ERIC Number: ED394330
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Jan-11
The Role of Environment in Language Learning.
Attention to different aspects of communicative competence (form and meaning) in second language instruction creates different kinds of learning environments. Form-focused classrooms favor transmission of linguistic competence. Whole-class instruction and lockstep conditions restrict communication. Input from teacher language and attitudes toward errors may be problematic. Practice opportunities are often mechanistic and concentrate on disparate skills. Meaning-focused classrooms pay attention to all aspects of communicative competence. The syllabus is flexible and, to an extent, built on learner needs. Characteristic features are: culture-bound, content-based target language work in groups, skills integration, flexible materials, and rich opportunity for input and practice. Learning strategies are consciously developed by emphasizing learner responsibility and by teaching and practicing strategies for communication and studying. Out-of-school contacts such as visits to technical facilities, project-oriented visits to foreign schools, camp schools, and cultural exchanges add value to content-based learning environments. Multiethnic communities can either restrict or support first- and second-language learning, as can school experiences. Form-focused classrooms have been studied sufficiently. Although there is information on various aspects of meaning-focused classrooms, it is scattered. Contains 68 references. (MSE)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Classroom Environment, Communicative Competence (Languages), Cultural Awareness, Educational Environment, Educational Strategies, International Educational Exchange, Learning Strategies, Research Needs, Second Language Learning, Second Languages, Skill Development, Study Abroad
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council for Cultural Cooperation, Strasbourg (France).
Note: Background paper for the Educational Research Workshop on the Effectiveness of Modern Language Learning and Teaching (Graz, Austria, March 5-8, 1996).