Improving Language Learning:
Styles- and Strategies-Based Instruction

July 17–21, 2017

Martha Nyikos

Enhancing students’ ability to learn a foreign/second language through styles- and strategies-based instruction (SSBI) is the focus of this institute. SSBI is a learner-centered approach to teaching that enables students to become more effective and ef cient foreign language learners by helping them understand and make the most of their own learning styles and strategies. Teachers will also learn about their own strategies as learners as a way to more deeply understand and teach SSBI by frequently putting themselves into learners’ shoes during the course.

Participants will create lessons for differentiated instruction with supporting materials and explore ways to incorporate strategies into their own language curricula. During the institute, participants will have an opportunity to apply SSBI according to their own interests—whether directly for classroom instruction or conducting SSBI workshops for teachers. This institute draws extensively from the CARLA publication, Styles-and Strategies-Based Instruction: A Teachers’ Guide. Each teacher will receive a copy of this book as part of the institute.

Program Schedule (9am-4pm)

Day 1
  • Defining, Integrating, and Working with Styles and Strategies
  • Raising Awareness of Current Strategy Use
  • Resolving Style/Strategy Conflicts
Day 2
  • Ways to Assess How Styles and Strategies Affect Learning
  • Intersection of Style, Strategy, and Task
  • Hands-On SSBI Activities and Lesson Planning
Day 3
  • Frameworks for SSBI
  • Teaching vs. Learning Strategies
  • Teacher and Student Roles in Challenging Learning Contexts
Day 4
  • Motivation for Language Learning
  • Creating SSBI Lesson Plans in Three Frameworks
  • More Hands-On SSBI Activities
  • Review of SSBI Research and Implications
Day 5
  • Participant Presentations and Peer Feedback of SSBI Lessons and Project Design
  • Style/Strategy Review and Debate
  • Goal-Setting for the Future

After this institute, you will be able to:

CARLA Globe"We learned about psychological, sensory, cognitive, learning styles, strategies for those styles in reading, speaking, listening, writing, vocabulary, and teaching and learning styles and how they all intersect."
— Strategies Institute Participant


Martha Nyikos is associate professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she heads the program in Foreign and Second Language Education. She has led three STARTALK grant programs for K–6 teachers and has worked for many years on issues related to teacher professional development and language-learning strategies. Her research interests include cognitive and sociocultural factors in language learning strategies of foreign/heritage language students, teachers’ approaches to dual language immersion teaching, and teaching Spanish through the arts.

Target Audience: K–16 foreign language and ESL teachers, administrators, curriculum coordinators, language teacher educators, and researchers.


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