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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2018 Abstracts

Documenting a Foreign Language Teaching, Learning, and Retention Experience

Rachel Fuller, Brigham Young University

As the world becomes a more global community, it is extra valuable to understand different languages and cultures to enhance communication and understanding. The three languages that are explored in this project are English, Chinese, and Korean. Each of these languages are globally significant because of their major influences in technology, politics, and business. This documentation project will aim to provide further justification for maintaining global awareness and literacy, especially in a time when many nations are increasingly drawing inward and fearing interaction outside their own borders. In the case of English, there is a growing market for teaching this language in foreign countries as it provides economic advantages to learners. This teaching market is an increasingly popular and successful avenue for start-up businesses, volunteer work, and non-profit organizations in developing areas of the world. The purpose of this research project is to analyze a month-long, volunteer English-teaching experience in China. This project documents a personal foreign language experience while being abroad for a month as an English teacher to young Chinese students. In addition to recording my experience of teaching English as a foreign language, I have kept a log of my individual efforts in attempting to learn basic Chinese and maintain my second language abilities in Korean. My efforts to explore these three avenues of teaching, learning, and retaining foreign language during this experience is analyzed through the lens of follow-up research concerning theories on language learning. This project explores the variety of methodologies that can be used to assist the language learning process while trying to participate in global activities. This project is important initially as volunteer work, but I would also like to contribute to literature and curriculum ideas that relate to foreign language immersion, for teachers and learners. Through my documentation project, I also hope to provide further analysis on retention strategies recommended for people who are interested in learning and maintaining multiple languages.