Characteristics of a Good Language Learner.
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Characteristics of a Good Language Learner Nagyné Gulyas Erna Second Language Acquisition Tutor: Sankó GyulaDL 3rd year 2004-01-08 The aim of this essay is to collect the characteristics of a good language learner. Before I start to list these qualities, I would like to tell that teachers who do not meet such a student during their career should not be disappointed; they rather have to discover that there is some kind of a positive feature in every student. Some of the students are good at writing in the foreign language, they know the grammatical rules and apply them correctly, but face many problems when they have to apply this knowledge orally. Other students are the opposite of this character; they have difficulties when they write on the target language, because in these cases accuracy is more important than fluency. They speak consciously, because they are aware of the fact that fluency is more important in speaking and the smaller grammatical mistakes are forgivable. It should be mentioned here that self-consciousness is one of the most important characteristic a good language learner should have.
It also means that he or she pays attention and participates actively in the activities. A good language learner who is motivated always tries, I mean no matter whether he or she knows the correct answer, but I should see the willingness in his or her eyes. They can express the willingness by asking questions and reflecting to me. Of course, it needs that they should be present physically as well as mentally. To achieve this, the teacher should be interesting; I mean that he or she has to do his or her best to make the lessons colorful and enjoyable. If the lesson is boring and monotonous, we cannot expect them to be interested in the material or creative. We should be creative to make them creative. The next very important quality of a good language learner is that he or she comes prepared to the lessons. It is very hard to work with such students who do not know what we have learnt last time, in these cases we have nothing to build on and proceed. In most cases students just study for a test, but a good language learner learns for acquiring the language and not for a grade.
The teachers' task is to be aware of these facts and apply them when planning the lesson. As Sinclair suggests (1989), a good language learner is always self-critical which means that he or she estimates his/herself continuously and follow his or her advance. They should be curious and tolerant; he or she is interested in how language works, and he or she easily accepts the difference between the first and second language, ambiguity and uncertainty. As Sinclair (1989) goes on listing the characteristics of a language learner he also says, that he or she should be willing to make experiments, willing to try different learning methods and new activities to find the one that fits him or her the best. He also states that a good language learner is able to organize the time for language learning and is able to make the best of the opportunities to use the language (Sinclair 1989). As a consequence, I would like to state that, even the fact that the essay is about the qualities of a good language learner; we should not handle it as a recipe. I do not think that we are able to find someone among our students who fits the whole list. Unless seeking for the very best learner we should discover the worth in every student.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.
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