Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Diane Larson-Freeman


During the summer of 1982, I led a group of Outbound students to Switzerland on a language/homestay program. Before going abroad, students underwent an intensive French course at North Adams, Massachusetts for a period of ten days. Afterwards, they spent approximately one month living with families in the French region of Switzerland.

In the course of this paper, I will describe the implementation of a project developed for these students which involved the use of Language Acquisition Diaries. The purpose of this project was to create an awareness in students of their own language learning process. Through the use of introspective journals students explored their individual learning styles.

Diarists were asked to report on affective factors, learning strategies, sources of stress, motivational factors, etc. -- all of which contributed to their own language acquisition. The following question served as a guide to all diarists: "What factors are important in my language learning experience."

The methodological format I used is an adaptation of Kathleen Bailey's "A Methodological Review of Diary Studies: Windmill Tilting or Social Science?""

1. Diarist looks retrospectively at any significant learning experience (language or non-language related}•

2. Diarist provides an account of his personal language history.

3. Diarist systematically records events and feelings about the current language experience in a confidential and candid diary.

4, Diarist studies the journal entries, looking for patterns and significant events.

5. Diarist supplements his observations of events with introspection and s-elf-observation

6. Teacher discusses with the diarist his findings and offers further insight--by distributing lists of cognitive and affective considerations.

7. Diarist reexamines himself and subsequently draws conclusions about his language learning style,

8. Diarist's assessment of the project as a learning tool.

Through my experience with this project, students gained increased awareness of themselves as language learners. This awareness will hopefully aid them in future language endeavors.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry