Helping Students Succeed Through Learning Strategies
Utah Valley University – Orem, Utah
October 17th & 18th, 2014
Rebecca L. Oxford is Professor Emerita and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, University of Maryland, and is currently an adjunct professor and external evaluator for programs at two branches of the University of Alabama. She directed language programs at the University of Maryland, the University of Alabama, Columbia University, and Pennsylvania State University. She has published more than 200 articles and chapters on language learners, learning technologies, psychology, culture, teaching methods, and peace. Her best known books are Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know, Language Learning Strategies around the World, and Teaching and Researching Language Learning Strategies, and she recently co-edited a special issue of System on learning strategies in the twenty-first century. Her peace books include The Language of Peace: Communicating to Create Harmony and Understanding Peace Cultures. She served as the series editor of a multivolume ESL/EFL program, “Tapestry,” which is used around the world, and is co-editing a book series entitled Transforming Education for the Future. She has presented keynotes and workshops at language conferences in more than 40 countries. The Lifetime Achievement Award she received from Heinle/Thomson states, “Rebecca Oxford’s research has changed the way the world teaches languages.”
In this plenary Rebecca Oxford explains learning strategies, which are the conscious steps the learner takes to enhance language learning and self-regulation. These strategies positively influence the development of language proficiency. Rebecca talks about four kinds of strategies, which work together to produce the best results: cognitive (for language processing and memory), affective (emotional and motivational), social-interactive (for dealing with conversation, culture, and identity), and metastrategies (general strategies, such as planning, organizing, and evaluating). She applies this information to help us understand how to optimize listening and speaking through learning strategies. She gives crucial tips that you can share with your students about how they can strategically improve their listening and speaking skills. This is a highly practical presentation, based on significant and useful research and theory.
This exciting presentation by Rebecca Oxford takes us on a cultural journey that is tailor-made for language teachers who want to better understand their students. The journey has four main stops. The first stop is the realm of cultural values, especially those of individualist cultures (for instance, most of Western Europe and North America) and collectivist cultures (for example, most of Asia and South America). Seventy percent of the world’s population lives in collectivist cultures, where loyalty to the group is the most important thing, and only thirty percent of us live in individualist cultures, which highlight unique individuals. The second landmark on our journey is communication styles, which vary drastically across cultures, resulting in confusions that are then addressed by different conflict styles. Next on our journey we visit the strange and sometimes amazing phenomenon known as face, or the honor and respect that a person holds in the eyes of others. Some cultures prize face above everything else, while other cultures are less concerned. Our journey then brings us to cross-cultural relationship management principles, which help teachers and students manage relationship conflicts and forge strong bonds regardless of cultural differences. By the close, the teachers on this journey have become experts on getting along across cultures.
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