La Rivista per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento delle lingue

Acquiring business vocabulary at ‘Fachhochschule’ level: learner independence and the role of L1

Victor Boutellier
Gordon Millar

Il processo di rivalutazione delle Scuole universitarie professionali svizzere arrischia di trascurare gli studenti. Loro stessi chiedono per il settore delle lingue seconde maggiore efficienza e soluzioni pragmatiche per migliorare l’apprendimento del lessico. La lettura autonoma di testi viene considerata produttiva, ma è troppo poco praticata. Un’illustrazione della tipologia dello studente fornisce un supporto affinché ognuno trovi le proprie strategie. D’altro canto approcci che si basano su banche dati potrebbero essere utili se non ci fossero troppo spesso disfunzioni tecniche. Gli studenti non desiderano solo definizioni nella lingua appresa, ma anche traduzioni nella lingua di partenza, soprattutto per l’ambito dei linguaggi specialistici. L’approccio lessicale di McCarthy si propone quale valida strategia di apprendimento monolingue senza mettersi in concorrenza con la strategia bilingue. Esso richiede agli insegnanti di mostrare agli studenti percorsi metodologici efficaci per un apprendimento personalizzato e un accesso differenziato al lessico. Ciò è però solo possibile se gli studenti assumono responsabilità nella pianificazione e nel controllo dei propri apprendimenti. (Red.)

Learner Independence

The creation in the later 1990s of Fachhochschulen in Switzerland has launched teachers, management and governing bodies on a quest for a new “corporate identity” which is having far-reaching repercussions at all levels of professional education. This activity involves the restructuring of school management, the redesigning of curricula, the introduction of new assessment methods and the polishing up of ideas on classroom management and practice. A flood of books, articles, and seminars has inundated the teaching staff of these newly upgraded institutions in an attempt to help them redefine their subject missions and curricula in accordance with the demands of the wider community. These redefinitions have taken the form of mission statements and lists of teaching aims, together with statements of the qualification profiles of entrants and graduates. Degree programmes in business, engineering, music and graphic design have begun to be more clearly seen as part of a range of activities, including applied research and consultancy work. There is, however, a phenomenon which has often been left out of account in the heat of this educational bustle: the learner.
Admittedly, an effort has been made to fill this gap by putting our students through intensive courses on learning strategies suitable for university-degree, as opposed to diploma-level, courses. These have, however, remained largely academic exercises, which do not allow time for any kind of internalisation of methods of study or self-assessment. Furthermore, as they are relatively short and not language-learning specific, their effect on language proficiency is even more in doubt (Sinclair 1999: 5-6). Students still have to jump in at the deep end, the good advice ringing in their ears, but often apparently feel incapable of its implementation.[...]

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