The Student Learning Center’s approach to language learning preparation is guided by five main schools of thought:
Problem Based Learning
The SLC takes a problem-solving approach to language learning. That is, language is treated as a puzzle; students are encouraged to analyze and evaluate their language learning process, constantly adjusting the pieces of the puzzle until they fit together to form the most effective “picture” of their language learning progress. When students encounter language learning “problems,” through constant self-monitoring, they can make adjustments to the piece of the “puzzle” or the part of the process which is or has become ineffective.
Under a problem-solving approach, students learn to tease out the knowledge, strategies, and approaches to effectively and autonomously govern their own language learning process and progress. They also focus on the need to actively plan their language learning approach.
The SLC also takes a critical approach to language learning by facilitating the use of higher order processing skills (i.e. critical thinking skills) including those from Bloom’s Taxonomy such as:
Students monitor, analyze and evaluate their progress, apply working approaches and strategies to the learning process while synthesizing new information, approaches, and strategies with existing ones.
The SLC takes a metacognitive approach by raising student awareness about their language learning process, making the implicit explicit. The SLC asks students to think about how they learn- with special consideration of their:
We stress adaptability and flexibility in the application of student “preferences.” We ask students to consider:
Subsequently, the SLC provides awareness training and one-time strategy training, familiarizing students with the basic idea of language learning strategies and providing an opportunity for students to practice them in language-based tasks.
SLC curricula, courses and services are designed to encourage students to take personal responsibility for their learning. While at DLI, students need to monitor their own progress in order to make adjustments to their approaches and strategies when needed. The SLC is designed to empower students to be self-reliant language learners who are able to seek support when it’s needed.
The SLC stresses the importance of Cultural Awareness in acknowledgement of the fact that language and culture are inextricably connected. In particular, the ILS Department’s Cultural Terrain courses are offered as a way to provide students with a US politico-military context on which to base their studies and to raise student awareness about the ways in which culture will affect their language acquisition and language comprehension.