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Placement type and language learning during residence abroad

Placement type and language learning during residence abroad
Placement type and language learning during residence abroad
The “year abroad” is a longstanding component of British university degree programmes in languages. As noted by other commentators (Coleman, 1997 and this volume; Collentine, 2009), the British “year abroad” is typically undertaken by language majors with several years’ prior language study and a relatively advanced proficiency level in their target language(s). It is a common requirement for programme completion, to spend two academic semesters abroad. However students can have considerable latitude in how the time abroad is spent, and assessment by the home institution is relatively “light touch”, typically involving e.g. a substantial project or long essay. Today, languages students typically undertake one of three placement types: as English language teaching assistants, on other forms of work placement, or as Erasmus exchange students following relevant academic programmes at a partner university. Numbers of U.K. languages students undertaking the classic university student exchange version of the year abroad are relatively stable at around 7,500 per year, a much smaller number than incoming international students at U.K. universities, though numbers undertaking teaching assistantships and other work placements have risen (British Academy & University Council for Modern Languages, 2012; King, Findlay, & Ahrens, 2010). The linguistic benefits of the year abroad have been tracked in various research studies (Coleman, 1996, 1997; Ife, 2000; Klapper & Rees, 2012; Meara, 1994; Willis, Doble, Sankarayya, & Smithers, 1977). In general, this research indicates that while learners make considerable progress in their target L2, the variability which is characteristic of residence abroad programmes more widely (Kinginger, 2008) affects this group as well (on this see especially Klapper & Rees, 2012). The research project “Social Networks, Target Language Interaction and Second Language Acquisition During the Year Abroad: A longitudinal study“ (the LANGSNAP project: http://langsnap.soton.ac.uk) was planned to provide fuller evidence on L2 acquisition during the year abroad, including documenting development on a range of language domains, and connecting progress in L2 to a range of individual, social and contextual variables. (See Mitchell, 2014 for an overview.)The project tracked a cohort of 56 students majoring in French or Spanish, before, during and after spending their year abroad in France, Spain or Mexico during the academic year 2011-12.This chapter reports one aspect of the findings of this project: the experience of the French L2 participants (N=29) of different placement types in France, and how placement type related to aspects of their target language development
978-1-329-43044-0
4
115-137
European Second Language Association
Mitchell, Rosamond
de2eabed-7903-43fa-961a-c16f69fddd7e
McManus, Kevin
5121f4f4-bbef-4508-b07c-becf6928b1e3
Tracy-Ventura, Nicole
1b747538-5a2a-4ef1-ad1e-0ab516b89ac0
Mitchell, Rosamond
de2eabed-7903-43fa-961a-c16f69fddd7e
McManus, Kevin
5121f4f4-bbef-4508-b07c-becf6928b1e3
Tracy-Ventura, Nicole
1b747538-5a2a-4ef1-ad1e-0ab516b89ac0

Mitchell, Rosamond, McManus, Kevin and Tracy-Ventura, Nicole (2015) Placement type and language learning during residence abroad. In, Residence Abroad, Social Networks and Second Language Learning. (Eurosla Monographs, 4) European Second Language Association, pp. 115-137.

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

The “year abroad” is a longstanding component of British university degree programmes in languages. As noted by other commentators (Coleman, 1997 and this volume; Collentine, 2009), the British “year abroad” is typically undertaken by language majors with several years’ prior language study and a relatively advanced proficiency level in their target language(s). It is a common requirement for programme completion, to spend two academic semesters abroad. However students can have considerable latitude in how the time abroad is spent, and assessment by the home institution is relatively “light touch”, typically involving e.g. a substantial project or long essay. Today, languages students typically undertake one of three placement types: as English language teaching assistants, on other forms of work placement, or as Erasmus exchange students following relevant academic programmes at a partner university. Numbers of U.K. languages students undertaking the classic university student exchange version of the year abroad are relatively stable at around 7,500 per year, a much smaller number than incoming international students at U.K. universities, though numbers undertaking teaching assistantships and other work placements have risen (British Academy & University Council for Modern Languages, 2012; King, Findlay, & Ahrens, 2010). The linguistic benefits of the year abroad have been tracked in various research studies (Coleman, 1996, 1997; Ife, 2000; Klapper & Rees, 2012; Meara, 1994; Willis, Doble, Sankarayya, & Smithers, 1977). In general, this research indicates that while learners make considerable progress in their target L2, the variability which is characteristic of residence abroad programmes more widely (Kinginger, 2008) affects this group as well (on this see especially Klapper & Rees, 2012). The research project “Social Networks, Target Language Interaction and Second Language Acquisition During the Year Abroad: A longitudinal study“ (the LANGSNAP project: http://langsnap.soton.ac.uk) was planned to provide fuller evidence on L2 acquisition during the year abroad, including documenting development on a range of language domains, and connecting progress in L2 to a range of individual, social and contextual variables. (See Mitchell, 2014 for an overview.)The project tracked a cohort of 56 students majoring in French or Spanish, before, during and after spending their year abroad in France, Spain or Mexico during the academic year 2011-12.This chapter reports one aspect of the findings of this project: the experience of the French L2 participants (N=29) of different placement types in France, and how placement type related to aspects of their target language development

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Published date: 25 August 2015
Organisations: Modern Languages

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Local EPrints ID: 381256
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/381256
ISBN: 978-1-329-43044-0
PURE UUID: 64feb320-f471-4b1f-8481-c7551e23de77

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Date deposited: 12 Oct 2015 10:16
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 20:28

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