Strategy Based Instruction

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University of Minnesota

CARLA Working Paper Series A rewritten version of Paper #7 May 2005

Styles and Strategies-Based Instruction: A Teachers’ Guide Andrew D. Cohen & Susan J. Weaver
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition Working Paper Series

 • Styles and Strategies-Based Instruction: A Teachers’ Guide

We would like to acknowledge all of the language learners, teachers, and researchers who have come before us, providing the foundations for a strategies-based approach to teaching languages. Their efforts and insights have allowed us to see how increased learner autonomy and learner-focused teaching can improve the processes of teaching and learning languages. We would especially like to thank all of the students and teachers who have participated in our workshops, seminars, video and research projects. The following people assisted us in the Authors Cohen & Weaver

preparation of the first version (1997): Jonathan Paradise, Molly

Wieland, Nancy Stenson, Yelena Borisova, Tao-Yuan Li, Kimberly Scott, Cheryl Alcaya, Karen Lybeck, Patricia Mougel. Anna Uhl Chamot, and Rebecca Oxford. As for the rewritten version, special thanks goes to Martha Nyikos for her contributions and to Rebecca Oxford for her insightful work and training in the styles literature. Finally, we would like to thank Karin Larson and her colleagues at CARLA who have believed in our styles and strategies work over the many years and have made the workplace a true learning and teaching community. Without Karin’s solid support, this revised version would not have come to fruition.

Styles and Strategies-Based Instruction: A Teachers’ Guide • 

Using the SSBI Guide
This publication is the revision of Strategies-based instruction: A teacher-training manual (1997) and includes feedback from users of that guide. The material is meant for second and foreign language instructors (both referred to here as L2 teachers) and has been field tested in eight summer institutes (with instructors of at least fifteen languages) and in language classes (most recently in Nanjing, China). Each chapter begins with background material on topics related to styles-and strategiesbased instruction (SSBI) in the language classroom. This reference material is enhanced by hands-on tasks that show teachers ways to conduct SSBI with their own students. These tasks (in the Activity Handouts section) may be copied, adapted, and distributed for classroom use. The tasks represent several methods of instruction: presentations, paired and smallgroup discussions, interactive (handson) strategy practice exercises, reflective writings, inclass readings, and opportunities for designing strategiesbased activities and curricula from the participants’ own teaching materials. Participants are given firsthand experience with using and evaluating strategies, as well as opportunities for discussing issues related to styles- and strategiesbased instruction. Participants are encouraged to share their insights and experiences throughout the course. We believe that every participant can make valuable contributions toward the content of any course. Thus, a practical handson approach, where the participants actively experiment with the strategies presented and reflect on their own language learning/teaching experiences, will help to prepare them for their students’ reactions to SSBI. Teacher-trainers, administrators, and researchers use this material productively and there is a section about designing SSBI workshops and research sessions. But the ultimate goal of this manual is to help L2 teachers gain a better sense of the individual needs of their students. We hope it will provide the participating teachers with ideas about how to embed strategies into everyday class activities, how to positively reinforce the effective use of strategies, and how to encourage their students to find ways to take more responsibility for language learning.

 • Styles...
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