Earl Stevick (1923-2013): the continuing relevance of Earl Stevick's seven learning categories
Simpson, Adam John (2014) Earl Stevick (1923-2013): the continuing relevance of Earl Stevick's seven learning categories. Humanising Language Teaching, 16 (1). ISSN 1755-9715
Official URL: http://www.hltmag.co.uk/feb14/mart01.htm
If I were to ask you to reel off a list of names of those that you feel have had the greatest influence on language teaching and learning over, say, the last century, there is one name that would more often than not be conspicuous by its absence. Earl Stevick may not be the first name to trip off the tongue, but his life’s work has nonetheless had considerable influence on our profession. On top of a career that saw him undertake pioneering teaching work in Africa, as well as being a key player in developing the communicative approach (and learning fourteen languages along the way), Stevick published four groundbreaking books which addressed the significance of the human being in the process language learning and acquisition. One of these, ‘Success with Foreign Languages: seven who achieved it and what worked for them’ was based on research investigating the factors which led to the success of learners in acquiring a second language. Published way back in the 1980s, this title saw Stevick placing his research subjects into different learning categories according to their preferred learning environment. While three decades have passed since its publication, and with consideration of the changes that have occurred in education in that time, what I’d like to do in this article is to show that Stevick’s categories are still as relevant today as they were when first published. Furthermore, I will propose a list of strategies for catering to Stevick’s learner categories in the contemporary classroom.
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