailed information, including FAQs.)
Phase 1: Getting started well
The time commitment for Phase 1 is about three to four hours per day, five days per week for three weeks. With advance notice, this phase can be extended to six weeks for those with other commitments. Here are some of the key topics we address:
- phonetics/pronunciation of your target language (10-12 hours, with 7 individual Skype sessions)
- understanding the language learning process
- strategies for becoming a better language learner
- working one-on-one 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 or issues that may slow down your learning
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 with a language helper who is either a native speaker of your target language or another language (optional for pre-field learners, required for on-field learners).
Phase 2: Becoming a better learner through one-on-one coaching
Six to seven months of one-on-one coaching tailored to your specific needs, including working with you to make the most of your on-field learning program, with supplementary activities as needed. The coaching includes at least one individual Skype meeting per month and bi-weekly email coaching.
Phase 3: Preparing for deeper, more meaningful communication
The focus of Phase 3 is on equipping you to move from an everyday level of language ability to more advanced proficiency needed for effective ministry and professional purposes. Highly customized to meet your unique needs, this phase includes frequent one-on-one Skype interaction (usually 2-3 meetings per week) and individual assignments tailored to meet your learning needs and goals.
Similar to Phase 1, this last phase requires a time commitment of about 3 - 4 hours per day, five days per week for three weeks, but it can be spread over more weeks if needed. We can schedule this part of the course at a time that is convenient for you, and it will not be dependent on when others might want to complete this phase.