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Factors That Influence Second-Language Acquisition

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irasema martinez

on 27 April 2012

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Transcript of Factors That Influence Second-Language Acquisition

Factors That Influence Second-Language Acquisition
Age -Many people believe that children acquire a second language more rapidly than adults, but recent research counters this notion
-It is true that the kind of instruction varies greatly according to the age of the learner, how formal the treatment of grammar and rules can be and what kind of communicative activities are appropriate.
-Biology closes the door to learning a second language at certain ages.
-Children, who already have solid literacy skills in their own language, seem to be in the best position to acquire a new language efficiently. Motivated, older learners can be very successful too, but usually struggle to achieve native-speaker-equivalent pronunciation and intonation
-The cognitive perspective helps educators understand language learners as people who are active processors of information.
-Language is used in school to create meaning from prints, to encode ideas into print, to analyze and compare information, and to respond to classroom discussion
-In general, it seems that students with greater cognitive abilities will make the faster progress. Some linguists believe that there is a specific, innate language learning ability that is stronger in some students than in others. Cognitive Intrinsic motivation has been found to correlate strongly with educational achievement. Clearly, students who enjoy language learning and take pride in their progress will do better than those who don't.
Extrinsic motivation is also a significant factor. ESL students, for example, who need to learn English in order to take a place at an American university or to communicate with a new English boy/girlfriend are likely to make greater efforts and thus greater progress. Intrinsic Motivation/Extrinsic Motivation It has been realized that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is strongly correlated with educational achievement. Students who enjoy language learning and take pride in their own progress will do better than those who don't. Extrinsic motivation is also a factor for ESL students. For example, ESL students who want to communicate with the other boys/girls in school are likely to make great progression in second - language acquisition. Teachers Some teachers are going to be better than others in providing an appropriate learning experience. The better the learning environment the easier it will be for second - language acquisition. http://coursestar.org/ku/markham/TL817/docs/larsen_freemanArt.html Resources Aptitude Skehan states that aptitude plays a role in both formal and informal environments. He also concludes that there are different profiles of language aptitude; some may be analytical and others may be more memory oriented. Personality
According to research done by Beebe in 1983 shows that moderate risk taking is linked to achievement, while research done by Scovel in 1978 shows that moderate anxiety can be facilitating.

Learning Strategies
Rubin conducted research showing that good language learners are willing to guess when they're not sure, attend to form and meaning, and monitor their own and others speech. His research also shows that students shown how to use the strategies are superior in performance, but it all depends on the difficulty, the task and the level of support. Native Language Proficiency
The more academically sophisticated the student's native language knowledge and abilities are the easier it will be for that student to learn a second language.

Explains why foreign exchange students tend to be successful in American high school classes: They already have high school level proficiency in their native language.

Knowledge of the second language
-Students' prior knowledge of the second language is of course a significant factor in their current learning.

-extent and type of prior knowledge is an essential consideration in planning instruction.

-For example, a student with informal conversational English skills may have little understanding of English grammatical systems and may need specific instruction in English grammar. Dialect and Register
-Learners may need to learn a dialect and a formal register in school that are different from those they encounter in their daily lives.
-This involves acquiring speech patterns that may
differ significantly from those they are familiar with and value as members of a particular social group or speech community.

The Learner
-Students come from diverse backgrounds and have diverse needs and goals. With adolescent language learners, factors such as peer pressure, the presence of role models, and the level of home support can strongly affect the desire and ability
to learn a second language.

Diverse Needs
-A basic educational principle is that new learning should be based on prior
experiences and existing skills.
-Although this principle is known and generally agreed upon by educators, in practice
it is often overshadowed by the administrative convenience of the linear curriculum
and the single textbook.
-Such diversity requires a different conception of curricula and a different approach to materials.
-Differentiation and individualization are not a luxury in this context: They are a

Peer Groups -Teenagers tend to be heavily influenced by their peer groups. In second language
learning, peer pressure often undermines the goals set by parents and teachers.
-Peer pressure often reduces the desire of the student to work toward native
pronunciation, because the sounds of the target language may be regarded as
-For learners of English as a second language, speaking like a native speaker may unconsciously be regarded as a sign of no longer belonging to their native-language
peer group.
-In working with secondary school students, it is important to keep these peer
influences in mind and to foster a positive image for proficiency in a second language.

Classroom Interaction
-Language learning does not occur as a result of the transmission of facts about language or from a succession of rote memorization
-It is the result of opportunities for meaningful interaction with others in the target language.
-Therefore, lecturing and recitationare not the most appropriate modes of language use in the second
language classroom.
-Teachers need to move toward more richly interactive language use, such as that found in instructional conversations (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988) and collaborative classroom
work (Adger, Kalyanpur, Peterson, & Bridger, 1995).

Home Support
-Support from home is very important for successful second
language learning.
-Some educators believe that parents of English language
learners should speak only English in the home.
- However, far more important than speaking English is that
parents value both the native language and English,
communicate with their children in whichever language is
most comfortable, and show support for and interest in their children's progress.

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