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Achieving Language Competence with Affective Learning Activities


  • Clay Benjamin Christensen

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      Clay Benjamin Christenaen (Ph. D., University of Washington) is Associate Professor of Spanish at San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.


ABSTRACT  In this article, a sequel to an earlier one on Affective Learning Activities (ALA), four premises are offered: (1) while the cognitive domain is essential to achieve learning, the affective domain is equally essential for the promotion of stimulating language practice; (2) imagination keeps people from boredom; (3) creativity or inventiveness enriches peoples' lives; and (f) affective themes (e. g., values, personal opinions and experiences, interests, imaginings and fantasies) categorize potentially rich content for stimulating language practice. A brief overview of the connection between imagination and the images stored in the learner's memory bank points out the classroom utility of affective themes. A rationale for tapping the students' creative abilities is given to clarify why ALA may be profitably used in the foreign language classroom. In addition, the article attempts to survey some of the affective themes that may be incorporated into classroom teaching materials. While this article suggests that several strategy models exist to facilitate the release of the learners' affective domain, one specific model, the Open-Ended Sentence is described in detail. It is designed to elicit responses that will be charged with the learners' personal opinions, values, humor, and feelings. The ideal learning atmosphere the approach promotes ties into a recent concept described as the ‘flow factor.’

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