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Teaching Them How to Fish: Teaching Language Learning Strategies

by stefgDo you teach your students language learning strategies? Well, I do. I have started integrating a few strategies into each lesson. I feel like I am empowering students by teaching them how to learn. If you don’t know much about language learning strategies a good place to start would be with Oxford’s (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning. It is a simple questionnaire that assesses how many and which strategies you use.

Even as a teacher, I found my results on the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) to be very helpful. I discovered that I use surprisingly few strategies for managing my emotions. Looking back on my language learning experiences, my emotions were often debilitating in the classroom because I wasn’t using strategies to manage them. So on a person level, I wish someone would have taught me about language learning strategies.

After teaching some strategies,  I can tell you that students really like it. They love to know the different ways they can learn. The SILL offers a bunch of different ways to remember things. You can demonstrate these in the classroom and have students use them.

The most important thing with strategy instruction is reflection. Because some strategies don’t work for everyone, have your students reflect on what they do now and on what new strategies work well for them. Read more ideas about teaching language learning strategies here. I think, it can be very powerful instruction. So give it a try and leave me a comment about how it went.

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