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31. Lessons learned from 50 years of language teaching at the Foreign Service Institute

31. Lessons learned from 50 years of language teaching at the Foreign Service Institute

In this episode, I review a paper from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) about language learning and teaching. The key insights are eleven: Mature adults can learn a foreign language well enough through intensive language study to do things in the language (almost) as well as native speakers. "Language-learning aptitude" varies among individuals and affects their classroom learning success (but at least some aspects of aptitude can be learned). There is no "one right way" to teach (or learn) languages, nor is there a single "right" syllabus. Time on task and the intensity of the learning experience appear crucial. Learners' existing knowledge about *language* affects their learning. A learner's prior experience with learning (languages or other skills) also affects classroom learning. The importance of "automaticity" in building learner skill and confidence in speaking and reading a language is more important than has been recognised by the second language acquisition field since th

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