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My narrative is an account of a Thai-English language exchange. For a short period, about three months, I met regularly with a university student of Thai citizenship. I agreed to teach him some English and he agreed to teach me some Thai. The settings were informal…
He wanted to study English to help with his university coursework. My motivation was more casual. I was simply interested in learning a little spoken Thai and a little about Thai culture. I wasn't interested in learning to read or to write Thai.
This narrative will concentrate on the application of Cambourne's prerequisites of learning to my language exchange experience. These prerequisites, or conditions of learning, are immersion, demonstration, expectation, responsibility, approximation, employment, response and engagement. As noted by Cambourne, these conditions of learning do not exist in isolation. Rather, these conditions are intertwined. A learner's ability to approximate the target behavior, for instance, may be difficult or impossible absent immersion or demonstration. That said, the eight conditions set forth a clear analytical framework for assessing my Thai-English language exchange.
Immersion refers to the depth and the comprehensiveness of the learning or literacy experience. It refers to the extent to which the learner is saturated by the learning experience. It also involves, in important ways, questions of authenticity. In my case, immersion was gravely lacking. As a result, it was difficult to approximate the modeled behavior, the spoken Thai, and my expectations were consequently diminished.
My instructor was a native-speaker of Thai. He was well-educated and well-prepared for our lessons. ...
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