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Transcript of Chapter 4: HUMAN LEARNING

Pavlov's classical behaviorism
- Classical conditioning: dog training

Learning process
: the formation of associations between stimuli and reflexive responses.

- Unconditioned response/ conditioned response
Skinner's operant conditioning
Skinner was called “neobehaviorist”
Learning and training
There are many theories about the human learning and second language acquisition.

: You have decided to train an untalented pet dog to catch Frisbees in certain distances, for instance, 30 yards. What would you need to know about your dog and how would you go about the training program?

Transfer, Interference & Overgeneralization
Systematic Forgetting
takes place in a more intentional and purposeful manner: it is the
continuation of subsumption

Four steps:

Entry behavior
: What your dog already knows? its abilities, drives, needs, motivation and limitations.

Goals of the task
: What are your specific objectives?

Methods of training
: Based on what you know about the “entry behavior” and “goals of the task”, how would you go about the training process?

Evaluation procedure
: How would you determine whether or not the dog had indeed learned what you set out to teach?

neutral stimulus
another stimulus
of rote material is influenced by similar rote material learned before or after the learning task
Of meaningful learned material is influenced by relevant and cumutively system in the cognitive structure.
Ausubel's Subsumption Theory
"Learning takes place in the human organism
through a meaningful process of relating new events
or items to already existing cognitive concepts or propositions"

Inductive a Deductive Reasoning
Inductive: It goes from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories.

Deductive: It goes from the more general information to the more specific
Systematic Forgetting

Cognitive pruning
- Meaning is an articulated and differentiated conscious experience that emerges when potentially meaningful signs are related to and incorporated within a given individual’s cognitive structure
“Cognitive pruning is the elimination of unnecessary clutter and a clearing way for more material to enter the cognitive field, in the same way that pruning a tree ultimately allows greater and fuller growth”.
In simple words, cognitive pruning is the process of
eliminating unnecessary clutter
from the cognitive field.
Rote vs. Meaningful Learning
- Rote learning involves the mental storage of items having little or no association with existing cognitive structure. (e.g. learn a phone number)

- Meaningful learning may be described as a process of relating and anchoring new material to relevant established entities in cognitive structure
* The distinction between rote and meaningful learning becomes clear when we consider the relative efficiency of the two kinds of learning in terms of retention, or long-term memory.
A child learning the concept of “so hot it will burn".

Peters pointed out that we are inclined, too often,
to assume that a child’s linguistic development
proceeds from the parts of the whole, that is,
children first learn sounds, then words,
then sentences, and so forth.
First exposur
Peters (1981)
may be
(As the child maintains meaningful association)

After many exposures
The child forms
the concept of “hotness”
Types of Learning
The Audiolingual Method
The pruning stage is systematic!
Is a method for foreign language teaching
which emphasized the teaching of listening and
speaking before reading and writing. This method
is combination between behavioral psychology
and linguistic.
Characteristics of ALM
- Gagné (1965) identified eight types of learning:
1. Signal learning
2. Stimulus-response learning
3. Chaining
4. Verbal association
5. Multiple discrimination
6. Concept learning
7. Principle learning
8. Problem solving
1. New material is presented in dialog form
2. There is dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases, and over learning
3. Structures are sequenced by means of contrastive analysis and taught one at a time
4. Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills
5. There is a little or no grammatical explanation: grammar is taught by inductive analogy rather than deductive explanation
6. Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context
7. There is much use of tapes, language labs, and visual support
8. Great importance is attached to pronunciation
9. Very little use of the mother tongue by teachers is permitted
10. Successful responses are immediately reinforced
11. There is a great effort to get students to produce error-free utterances
12. There is a tendency to manipulate language and disregard content
Intelligence and Language Learning
What is intelligence? What kinds of intelligence are related to foreign language learning?
Systematic Forgetting
- Howard Gardner advanced a controversial theory of intelligence that blew apart our
traditional thought about IQ.

