quinta-feira, 28 de março de 2013
By Jeff Anderson
Learning a second-language opens up a whole new world: New ways of thinking, new cultures and new experiences all become possible for second-language learners. These awesome opportunities are especially accessible to retirees, who tend to have more time on their hands for such an undertaking. Retirees also have more opportunity for travel, which is one of the best ways to enjoy second-language skills, and also to improve them. According to a recent study described in the New York Times, bilingualism may also benefit seniors’ mental functioning.
Obstacles for Older Langauge Learners: Old Ideas and Stereotypes
Traditional ideas about how we learn language say that older adults are poor second-language learners. This misconception is based on long-standing theories about language acquisition, and also outdated stereotyping of seniors.
The “critical period hypothesis” of language learning is based on the observation, obvious to any parent, that infants and toddlers acquire language without conscious effort. No “Baby Einstein” videos or language lessons are neccessary. This period, when languages are learned effortlessly, is called the “sensitive period” or “critical period.” Many advocates of the hypothesis further infer that language learning becomes much harder after the first few years of life, and that older adults are poor language learners. Certainly, children in the earliest years and adults learn languages differently. But in fact, elders have some advantages over children in the “critical period.”
In The Older Language Learner, Mary Schleppegrell, an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) expert and professor at the University of Michigan, effectively tackles counterproductive assumptions about the ability of older people to learn a new language:
“Most people assume that ‘the younger the better’ applies in language learning. However, many studies have shown that this is not true…Studies indicate that attaining a working ability to communicate in a new language may actually be easier and more rapid for the adult than for the child…Adults learn differently from children, but no age-related differences in learning ability have been demonstrated for adults of different ages.”
Cruder stereotypes of seniors may be a larger obstacle for elders who are learning a second-language. These widespread stereotypes about senior’s ability to learn are sometimes held by language instructors, as well as by seniors themselves, who internalize them to their own detriment. While seniors do require adaptions for their poorer sight and hearing, their lesson plans need not be dumbed down.
Success for Senior Language Learners
Seniors throughout the world are proving stereotypes wrong. A recent article from the China Daily describes an increasing number of Chinese elders learning second-languages. The article notes that the trend towards purposeful language learning by seniors in China began before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Older residents of Beijing wanted to be able to be helpful to the influx of foreigners visiting the games. Now that the Beijing Olympics are but a memory, older Chinese continue to study foreign languages, but more-so out of a desire to travel and effectively communicate with locals.
And closer to home, another article from the New York Times outlines the trend of American seniors traveling abroad to engage in language immersion classes, which are based on the idea that the best ways to learn a new language is to surround yourself with people who speak that language. Traveling to a country where the target-language is spoken offers the best immersion learning possibilities. Seniors are visiting places like Italy and Costa Rica for weeks-long language classes and immersion opportunities. These visits involve a mix of class time, normal sight-seeing and hanging out with locals. But travel isn’t necessary to get started learning a language; Low-cost language classes are available to older people at senior centers, colleges and community centers throughout the U.S.
If you have a success story involving an older language learner, we’d like to hear. Don’t hesitate to comment below.
quarta-feira, 27 de março de 2013
When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. -Seneca
Knowing your goals for learning the language will go a long way toward helping you remain committed to mastering the language and provide the direction you’ll need to stay the course. Setting specific targets allows you to craft a better plan that focuses more clearly on getting you to where you want to go.
Take some time to define what you want to be able to do in each area of the language: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Determine what you think is important in regards to learning about the culture and history of the nation where your language is spoken.
By doing these you can begin to take specific actions to achieve your goals.
As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a lot of talk about what method or program is the best to use to learn another language. Everyone seems to have a favorite, the one they swear by and to have a select few that receive regular doses of their wrath.
The reality is though that we are each individuals and will all learn in different ways with different methods and programs. We would do well then to focus on principles. What are the principles behind effective language learning?
Here are a few I can think of:
1. We need massive amounts of input.
2. We need to stick with it over the long haul.
3. We need to make connections with native speakers.
4. We need repetition and practice.
Nearly any method or program can help us in part to connect with these principles.
Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being selective – doing less – is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest. -Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Work Week
I’ve made a practice of trying lots of new activities, ideas, programs and tools for learning languages. I do this so that I can report honestly about what I like and don’t like about these resources and make well informed suggestions to readers.
In doing all of this experimenting, I have come to find that some activities work better for me than others. They give me more bang for my buck. I should then spend more time doing these activities and less time doing less productive activities.
But then I read on another language blog about how important something else is and I think I should add that to what I do. But why? It working well for them is no guarantee it will work well for me. Just because I think handcrafted audio is important doesn’t mean it will be a great activity for every other language learner.
Find what works well for you and stick with it.
A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules. -Anthony Trollope
This is probably the most important quote on this list for the everyday language learner. I’ve met very few people who made a conscious decision to quit learning another language. Most don’t decide to quit, they just fizzle out.
One week they are going gangbusters, the next week they are loosing momentum and then they find that, unbeknownst to them, they have’t worked at learning their target language in over a month.
Determining to do something – no matter how small – everyday, will do a lot to keep the ball rolling in the right direction and help you reach your goal to master another language.
Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. -Psalm 39:4-5
Life is short. I have a nine year old and a seven year old and it seems only yesterday they were in diapers. I am turning 40 this fall.
Where does the time go?
They say the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is TODAY. If you are waiting for the ideal time to really dive into mastering another language, you aren’t going to find it.
Get started today applying yourself toward the dreams and goals that are important to you. If learning another language is one of those, now is the time to begin.
It is never too late to be what you might have been. -George Elliot
So you’ve wasted a few years. You’ve fritted away golden opportunities. You’ve cast off a dream in order to live a safe, secure life and now wonder if you made the right choice. You’ve put off beginning to learn another language until you have enough money to travel overseas where you can be “immersed.”
What’s past is past. You can always begin again and you can always begin right now. Today.
Did you pass up an opportunity to study abroad in college? Did you miss the chance to sign up for a language class? Did you chose the secure job rather than the volunteer opportunity overseas?
segunda-feira, 25 de março de 2013
sexta-feira, 22 de março de 2013
You voltou para a aula com notícias da irmã dele. Na última aula, You perguntou como se dizia "advogado" em inglês, then, eu expliquei para ele que o termo certo depende do país ( USA: attorney/ UK: solicitor/barrister).
- Como eu te falei, teacher, my sister is really getting divorced. Last week, she went to the USA to meet her lawyer... Quero dizer...attorney.
- How do you say " quero dizer"...
- I mean.
... And how do you say " como eu te falei" ?
- Ok, teacher. As I told you, my sister is really getting divorced. Last week, she went to the USA to meet her lawyer...I mean...attorney.
- Wonderful job, You.
- Yes, she told me that pior than getting divorced...how do you say " pior" in English, teacher?
- "Worse ".
- She told me that worse than getting divorced is to confiar in a man again. How do you say " confiar"?
- How can you describe " confiar" in English, You?
- When you believe in somebody?
- Can I use " believe in" as " confiar"?
- No, " confiar" é muito mais forte.
- So, how do you say " confiar"?
- Well, You, this is for me to know and you to find out.
- Sorry? Can you say that again?
- I said that this is for me to know and you to find out - isso quer dizer que eu sei como dizer " confiar" em inglês, você é que tem de descobrir.
- Nossa, teacher. Isso é do mal. O senhor sempre me deu as respostas.
- Eu lhe dei, You, the past tense: I gave you! I won't give you anymore. De agora em diante, se você quiser dizer algo e não souber a palavra, terá que descrevê-la.
- Mas teacher, tem muita palavra que eu não sei.
- Por isso, você precisa se esforçar para descrevê-la. Sem esforço não há aprendizado, You. Não posso colocar todas as palavras na sua boca. No spoon-feeding anymore.
- É quando você ao invés de ensinar a pescar...
- ... You spoon-feeding!
- That's my learner!
- So, how Can I describe something I don't know?
