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What's in a job? A self-learning opportunity for second language learners

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This paper describes how international students engaged in the job interview process experience and then reflect on assumed roles as interviewee, interviewer and observer as part of a group learning exercise. In so doing, students learning a second language show they can effectively use this language to reflect on the process in which they are involved. Students on the General English course at Massey University English Language Centre, New Zealand, require constant opportunities to use their English skills in realistic, practical and authentic learning contexts. As adult learners, it is also beneficial that they develop self-monitoring skills and thus move towards greater learner autonomy. Prior to the role-plays, few students had experienced job interviews and were unaware of the social and ‘cultural' rituals involved. This paper reveals the steps involved in this experiential learning process and the fundamental part of learner reflection, both within, and following the experience—to bring about intended outcomes. The learning process with this group of students involves discussion, enactment/observation, and reflection-on-action within the group settings. The author found the initial reflections as interviewee–interviewer were subjective and often emotive, while student reflections as observer were more objective and impartial. Students claimed that the interview experience bolstered their self-confidence, enhanced group empathy, reinforced class cohesion and increased learner autonomy.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14623940500106534

Affiliations: Massey University, New Zealand

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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