Linking Language-learning Concepts with Active-learning Concepts in Foreign-language Education
Eric Buck, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
As the emphasis on active learning grows with educational policy reforms in Japan, learner engagement is a prominent issue. High-stakes tests and examinations compel teachers to rely, sometimes heavily, on certain forms of rote drilling that lack potential to stimulate and engage learners in the ‘active learning’ sense, and, instead, involve a much more passive learning experience. This paper examines intriguing similarities between extracts from literature on active learning and literature concerning L2 output production in language learning contexts. In particular, specific descriptions of processes involved in active learning are similar in a number of ways to the potential learning benefits thought to be made available when producing modified L2 output in response to interlocutor feedback. These parallels are displayed and explained for the purpose of situating definitions of active learning within some of the conceptuality of language learning. Following this, examples of possible styles and formats of language drills are used as a basis for portraying the dichotomy between active and passive learning. It is concluded that more active forms of drilling involving authentic learner production can reveal more about the current state of a learners’ interlanguage and provide more opportunities to attend to their needs regarding the development of this interlanguage.