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

  Henry Raúl
Age 20 21
Native language English Spanish
Other language Tried French (limited), Spanish English
Studied Spanish Started in Kindergarten, took more seriously for 4 years in HS. Has taken 2 semesters in college. Elementary school in Spanish (in Mexico) until approx. age 9.
Major/area of study History (European), possible minor or double major in Spanish. Accounting and Finance
Education in his third year of undergraduate in his fourth year of undergraduate at the University of Minnesota
Experiences in Spanish-speaking countries none (other than 1 day in Mexico while traveling in Texas) Born and raised in Cuernavaca suburb, Mexico, until ~age 9
Spanish outside class regular practice with NS roommates and friends speaks with parents once per week
Relationship with conversational partner just met just met

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.

Henry and Raúl are both upperclassmen undergraduate students at a mid-western university, both male, and are roughly the same age.

Beyond these limited similarities, there are many differences between them. Henry was born and raised in an English-speaking environment in the US, while Raúl had this early exposure and immersion in Spanish as his first language. Henry had early exposure to Spanish (Kindergarten), but doesn't remember much and disprefers his earlier classes to his current communication-oriented Spanish classes at his university. Henry had tried learning another language (French) before taking Spanish in college and had traveled to France, while Raúl had started learning English as a foreign language around age 8 in Mexico before he moved to the US at age 9 and learned English as a second language in school.

Their majors or areas of study are different, which means their learning preferences and experiences could be different, too. As a history major considering a double major in Spanish, Henry may be more analytical in his approach to language learning. Raúl on the other hand is majoring in accouting and finance, but never uses Spanish in academic or work environments whatsoever. His approach to Spanish may therefore be more communication-oriented and embedded in familial bonds and childhood memories, as compared to Henry.

Their contact with Spanish outside the classroom is also different. Of course, Raúl's experiences and exposure with native speakers are richer than Henry's. Since Raúl's parents and other family are all native speakers, his interaction with NSs and experiences in the "target" culture likely have strong positive effects on his cultural identification and perhaps motivation. Henry's contact however is mostly limited to surface-level interaction with Spanish-speaking roommates.


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