Cardiff Metropolitan University
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A Study to Examine the Reactivation of Language Skills in a P.G.C.E. Modern Foreign Language Programme

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posted on 2022-10-14, 10:39 authored by Jill Llewellyn-Williams


Modern languages students who are training to be languages teachers not

only have to learn the craft of the profession but are also under constant

pressure to maintain their foreign language skills, especially as they have to

put their language competence under the close scrutiny of their mentors and

university tutors in the challenging environment of the classroom. This study is

a three-year investigation of PGCE modern foreign languages students, their

attempts to reactivate lapsed language skills and a tutor-led guided learning

initiative to offer a targeted language support programme.

The study of language attrition (De Bot and Stoessel, 2000; Hansen, 2001;

Meara, 2004) has proved particularly fruitful as a theoretical underpinning to

the research. Data on language loss and relearning were gathered by means

of a reflective log undertaken by PGCE languages students. These formed

the basis of a guided learning initiative that took place in a university School of

Education. Students were encouraged to reflect on the process of language

attrition and to identify strategies that allowed successful language

regeneration. The aim of this initiative was to improve the reactivation of

lapsed language skills, to encourage reflection on the process of metalearning

and to help students to develop into more confident and competent teachers.

Following six months of guided learning, there was an indication that overall

gains in grammatical knowledge were limited while there was an improvement

in vocabulary. The greatest gains were demonstrated by those students who

successfully integrated their language learning activities with their

professional training and showed a commitment to maintaining their language

skills on a regular and consistent basis. It is recognised that the guided

learning initiative has had an impact on practice and the way tutors perceive

their role in supporting students' professional and subject knowledge

development. The findings will inform the future delivery of the programme.



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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