Transformative learning spaces: learning to learn through languages

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  • Elina Maslo
Despite rapid development of learning theory in general and language learning theory in particular in the last years, we still cannot provide an unequivocal answer on the question “why do individuals who presumably possess similar cognitive capacities for second language learning achieve such varied degrees of proficiency?” (Benson, Nunan, 2005, 1). For the unequivocal answer does not exist. Learning is an extremely complex multidimensional process that happens differently to everyone. These processes are extremely difficult to study. To get an insight to unique, practical, emotional and symbolic life of the individuals in the concrete historical context (Kramsch, 2009), a number of multilingual learners have been asked to tell their learning stories. These learning stories have huge potential to provide data for working with the new perspectives on learning (Brooks etc., 2012). The aim of this paper is to present the first outcomes of the research project “Transformative learning spaces for language and learning - the study of multilingual people´s experience in learning (through) languages” (Short title “Multilingual learning stories”), which is conducted at the Aarhus University at the moment, and thereby to contribute to the discussion of the theory of learning conference invites for. The research project is based on a broad understanding of language, where language covers over all linguistic and non-linguistic activities, that take place between and inside people in the physical, social, personal, cultural, and historical world they live in (van Lier, 2000). People can learn when they discover possibilities for learning, which appear in this complex world – so called affordances (Gibson, 1979). This happens in the interaction between people and their environment on the basis of their experiences (van Lier, 1996, 2010). In the project we believe that language learning follows the same principles as all other learning. Inspired by Illeris´ comprehensive theory of learning (Illeris, 2006), the broad understanding of learning is chosen for the project, and the main attention is paid to the different ways of interaction of cognitive, affective and social factors by different individuals. Learning stories, where multilingual individuals are telling about their subjective experiences in language learning in particular and learning in general, are constructed by using a special developed methodology inspired by Claire Kramsch work on “The Multilingual Subject” (2009) and Phil Bensons and Davis Nunans “Learners´ stories. Difference and Diversity in Language Learning” (2004). We believe that these learning stories can be used in the process of modelling of transformative learning spaces – physical and virtual, emotional and cognitive, individual and social space for successful learning, and learning through languages. Keywords Learning, language learning, lifelong learning, transformative learning places, learning to learn, learning through languages, learning stories References Benson, P. & D. Nunan (2004). Lerners´ stories. Difference and Diversity in Language Learning. Cambridge University Press. Brooks, R., Fuller, A., & Waters, J. L. (2012). Changing spaces of education: new perspectives on the nature of learning. New York, NY: Routledge. Gibson, J.J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Van Lier, Leo (1996). Interaction in the Language Curriculum. Awareness, Autonomy & Authenticity. Longman. Illeris, K. (2006). Læring. Frederiksberg: Roskilde Universitetsforlag. Kramsch, C. (2009). The Multilingual Subject. What Foreign Language Learners Say about their Experience and Why it Matters. Oxford University Press. Van Lier, Leo (2000). From Input to Affordance: Social-Interactive Learning from an Ecological Perspective. In: Lantolf, J.P. (Ed.). Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning. Oxford University Press, 245-259. Van Lier, Leo (2010). The ecology of language learning: Practice to theory, theory to practice. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier.
StatusUdgivet - 2014
BegivenhedOn the Definition of Learning - SDU, Odense, Odense, Danmark
Varighed: 28 aug. 201429 aug. 2014


KonferenceOn the Definition of Learning
LokationSDU, Odense

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