Learners: Activity 1

Learners' characteristics

Please read the information about learner characteristics before working through these activities.

Describe each learner’s individual characteristics based on what they tell you in their interviews. Document what you know about each of them in terms of:

  1. How long have they been learning Chinese, and what kind of exposure of Chinese have they had? Did they learn Chinese in a more communication-oriented or accuracy-oriented way?
  2. Whether they began learning Chinese before the end of the critical period
  3. Educational and literacy level; present and past purposes for learning Chinese
  4. Whether their present orientation is to either communication or accuracy
  5. Personality
  6. Motivation
  7. Learning styles and strategies
  8. Other possibly relevant traits

Jiulin Interview

Transcript (PDF)

AnnaLi Interview

Transcript (PDF)

Please type your answers to the questions in the box below.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

1. How long have they been learning Chinese, and what kind of exposure to Chinese have they had? Was it communication-oriented or accuracy-oriented?

Both Jiulin and AnnaLi started learning Chinese when they were in college and have been learning it at the Chinese language program at the university for two years. They have taken Chinese language classes, which are relatively accuracy-oriented. Jiulin has a few native Chinese as language partners, with whom he met a few times per week to practice Chinese, voluntarily adding more communication-oriented work. AnnaLi has a Chinese boyfriend from Beijing, and she has been to China twice. Her communication with her boyfriend and the trips to China are more communication-oriented.

2. Did they begin learning Chinese before the end of the critical period?

Both Jiulin and AnnaLi started learning Chinese after the end of the critical period.

3. What is their educational and literacy level, present and past purpose for learning Chinese?

Both Jiulin and AnnaLi are undergraduates. Jiulin says it’s interesting to learn Chinese and its culture. He will study in China in the coming semester. AnnaLi says she started learning Chinese because of her boyfriend. She will study in China soon too.

4. Is their present orientation to either communication or accuracy?

Considering their needs to study and live in China, both Jiulin and AnnaLi have communication orientations. Since they are taking Chinese language classes that are accuracy-oriented, they must attend to accuracy too.

5. What personality trait might affect their language use?

Jiulin seems to be more of a risk-taker and more confident than AnnaLi who appears more cautious and introverted. Jiulin practices Chinese with his language partners after class, showing initiative in learning Chinese. Although she does have a Chinese boyfriend, AnnaLi says she chooses to avoid communicating with native speakers when she cannot understand them.

6. What is their motivation for learning Chinese?

Both have an integrative and instrumental motivation; they are motivated by their intention to use Chinese while studying in China. Jiulin has personal interests in Chinese language and culture and AnnaLi is motivated by her need to communicate with her boyfriend.

7. What learning styles and strategies do they prefer?

We have little information on their individual learning styles and strategies. Both may be analytical learners to the extent that they self-repair.

8. Other possibly relevant traits?

Jiulin is a male while AnnaLi is a female.


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