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SLA for Continuing Learners

Fully online SLA course for pre-field and on-field personnel

Course Overview

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," or you may just need some fresh ideas to help you fill some gaps in your learning or shore up the weaker areas.

Offered six times each year, this fully online course is six weeks in length and requires about 3-4 hours per day, Monday through Friday. 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.

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. (This printable Continuing Learners Registration Form of the course description gives more detailed information, including FAQs.)

Individual Skype Coaching

Weekly one-on-one Skype meetings are designed to zero in on the 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.

Foundations

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. For example, 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?

Language Learning Techniques

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, may include areas such as planning learning, 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, and using self-assessment checklists.

Target Language Pronunciation

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.

Schedule and Cost

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