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Purpose of Templates of the Language Biography

Communication checklists are a required part of the Global Language Portfolio. They ask learners to assess what they can do now in each of five skill areas, and to decide for each skill what their next learning goal will be. Templates other than the checklists should be done either as required by the instructor or as the learner deems them to be helpful.

The template on How Do I Learn goes beyond the communication checklists in allowing the learner to consider how she or he can further develop both language skills and cultural competence. Different learners find success with different approaches to learning, and the template helps learners figure out what works best for them personally.

The template on Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities: Learner Reflections on a Past Experience, Developing Future Goals and Strategies to Achieve Them is a working document whose focus is on one single experience (study abroad, internship, field trip, course assignments, or program of study). Its purpose is to help the learner (a) to assess how she or he has developed cultural competence in the experience being addressed, (b) to plan future experiences, and (c) to determine strategies for developing added cultural competence in the future. Reflections on past experiences and future planning do not need to have a template, nor do they need to follow a particular format. For written reflections done as part of a composition class or oral reflections as part of a conversation class, there may be no need for a template at all. Reflections done as part of a course may appear either in the Language Biography or as a sample of written or oral work in the Language Dossier.

The template on Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities: Past Experiences and Future Plans was devised to help the learner assess a given learning experience, such as study abroad, an internship, a field trip, or even a course or a program of study. Whether or not learners share this working document with others, as a result of their reflections on these four of the five C’s of language learning, learners should be able to explain more easily to others what they accomplished in the area of intercultural competence. And as a result of their reflections, learners may begin to plan their next study abroad or language immersion experience, their next internship or work experience in a target language community (at home or abroad), and their next language course or program of study.



GLP Home Page Content June 6, 2008. pcummins@vcu.edu