The what, why, and how of language advising

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Reinders, Hayo
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
language advising
Reinders, H. (2008). The what, why, and how of language advising MexTESOL, 32(2). This is research undertaken prior to the author being affiliated with the Unitec Institute of Technology.
Language advising is a type of language support where teachers meet with students on an individual basis to offer advice and feedback and to help students develop self-directed learning skills. Language advising is an increasingly popular form of language support in many parts of the world, especially where for practical, financial, or pedagogic reasons students are asked to learn the language by themselves. Language advising is also more and more offered alongside classroom teaching as a way of focusing on individual learners' needs and to make links between classroom and out-of-class learning. This brief article looks at what happens in advisory sessions, what their potential benefits are, and offers some practical advice on how teachers can get started with offering this type of language support as a complement to their classroom teaching. What is language advising? Language advising (also called 'language counselling') is a form of language support. It consists of one or more meetings (online or face-to-face) between an advisor (a teacher or dedicated language support person) and a student, usually one-to-one. The purpose of advising is to provide guidance to students about their language learning and to encourage the development of learner autonomy. In this way, it is different from tutoring or conferencing in that the focus is not directly on the language, but rather on how to learn the language. Also, the advice is specific to the individual student, and the advising takes place over an extended period with ongoing monitoring and feedback (and so is different from the brief meetings teachers may have with students after class to discuss their progress). Language advising sessions can be conducted in any language that the teacher and the student share, and can take place at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, at language schools, and to support self-directed learning. However, it is most common at the tertiary level to support self-access language learning. Is language advising useful? Research has shown (e.g. Reinders, 2006) that yes, advising is useful in the sense that students are grateful for the help and rate it very highly. Here is a recent, and quite common, comment that I received from a student:
Asociación Méxicana de Maestros de Inglés, MEXTESOL A.C.
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