- By saying" how can I say in English when we want to believe in somebody, but this is more than just believing, it is stronger..." Descreve mais, You, fala sobre, dê mais detalhes. Assim, você conseguirá não somente descrever a palavra que você não sabe, como também praticar mais a fala.
- Ok, teacher. I got it. I will do my best to describe the new words. You can believe in me.
- Can I really TRUST you?
- Ahhh... TRUST...Yes, you can TRUST me, of course, if you have any problems with me, you can call a barrister or an American attorney and discuss my case in the court.
- Very clever, You.
- By the way, teacher, how do you say " não gostou, me processa" in English?
quinta-feira, 21 de março de 2013
Edited by Brigitta M
1 - Determine the region you wish toimitate. Knowing the difference between a Texans drawland the southern style of someone from Mississippi or Tennessee can make aworld of difference. Midwestern accents from areas such as Chicago, Illinois,Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and St. Paul, Minnesota vary as well. The New York accentmay be one of the most distinct American accents, and the Bostonian accent isalso well-known.
2 - Learn key phrases from the regionyou wish to imitate. A southernconstant is the word "y'all," which is a contraction of "youall" and used as a plural form of "you." If from Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, people will say "yinz" or "yunz" whenreferring to "you plural." Massachusetts and some other New EnglandStates use "wicked" to show intensity of action, "That was awicked bad car accident." or "That test was wicked easy."Massachusetts also has the famous Boston accent. One phrase to say in that is,"Park the car at Harvard Yard and get a cup of coffee," but say allthe a's long. So, it would end up sounding like, "Pahk the cah in Hahvehdyahd and get a cup of caffee.".
3 - Study films made by independentcompanies that were born and bred in the region you wish to imitate. For example, if you wish to speak with aMississippi accent, find a film that is both located in and produced by acompany based in Mississippi.
3 - Study films made by independentcompanies that were born and bred in the region you wish to imitate. For example, if you wish to speak with aMississippi accent, find a film that is both located in and produced by acompany based in Mississippi.
4 - Practice the key words and phrases,taking special care to notice where you place stresses and drop or add letters(for example, Wisconsinites have a tendency to add the letter "t" atthe end of words that end with a double-s, like "acrosst" instead of"across" and Connecticuters tend to either drop the "d" orstress on it less when in the middle of a word like "ranom" insteadof "random")
5 - If going for a "ValleyGirl" way of speaking (girls), say things such as "like" (as aninterjection), "oh my god", and "a lot." (for example, So I was, like, walking downthe street, and this guy was wearing, like, the weirdest hat, I was like 'Oh mygod' cause, yeah.) Many modern-day teenage and pre-teen girls also speak likethis. Valley Girl speech did not hit America until the 1980s and was copiedstraight from the movies. Elders and adults should not speak like Valley Girlsand prefer not to. Some people find makingthe Valley Girl accent offensive.
6 - When trying to convince people of your American-ess, it's helpful to know the vocabulary of who you're conversing with. Americans say "truck" instead of "lorry," "faucet" instead of "tap," "toilet" or "bathroom" instead of "loo," and so on. Also, use "instead" rather than "rather" (or instead of, I should say), and "soda" instead of "pop." (Although in some parts of America, mainly the North, people have been known to say the latter). In places like western New York, the words are used interchangeably. Also keep in mind the words people use often that aren't used in your home country.
8 - Keep an eye on region-specific terms. For example, in northeastern Pennsylvania, people drink soda instead of pop and eat hoagies rather than subs. Sites like this Dialect Surveycan be of use.
10 - In Chicago, instead of saying "Where are you?", we'll say "Where are you at?". Also, people with very strong Chicago accents may hiss their s's, and add s's at the end of store names. Examples: Jewel becomes Jewels, Jewel-Osco because Jewel-Oscos, Walmart becomes Walmarts, Target becomes Targets, etc.
11 - In the Midwestern accent, it's typical for people, especially the older generation, to occasionally slip up and say "warsh" for "wash," as in "I warshed (washed) my clothes in the Warshington (Washington) river." They also tend to speak with a very soft southern twang, as in their pronunciation of nothing ("nuthen") and use of "ain't."
