Learners: Activity 2

Compare the learners

Look at these tables summarizing the individual characteristics of the learners as determined in Activity 1.  Write about ways the two learners are the same or different, and whether these individual differences might be expected to affect the way they learn the language. 

Profile of Learners

  Jiulin AnnaLi
Age 22 19
Native language English English
Other language Spanish, Chinese Chinese, Japanese
Studied Chinese two years at University level, starting at age 20 2 years, starting at age 17
Major/area of study Linguistics; TESL; history Electrical Engineering
Education 4 years undergraduate, no BA yet 4-year degree of Electrical Engineering in the University of Minnesota
Experiences in China none Studied, 1 month in 2009, Beijing; traveled, 3 months in Beijing, 2009
Chinese outside class regular practice with language partners; movies practice with her boyfriend who is a native Chinese
Relationship with conversational partnerclassmates classmates

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.

Jiulin and AnnaLi both have English as their first language and are undergraduate seniors at a mid-western university. Both have had experiences learning a second language before learning Chinese. They started taking Chinese classes in college and have been studying it for about 2 years. As classmates, they have the same exposure to Chinese in class.

There are some differences between them. Their majors or areas of study are different, which means their learning preferences and experiences could be different too. As a linguistics major with minors in TESL and history, Jiulin may be more analytical in his approach to language learning. He may have strategies for learning a foreign language that he may have learned from his TESL classes. AnnaLi on the other hand is majoring in electrical engineering. It’s hard to infer what type of learner an electrical engineering student is. He or she can be creative, analytical, or accuracy-oriented.

Their contact with Chinese outside the classroom is also different. AnnaLi has been to China and has a Chinese boyfriend. Her experiences with native speakers are richer than Jiulin’s, who only has contact with international students from China at the university. AnnaLi’s interaction with native speakers and experiences in the target culture may have positive effects on her motivation, language awareness, and cultural identification.


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