Language attrition
The following eight multiple intelligences are typically listed in Gardner’s work:
1. Linguistic
2. Logical-mathematical
3. Musical
4. Spatial
5. Bodily-kinesthetic
6. Naturalist
7. Interpersonal
8. Intrapersonal intelligence
Researches has focused on a variety of possible causes for the loss of second language skills

• Some aspects are more vulnerable e.g Lexical items

In a similar style, Robert Sternberg (1988, 1985) has also taken up the word of traditional intelligence measurement. He proposed three types of “smartness”
- Componential ability
- Experiential ability
- Contextual ability
Community Language Learning
The Community Language Learning, expressly constructed to put Roger’s theory of learning into action, in which students and teacher join together to facilitate learning in a context of valuing and prizing each individual in the group
In the Audiolingual Method, the students first hear a language. Later, they speak the language and after that, they read and write in it. Mother tongue is
discouraged in the classroom when this method
is used. The Audiolingual Method does not learn
lots of vocabulary. In this method, grammar is most important for the student. In other words, the student must repeat grammar pattern after the teacher.
The teacher’s presence is not perceived as a threat, nor is it the teacher’s
purpose to impose limits and boundaries; rather, as a “counselor”, the teacher’s
role is to center his or her attention on the clients (the students) and their needs.


Neurolinguistic blocking
could contribute to forgetting

Long-term forgetting can apply to certain linguistic features lexical, phonological, syntactic and so on)

Some aspects of attrition can be explained as a reversal of the acquisition process.
* Other common reasons for language attrition centre on the strength and conditions of the initial learning:
 Motivational factors

 Cultural identity
• Attrition is not limited to SLA
(Isurrin, 2000; Porte, 1999)

Native Language
Learners rely on a SL
which replaces their FL

A minority group learning the language of a majority group.
Subsumption theory
is a strong basis for the rejection of conditioning model in language teacher
*Rote learning is effective is short-term
but inefficient for any long-term retention
The carryover of previous performance or knowledge to subsequent learning.
The prior knowledge benefits the learning task.
Previous performance disrupts the performance of a second task
A previous item is incorrectly transferred or incorrectly associated with an item to be learned.
* The native language of a second language learner is often positively transferred, in which the learner benefits from the facilitating effects of the first language.
Items are subsumed (generalized) under high-order categories for meaningful retention.
In SLA  Overgeneralization as process that occurs as the second language learner acts within the target language.
E.g “John doesn’t can study” or “He told me when should I get off the train.”
Best understood as several manifestations on one principle of learning -the interaction of previously learned material with a present learning event.
Community Language Learning
- To create a supportive group

- To allow student to initiate language

- To point learners toward autonomous learning

- The teacher can become nondirective.
Learning Theories in Action: Two Language Teaching Methods in Contrasts
Roger's humanistic psychology
- the “whole person” as a physical and cognitive, but primarily emotional, being.
“Fully functioning persons”
live at peace with all of their feelings and reactions; they are able to reach their full potential.
- the goal of education is the facilitation of change and learning.
- Teachers as
can be sequenced in cognitive terms by means of the eight types of learning.
The second language learning process
1. Signal learning
2. Stimulus-response learning
3. Chaining
4. Verbal and non-verbal chains
5. Multiple discriminations
6. Concept learning
7. Principle learning
8. Problem solving
Language Aptitude
Do certain people have a “trick” for learning foreign language?
- Modern Language Aptitude Test (John Carroll)
"Aptitude is a complex of abilities that include, among others, processing speed, short and long term memory, rote memory, planning time, pragmatic abilities, interactional intelligence, emotional intelligence, and self-efficacy." (Peter Robinson)
Successful language learners:
- Risk-taking behavior
- Memory efficiency
- Intelligent guessing
- Ambiguity tolerance
Génesis Ordóñez - María Jesús Palominos - Paula Retamal - Valentina Tori
- John B. Watson (1913): Behaviorism - Conditioning
Skinner’s operant conditioning attempted to account for most of human learning and behavior.
Behavior which is reinforced tends to be repeated; behavior which is not reinforced tends to die out-or be extinguished

There are three types of responses
: Neutral openrants,
Reinforcers and Punishers.
Impact of Skinnerian psychology
-Skinner view of both language and language teaching dominated foreign language methodology for decades.
Community Language Learning
Activity time!
Watch the video and identify as much characteristics as possible
Full transcript