12 - Maryland has accents within their own accent. Watch out of people who think they can do a Baltimore accent. They usually cannot unless they are not trying.
13 - Some accents are easier to imitate than others. For example, unless you are a frequent visitor or live in or around the New Orleans area, avoid doing a Cajun accent until you are absolutely positive you have it down cold. Good imitators are few and far between and any variations are quickly spotted as fakes by the natives.
By Sarah Cunnane
Increase in students 'puzzled' by independent learning is fuelling crisis, writes Sarah Cunnane
Creating a market in higher education will lead to less independent, "spoon-fed" students, and exacerbate a growing crisis in teaching and learning, a scholar has claimed.
Peter Ovens, senior research fellow at the University of Cumbria, said that around a third of students struggled to learn independently, even after a year at university.
And he warned that the rise in bureaucracy had reduced the time available for developing students. "It's part of the modern world, I realise that, but it does have a distorting effect," he said. "You do what you can for the students, but the impetus is taken away from teaching and learning."
Dr Ovens' research, which was discussed last week at a conference at Nottingham Trent University titled Learning How to Learn in Higher Education, suggests that a growing proportion of students are "puzzled" by the idea of independent learning.
This is because they have often been led through their schooling by their teachers, who he said were focused on "meeting targets and Ofsted requirements".
On his finding that one in three first-year undergraduates struggle to learn independently, he said: "They are not taking control of their learning in the way we would want them to because they still want to be trained like they were at school."
Dr Ovens added that the current generation of students had been assessed "more than any other", and that the problem of dealing with students unused to independent learning was not unique to the UK: "When we talk to colleagues worldwide, they have very similar problems, and they agree that the problems are getting progressively worse year on year."
Current UK reforms focusing on the student experience carried the risk of a "knee-jerk" response that would lead to even greater spoon-feeding of students, Dr Ovens said.
He argued that academics had to respond to these issues by treating students as independent scholars: "Their autonomy is the single biggest value that can be developed; academics should not view students as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge."
If current trends in teaching and learning were not reversed, Dr Ovens said, it would lead to further problems that would have an impact far beyond the students' time in university.
"People will continue to learn and they will continue to get degrees but it will tend to be with a particular attitude towards knowledge and learning," he said.
"And that attitude is to expect things to come to you, to be provided, to be determined by other people. The confidence to use your own knowledge will not be developed."
quarta-feira, 20 de março de 2013
segunda-feira, 18 de março de 2013
Em inglês, costumamos chamar os mais velhos de "Elderly people", não usamos a palavra " old", não só porque old já é por si, ofensiva; mas também porque se compreende que the "elder" é apenas alguém que veio antes, não se trata de um incapaz ou de alguém que vive atolado numa areia movediça de conforto. Se for lhes dado a chance e eles quiserem mesmo aprender, poderão mudar seus "velhos" hábitos. Minha mãe vai fazer sessenta anos, e para onde vai, carrega um livro com ela; é viciada em leitura e um exemplo de alguém a seguir, mas ela não foi sempre assim; somente quanto ela tinha cinqüenta que ela começou a ler por prazer. Before that, ela mal conseguia terminar um livro. Quando vejo essa moçada de vinte e poucos dizendo que odeia leitura ou que dorme após a terceira página de um livro, eu me pergunto: quem é mesmo " old" nesse mundo? Todo mundo pode aprender tudo. Não existe limite de idade para o aprendizado, o que existe são as dificuldades inerentes da falta de hábito. Usually, quando alguém se recusa a fazer algo novo, isso se deve muito mais as características pessoais da pessoa do que a sua idade
sexta-feira, 15 de março de 2013
quinta-feira, 14 de março de 2013
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
How many times have you heard this old saying as an excuse for not trying something new or avoiding a fresh approach?
The expert animal trainers say that a dog of almost any age can learn new tricks. It's the human animal that makes choices regarding when and how much to learn.
I'm constantly amazed at how frequently I hear one of my CEO clients say, "I'm too old to change."
Nonsense! This is simply an excuse to sidestep the effort required to learn or experiment.
