Sunday, May 20, 2012

Embedded Strategies Game

One of the courses I'm taking this semester is called Language Learning Styles and Strategies. It is pretty interesting what you can do with different strategies and how they can help you be a better language learner, but during the course I realized that not much emphasis is put on LLS in the formal classroom here in Croatia and I think it's a shame.

So, for those of you who think that you can help your learners learn better, faster and more efficient, here is a short project (micro-lesson) that I have to do on Tuesday, which can be a great way to start LLS training.

The first thing you want to do with your students is raise their awareness of the fact that there are such things as LLS. How do you do that? You give them different types of questionnaires, do interviews with them, make them write a language learning diary, or comment in retrospective on a specific activity they do while studying; all of this depending on their language proficiency. You can also make a workshop or a game-like activity, which is what I'm going to do. (This activity is best for advanced students.)

While doing some research on which awareness rising activities would be the best, I found that the best ones in Rebecca Oxford's book LLS: What Every Teacher Needs to Know



There is a game called Embedded Strategies Game and it goes like this:

You give each of your students a piece of paper with language learning activities on them and a table with LLS system by R.Oxford and ask them to match the activities with the strategies. They can do this in groups and you can distribute pieces of paper with different strategies written on them around the classroom as well. Each group goes to one of the papers and writes down the names of the activities if they think they belong to certain strategies. Then they rotate in a clockwise motion and do the same thing on each paper until they come to their initial papers.



Now it is time for discussion. Ask them what they have put on which paper and why. It is possible to have more than one strategy in certain activities, so you should accept their answers as long as they have good arguments to support their choices. Ask them if they ever use any of the strategies and tell them that the aim of the activity was for them to see how many different LLS there are.

As a follow-up activity you can ask them to list all of the strategies they have used at least once in their life and with that you can switch onto language learning styles or anything connected to it. 

I only have 15 minutes to do this activity and there is only 12 of us in this course, so I had to adapt the game to fit my time-frame and number of people, but it is actually made for much bigger classes in terms of number of students and time at your disposal.

If you want to try out this activity, here is all the material you'll need: activities, strategies table, papers with strategy names.

Good luck!


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