The ‘Learner' Pole

The ‘Learner' Pole

Jean-Paul Narcy-Combes (Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris 3 University, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-707-7.ch005


Learning is the process which connects all the poles of the model. Its description in the book has been placed between its object, one of our poles, language (L2 in a plurilingual context in our case), and the learner, our second pole, whose specific problems cannot be understood if the process has not been clarified. This second pole will be dealt with in this chapter. We should perhaps refer to learners in the plural if we accept the tenets of LeDoux (2003) when he says that in neurobiological terms all humans are similar in their construction, but that the multiplicity and variety of their experiences makes it impossible to study their actual psychological processes according to general universal principles. A learning cycle has been proposed in which learning is symbolized by the arrows. Defining the position of the learners regarding the cycle is more problematic. They experience the cycle in order to learn L2, their experience can only be described in individual terms as they follow the arrows.
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Objectives Of The Chapter

In this chapter, a number of subjects will be studied in order to be able to understand what the learners undergo as they follow the arrows. This understanding will be applied to organizing an adequate learning and mediating environment. The content of the chapter will cover the questions that are generally associated with L2 learners:

  • aptitude and multiple intelligences,

  • strategies and techniques,

  • styles,

  • anxiety,

  • personality, identity, attitudes and motivation,

  • language learning awareness,

  • autonomy,

  • reflective interaction,

  • learner training.

Readers may be benefit from comparing their initial beliefs regarding these points with what is developed in the chapter which will be summed up in a synthetic table. Inferring, in a group or individually, how this will be taken up in the cycle before reading the concluding lines (the learning cycle in a distance environment and the learner) may prove a worthwhile reading task leading to a fuller discussion.


Individual Differences In Second-Language Learning

White (2003, p. 90) speaks of learner dimensions. The word is very appropriate but may refer to more than mere psychological parameters. However, in this subpart, our study will be restricted to such parameters.

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