When you try something new, you often feel uneasy about it, and frequently pull back. The security feels good. You are in your "comfort zone"
Your personal "comfort zone" is where you are comfortable in what you are doing in your job, your life and your experiences. It is when you have no feelings of risk or anxiety. Some call it "being comfortable". You could also call it "a rut".
The downside of always staying in your comfort zone is that it can be very limiting.
Why is this significant? The past few decades have seen enormous and accelerating changes in technology and social structure, in geopolitics and especially in the organizations in which we work. The pace of change is staggering and daunting. The mass of information available to humankind is doubling every 20 months.
The world passes us by as we stand still. Complacency, in our fast-paced competitive world, can be fatal to business and severely limit personal and professional growth. If you are not learning, trying new things and growing, your job or business may be deteriorating.
Having a positive attitude toward learning and changing may be one of the most important characteristics of successful people. In my years as a Business Coach, I have observed many successful CEOs and entrepreneurs. With very few exceptions, those who are successful and happy have developed and maintained a positive outlook about change and continuous improvement.
This positive attitude is not accidental. Successful business people know how to create a positive attitude and positive motivation for themselves. They don't just wait for it to happen. They purposely create positive change.
All change implies learning and vice versa. They are inseparable, one impossible without the other. If you learn, you change.
Effective learning must be conscious vs. unconscious, active vs. reactive. It must be something you seek, not just “let it happen”. If learning is not conscious, it can’t be improved. It just becomes “another task” without effective application to the circumstances in your business (and personal) life.
Learning in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing environment can’t be left to chance. Make a conscious effort to capture your experiences and learn from them or be doomed to repeat your mistakes. Worse yet, you may habitually keep doing those things that are working for you, while your competition is actively seeking new ideas, innovation and growth.
The competitive advantage of the future is your adaptability to learning and change.
"There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction." - John F Kennedy
How do you learn new tricks and <-- e x p a n d --> your personal comfort zone?
Before you just throw all caution to the wind, try some simple things.
** Drive home a different route.
** Shop at a different grocery store.
** Order something from the menu that you've never tried before.
** Sleep on the other side of the bed.
Make a conscious effort to experiment.
Let yourself feel the adrenaline level rise a bit. Allow your anxiety level to increase. Feel your heart rate and breathing going faster.
The adrenaline is your body's natural drug that, in moderation, makes you sharp, creative, and quick. It creates the feeling of excitement and exhilaration that comes from trying something new. Recognize that it also can be scary and stressful. Some stress is useful. Too much can be harmful. Some stress provides energy. Too much stress causes distress and can lead to burnout if done to extreme.
Why would you want to give yourself the stress of stepping outside your comfort zone?
Because that's where growth takes place.
Just like a muscle gets stronger when you exercise it outside its normal range of use, you get stronger when you get out of your rut. And just like your muscles, once you stretch beyond your current capabilities, you don't ever go back to your original dimensions.
As you try new things, you gain confidence. Confidence makes you feel powerful and good. And when you are confident that you can survive new ideas, you allow yourself to try even more new things.
What's the limit?
Obviously, you need to be realistic in your risk management. Most successful people think through the possible outcomes of taking a risk. Then they prepare for how they would deal with each potential outcome. Successful people take risks, but they are not foolhardy or stupid.
What are some higher level activities that could add to your personal and professional growth?
Here's my challenge to you.
Make a list of 50 things that, if you really were successful in doing them, you would be a better person or a better company. Consider a few new tricks such as:
Give a speech
Write and publish an article
Start an exercise program
Teach a class
Feed a homeless person
Climb a mountain
Learn to play a new musical instrument
Sign up for a dance class
Try for that promotion
Then choose one or two that you are willing to do within the next 90 days. Schedule those new activities, then go for it. Afterward, choose one or two more and do it again.
Make personal and professional growth a lifelong habit. You will not become an old dog as long as you keep learning new tricks.
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About the Author...(for online pubs)
Gary Lockwood is Increasing the Effectiveness and Enhancing the
Lives of CEOs, business owners and professionals. (951) 739-7444