Speaking a second language is like snowboarding switch.
We know what we want to say in our minds, but it’s really hard to make it actually happen!
In most cases, we feel more comfortable in our natural stance, and in our first language!
The use of language is fundamentally important in snowboard instructing. As instructors we are all engaged in the art of efficient and effective language use to help our students progress.
Now, imagine doing it in a second language!
Why do you care?
Well, maybe you’re an evaluator who has had second language speakers in a course. Or maybe you’re the candidate who speaks English or French as a second language!
Understanding yourself, or your candidates, as language learners can help you both navigate the confusion, frustration, and courage it takes to acquire, refine and use new language on a course.
Let’s draw some parallels between learning snowboarding and learning a language.
When learning a new snowboarding skill, riders progress through The Skill Development Model (I.A.R.C.C.V., p.92 in the Reference Guide) This is also true in language learning!
Let’s say you learn a new term like “shred the gnar”. You’re going to have to hear it for the first time (Initiation), learn what it means (Acquisition), use it naturally without hesitation in the correct social context (Refinement) and then make it your own, “Hop on the shred-train to gnar-town!” (Creative Variation).
The equivalent of snowboarding Skill Levels (Beginner, Novice, etc.) are referred to as Language Proficiency Profiles or CEFR Profiles. CEFR is kind of like the ISIA. To give you an idea of the values of the levels, most universities require a B1 proficiency for admission.