Digital translation tools and dictionaries have become an indispensable part of language use. DeepL, Leo and Co. are used extensively and for various purposes, however, their benefits for foreign language teaching and learning remain contested. Some consider these tools to be of educational value, while others express their doubts on the sustainability of their contribution to language learning.
When asked about their goals, students learning a foreign language generally say they want to speak the language. Despite the value placed on speaking, however, various studies on the foreign language competence of Swiss school students reveal that many learners have difficulty in meeting the learning outcomes set for spoken language (Peyer et al. 2016, Wiedenkeller/Lenz 2019).
Vocabulary is the basis for receptive and productive language use. Influential theories on second language acquisition and learning consider vocabulary and grammar to be complementary, rather than opposing elements of language. Vocabulary is viewed as an integral component of learner grammars that is worth promoting and consolidating in the foreign language classroom. In recent years, digitialisation has seen the development of many learning apps and platforms that provide new opportunities...
Assessment tools as a link between education standards, curricula, teaching and learning
Supervision: Thomas Studer, Wilfrid Kuster, Mirjam Egli (PHSG), Gé Stoks (SUPSI/DFA)
In collaboration with the University of Teacher Education St. Gallen (PHSG) and the Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera Italiana (SUPSI)
Processes used to solve intercomprehension tasks and appropriate learner profiles
The goal of the project "Multilingual sequences in history lessons: processes to solve intercomprehension tasks and appropriate learner profiles" was twofold: First, the project adjusted worksheets designed in the context of materials development for improving intercomprehension at the secondary II level (reading texts in the source language in history lessons) for use in secondary school I. Second, the project aimed to shed light on key processes in text comprehension when reading an...
Are language skills transferable?
Fabricio Decandio, Carlos Pestana (KFM), Magalie Desgrippes (UniFR)
The project "Language of origin and language at school: are language skills transferable?" was initiated to explore potential transfers between the language of origin and the language spoken at school in schoolchildren who attend heritage language and culture (HLC) courses. A particular focus was placed on reading and writing skills.
The potential to learn foreign languages varies from one individual to the next and has been investigated by many researchers as of the early 1950s. Individuals’ ability to learn foreign languages relies on various elements that have been identified and grouped under the term language aptitude (ability to retrieve, identify and memorise sound sequences belonging to foreign languages, ability to identify meaningful common features etc.). Another area of the research focuses on emotional/personality...
In-depth study on competence-based assessment of receptive skills
If the aim is to measure how well learners can actually use a foreign language, then competence-oriented testing with near-authentic tasks is the method of choice. There is, however, a need for renewal in the design of such test tasks, especially because real-world language use often uses electronic channels. Chat, Internet searches and the like are part of everyday life. In addition, computer-based testing has increasingly become the norm in recent years, especially in the field of...
This research overview focuses on differences between individuals when it comes to results in learning foreign languages in school. The aim is to identify and discuss studies about factors responsible for differences in the potential to learn foreign languages from one individual to the next as well as the various tools designed to evaluate them (MLAT, LLAMA, CANAL-FT, FLCAS etc.). The research overview will be structured around the following themes: