Taking the Plunge: Experiences of In-country Language Immersion by Working Professionals

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dc.contributor.advisor Colleen Wiessner, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Monica Rector, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Kathryn Moore, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Carol Kasworm, Committee Chair en_US
dc.contributor.author Gerber, Marjorie Lynne en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2010-04-02T18:30:42Z
dc.date.available 2010-04-02T18:30:42Z
dc.date.issued 2006-11-07 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-09222006-233511 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3485
dc.description.abstract Situated in the social constructivist view of learning that an individual learns from social action and interaction, this qualitative study explores ways in which twelve working professionals were influenced by their experiences with in-country language immersion programs. Through semi-structured interviews and a constant comparative interpretation of data, the author delineates a broader understanding of the figural aspects of in-country immersions utilized for the specific purpose of enhancing personal effectiveness in professional careers. The experiences of the 12 working professionals in this study demonstrate that in-country language immersion can facilitate language and cross-cultural learning among motivated, focused adult learners. The effectiveness of such programs rests on several factors. First, the learners are lifted from their daily lives and immersed in an environment where they are forced to communicate and are given the opportunity to concentrate on their learning objectives. Second, they learn not only from formal teachers in the immersion schools, but also from myriad others in the surrounding community and from the setting itself. Third, the authentic setting provides a "living laboratory" in which participants can both improve language ability through relevant practice and also gain valuable insights into the culture through which the language is shaped. Fourth, the progress each individual makes depends on personal and emotional factors and purposeful efforts of the individual learner. Fifth, experiences and encounters provide ongoing motivation to learn and produce changes in the way working professionals interact and see themselves and others. Finally, participants learn more than simply the mechanics of language; the learning during in-country immersion affects the whole person and occurs in three interrelated and recurring phases of isolation, interaction, and integration. The author urges prospective program designers and participants to utilize in-country language immersion as contextual learning that derives its primary benefits from intensity, focus, and environment. A list of guidelines is provided for practitioners and participants to explore the potential of in-country immersions as language and cross-cultural vehicles for working professionals. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject professional development en_US
dc.subject cross-cultural competency en_US
dc.subject qualitative research en_US
dc.subject experiential learning en_US
dc.subject social constructivism en_US
dc.subject language immersion en_US
dc.subject working professionals en_US
dc.subject adult learning en_US
dc.title Taking the Plunge: Experiences of In-country Language Immersion by Working Professionals en_US
dc.degree.name EdD en_US
dc.degree.level dissertation en_US
dc.degree.discipline Adult and Community College Education en_US

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