This is one of the richest and most intriguing books on learner characteristics that I have come across in my entire career. It aims to kill two birds with one stone by offering an up-to-date theoretical introduction as well as a series of practical classroom activities, and it succeeds: the birds are definitely dead! I will urge my friends, colleagues and students to have a copy of this book on their bookshelves.
Capitalizing on Language Learners' Individuality: From Premise to Practiceby Tammy Gregersen, Peter D. MacIntyre
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This book closes the gap between theory and classroom application by capitalizing on learners’ individuality in second or foreign language learning. The book examines the existing literature and theoretical underpinnings of each of the most prominent learner characteristics including anxiety, beliefs, cognitive abilities, motivation, strategies, styles and willingness to communicate. This strong foundation, coupled with the wide variety of activities that are suggested at the end of each chapter, arms the reader with ideas to conquer the problems created by negative affect and to capitalize on positive, facilitative emotions. The tasks are unrestricted by language and can be modified for use with technology, emergent learners and large classes, making this book a useful resource for both in-service teachers and pre-service teachers in university language teacher education programs.
Gregersen and MacIntyre do a remarkable job of closing the gap between theory and practice by presenting theories about learner characteristics in a highly accessible way and then providing a host of user-friendly, step-by-step classroom activities. The authors have an uncanny knack for speaking to the concerns of the teachers while at the same time directly addressing the needs of the learners. The volume takes 'catering to individual differences' in second language learning to a whole new level.
The book will appeal to teachers working in more flexible contexts, who are interested in an introduction to various theoretical perspectivesof individual differences and who are also looking to diversify their classroom activities portfolio. The book will also be useful for undergraduateand taught postgraduate students in English language teaching, teaching English to speakers of other languages, or applied linguistics who may be working with practical portfolios but also need an introduction to relevant literature. It is a “fun” book that uses stories, metaphors, inspirational quotations and colourful activities with a view to minimising “negative-narrowing affect” and harnessing the “positive-broadening power of facilitative emotions”.
There are without doubt very few academic publications that would be as enlightening, inspiring, thought-provoking, reader-friendly, classroom-oriented and downright useful as the book by Tammy Gregersen and Peter D. MacIntyre Capitalizing on Learners’ Individuality: From Premise to Practice. I consider the volume to be a true gem and an urgent must-read for anyone interested in the role of individual learner differences in the process of second or foreign language learning and teaching, whether they are academics, university staff involved in teacher training, materials writers, teachers, or undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
Meet the Author
Tammy Gregersen is Professor of TESOL at the University of Northern Iowa, USA. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of language teaching methodology, language teacher training, learner variables, emotion and nonverbal communication in language learning.
Peter D. MacIntyre is Professor of Psychology at Cape Breton University, Canada. He has published widely in the areas of the psychology of communication, motivation, emotion, willingness to communicate, language acquisition and dynamic systems.
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