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Skill Acquisition Theory
Transcript of Skill Acquisition Theory
Basic claim – similarities in different skills development
Skill Acquisition Theory
What Skill Acquisition Theory Can Explain:
de Jong and Perfetti (2011)
Can SAT be used to explain implicit learning? Why or why not?
How valid do you think SAT is?
Do you think the process
be done in order? According to this theory, should we push students beyond their current level?
Place the following examples into one of the 3 stages; explain your choices
de Jong, N. and Perfetti, C. (2011). Fluency Training in the ESL
Classroom: An Experimental Study of Fluency Development and Proceduralization.
Language Learning, 61(2),
Dekeyser, R. (2014) Skill Acquisition Theory. In VanPatten, B.,
& Williams, J. (Eds.). Theories in second language acquisition (2nd edition; pp. 94-112). New York: Routledge.
Hulstijn, J. H., Van Gelderen, A., & Schoonen, R. (2009).
Automatization in second language acquisition: What does the coefficient of variation tell us?
Applied psycholinguistics, 30
Serrano, R. (2011). The Time Factor in EFL classroom practice.
Language Learning 61(
develop as result of practice
Cognitive neuroscience & neuroimaging
Ideal distribution of practice:
distributed vs. massed practice
Lack of evidence and studies in SLA
Limits of frequency, instruction and output effects;
SLA is variable in outcome and across linguistic subsystems;
Stages in acquisition
Acquisition in naturalistic/implicit learning settings
What Skill Acquisition Theory Can't Explain:
All or Nothing
“Many aspects of a second language are unlearnable – or at best acquired very slowly – from implicit process alone.” (Ellis, 2005)
Overgeneralization – any kind of construction can be learned, practiced and automatized.
a) High-aptitude adult learners
b) Learning of simple structures
c) Early stages
d) Instructional context
SAT presents a method of acquiring skills
Does not contradict other theories (ie. explicit/implicit learning); not exclusive
Cannot explain all skill acquisition (e.g. in implicit settings)
Cannot explain L1 acquisition (Serrano, 2011)
Cannot change order/speed of process; attempted by many teachers
Specific skills do not transfer well (e.g. reading -> writing)
Stages of development
Acquired through Perceptual Observation, Explicit Instruction, or a combination of both
Transfer from expert to novice
Information into behavior
Not time consuming (few trials)
Advantage over declarative knowledge: chunks
Gradual automatization of knowledge
Skills are not 100% automatic (in process)
Fast processing, Parallel, Attention-free, Effortless
Two kinds of knowledge:
Specific, high automatized knowledge
Abstract declarative knowledge & abstract procedural rules
Overall, useful theory to explain acquisition of variety of skills
Cannot explain everything (not necessary)
After a few tries, a student completes grammar exercises in her textbook.
An expat from India successfully uses colloquial expressions in a conversation with co-workers.
Purpose & Methodology
Question: How to best proceduralize declarative knowledge of grammar and vocabulary?
Participants: 20 ESL students (classroom-based research)
Method: 4-3-2 procedure (a) same story or (b) different stories.
Result: repeating same story was more effective for the proceduralization of knowledge
Conclusion: Periods of "repetitive" practice = more beneficial
A learner hires an instructor to give him English lessons.