Wilga Rivers Pedagogy Colloquium Paper: Optimizing Language Learning in Study Abroad: Recent Research, Current Findings, and New Directions

8:00 - 11:00am

Lower Level 1 – Salon E

Presented at: AAAL 2014

This paper reviews the evolution of research on language learning in study abroad from purely test-based outcomes studies to the use of quantitative accounting of student activities, ethnographies and case studies, and mixed-methods studies to investigate the relationship between language development and specific experiences abroad (DuFon & Churchill, 2006; Freed, 1998; Kinginger, 2011). The paper then describes a three-year study investigating a programmatic intervention designed to promote oral proficiency gains of learners of three target languages through training host families to increase meaningful conversation with students. Results explore what students (n=150) and hosts (n=90) believe was effective about the homestay.