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How Languages are Learned

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Danielle Woods

on 18 February 2014

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Transcript of How Languages are Learned

Chapter 1 Main Ideas
Chapter 1 focuses largely on first language acquisition of native speakers
Theories like Behaviorism, the Innatist Perspective, the Interactionist Perspective, & Connectionism outline the process of first language acquisition
The take away from the chapter: modeling, repetition, practice, exposure, maturity, making connections, and teaching to L1 and L2 are all strategies that should be used in instruction or preparation to ensure that students learn both L1 and L2 language
How Languages are Learned
Pasty M. Lightbown, Nina Spada

Behaviorism (Second Language Leaners)
Imitation and practice… Environment and Consistency
Because language development was viewed as the formation of habits, it was assumed that a person learning a second language would start off with the habits formed in the first language and that these habits would interfere with the new ones needed for the second language
Where L1 and L2 are similar, learners should acquire Target language structures with ease, where they are different, learners should have difficulties
Innatist Perspective (Second Language Learners)
Children are biologically programmed for language and language develops in the child in just the same way that other biological functions develop
There is a large variance in researcher’s approval for this method in regards to L2 learners
Krashen's Monitor Model (Second Language Learners)
5 hypotheses:
1. Acquisition: We acquire as we are exposed to L2, with no conscious attention.
2. Monitor: The acquired system initiates a speaker's utterances and is responsible for spontaneous language use.
3. Natural Order: L2 acquisition unfolds in predictable sequences, the language features that are easiest to learn are not always learned first.
4. Input: Acquisition occurs when one is exposed to language that is comprehensible and is what is already acquired but one step higher.
5. Affective filter: Metaphorical barrier that prevents learners from acquiring language even when appropriate input is available (feelings, motives, needs, etc.)
Cognitivist Information Processing (Second Language Learners)
L2 acquisition is a build-up of knowledge that can eventually be called on automatically for speaking and understanding
There is a limit to the amount of focused mental activity we can engage in at one time
Chapter 2 Personal Notes
Lack of agreement between experts
Leads to the idea, that people learn best in different ways and do so in different stages and time periods
I believe
a combination of theories would lead to the best teaching practices
Chapter 2 Main Ideas
The main focus of chapter two is to share the theories of second language development.

Chapter 3 Main Ideas
Understanding the relationship between individual differences, social situations, and success in second language learning is a great challenge
Intelligence
Motivation
The Critical Period
Learner's strengths and weaknesses in different components may account for their ability to succeed in different types of instructional programs
Chapter 4 Main Ideas: Leaning Language
Knowing more about the development of learner language helps teachers to assess teaching procedures in the light of what they can reasonably expect to accomplish in the classroom

Teachers and researchers cannot read learner's minds, so they must infer what learners know by observing what they do

There are systematic and predictable sequences in L2 acquisition
Chapter 4 continued
Among the factors that make new vocabulary more easily learned by L2 learners is the frequency with which the word is seen, heard, and understood

Laufer (1992) it is difficult to infer the meaning and learn new words from reading unless the student already knows 95% or more of the words in the text

In communicative, content-based, and task-based approaches to L2 instruction, there are more opportunities not only for a greater variety of input but also for learners to engage in different roles and participate in different organization structures

Chapter 5: Observing Learning and Teaching in the Second Language Classroom
Natural acquisition setting
not step by step
rarely corrected
surrounded by language
Structure-Based Instructional Setting
presented and practiced in isolation
errors frequently corrected
learning limited to a few hours a week
Communicative Instructional Setting
simplified and comprehensible (context clues, props, gestures)
limited error correction
more learning and less speaking in a short period of time
emphasis on comprehension instead of production
Chapter 5 Continued
Lyster & Ranta (1997) SIX FEEDBACK TYPES
1. Explicit Correction:
teacher provides correct form and clearly indicates what the student said was incorrect
2. Recasts
teacher reformulates all or part of a student's utterance, minus the error
3. Clarification Requests
indicates to students the utterance was misunderstood or was incorrect and the repetition or reformulation is required
4. Metalinguistic Feedback
comments, information, or questions related the the correctness of the student's utterance without explicitly providing the correct form
5. Elicitation
teacher elicits completion of their own utterance, teachers use questions to elicit correct forms, teachers occasionally ask students to reformulate their utterance
6. Repetition
teacher repetition of the student's erroneous utterance and adjusts the intonation so as to highlight the error
Chapter 6: Second Language Learning in the Classroom
Six Proposals for Classroom Teaching:
1. Get it right from the beginning
pure repetition, prevent errors that could become habit
2. Just listen... and read
learners are exposed to comprehensible input through listening and or reading
3. Let's talk
comprehensible input and conversational interactions with teachers and peers
4. Two for One
acquire L2 through the study of subject mater taught in that language
5. Teach what is teachable
some features of the language can be taught successfully at various points in the learners' development, other features develop according to the learners' internal schedule
6. Get it right in the end
language features will be acquired naturally if learners have adequate exposure to the leanguage and a motivation to learn
Chapter Six Continued
Research on each Proposal:
1. Get it right from the beginning
learners reluctant to take chances, hard to evaluate, does not guarantee high accuracy
2. Just listen... and read
can make considerable progress if they have sustained exposure to language they understand, should be used at the beginning of learning or as supplement to other kind of learning
3. Let's talk
hard to measure long-term growth
4. Two for one
many advantages, increased exposure time, motivating,... can be challenging for beginners
5. Teach what is teachable
very mixed findings, can be beneficial but also proven that learning targets can be taught at various times in development where students still have long lasting comprehension
6. Get it right in the end
effective, not long lasting, more effective with some subjects more than others
Chapter 6 Continued
Second language teachers can and should provide guided, form-focused instruction and corrective feedback in certain circumstances

Teachers should be especially aware of the errors that the majority of learners in a class are making when they share the same first language

Should not hesitate to point out how a particular structure in a learner's first language differs from the target language

Encourage learners to take part in the process by creating activities that draw their attention to the forms they use in communicative activities, by developing contexts in which they can provide each other with feedback, and by encouraging them to ask questions about language

No single answer for all learning environments or students

Chapter 7: Popular Ideas About Language Learning Revisited
languages are learned mainly through imitation
parents usually correct young children when they make grammatical errors
highly intelligent people are good language learners
the best predictor of success in second language acquisition is motivation
the earlier a second language is introduced in school programs, the greater the likelihood of success in learning
most of the mistakes that L2 learners make are due to interference from their L1
the best way to learn new vocabulary is through reading
it is essential for learners to be able to pronounce all the individual sound in the second language
once learners know roughly 1,000 words and the basic structure of a second language, they can easily participate in conversations with native speakers
Chapter 7 Continued
teachers should present grammatical rules one at a time, and learners should practice examples of each one before going on to another
teachers should teach simple language structures before complex ones
learners' errors should be corrected as soon as they are made in order to prevent the formation of bad habits
teachers should use materials that expose students only to language structures they have already been taught
when learners are allowed to interact freely, they copy each other's mistakes
students learn what they are taught
teachers should respond to students' errors by correctly rephrasing what they have said rather than by explicitly pointing out the error
students can learn both language and academic content simultaneously in classes where the subject matter is taught in their second language
Full transcript