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Teaching by principles

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Sussan Roo

on 13 February 2014

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Transcript of Teaching by principles

Teaching by principles
12 principles related to SLA
Principle 1. Automaticity
Automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low level details that are required.
Automaticity is moving away from processing the language unit by unit, focusing closely on each one, towards a high-speed, automatic processing in which language forms are only in the periphery of attention.
(+) Attention -------------> Attention (-)
How can you achieve automaticity?

Principle 2. Meaningful learning
Meaningful learning will lead toward better long-term retention than rote learning.

Some classroom implications of the Principle:
Capitalize on the power of meaningful learning by appealing to students’ interests, academic goals, and career goals,
Whenever a new topic or concept is introduced, attempt to anchor it in students’ existing knowledge and background so that it becomes associated with something they already know,

Principle 3. Anticipation of reward
Human beings are universally driven to act, or “behave,” by the anticipation of some sort of reward—tangible or intangible, short term or long term– that will ensue as a result of the behavior.

Principle 4. Intrinsic motivation
The most powerful rewards are those that are intrinsically motivated within the learners. Because the behavior stems from needs, wants, or desires within oneself, the behavior itself is self-rewarding.
Principle 5. Strategic investment
Principle 6. Autonomy
Recently, language curricula has recognized the importance of helping learners to use the language "outside" the classroom and take responsibility for their own learning.
Principle 7. Language Ego
Who am I in English?
3 Kind of principles...
No matter which approach you use, your teaching must have some principles in order to be effective.
These principles are deeply rooted in SLA theory.
Practice must always be connected to theory.
There are 3 kind of principles:

Cognitive principles
Affective principles
Linguistic principles
There are no "pure principles"
Automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low level details that are required; this is usually the
result of learning, repetition, and practice
.

Some other examples of automaticity are:
Riding a bike
Driving a car
Walking/running

For language learning, Segalowitz (2003) characterized automaticity as a more efficient and more stable performance. As such, automaticity is often linked with fluency in language learning.
All automaticity proposals for enhancing SLA are based, on the idea that
extended practice
under particular conditions and circumstances will increase fluency by developing automaticity.

So....
fluency is achieved through automaticity

The job of the language teacher is to incorporate activities that promote automaticity in way that:
1) provides opportunity for transfer to new situations
2) real-life communication and
3) materials that relate to students’ interests.

Remember focus on form (accuracy) and focus on function (fluency) are equally important in language acquisition.
Avoid the pitfalls of rote learning:

Too much grammar explanation
Too many abstract principles and theories,
Too much drilling and/or memorization,
Activities whose purposes are not clear,
Activities that do not contribute to accomplishing the goals of the lesson, unit, or course,
Techniques that are so mechanical or tricky that Ss focus on the mechanics instead on the language or meaning.

Short-term reward - positive feedback
Medium-term reward - progress
Long-term reward - advantages of acquiring English
The 12 principles:
Cognitive principles:
1. Automaticity
2. Meaningful learning
3. The anticipation of reward
4. Intrinsic motivation
5. Strategic investment
Affective principles:
6. Autonomy
7. Self-confidence
8. Willingness to participate
9. Language-culture
Linguistic principles:
10
. The native language effect
11. Interlanguage
12. Communicative competence




Successful mastery of the second language will be due to a large extent to a learner’s own personal “investment” of time, effort, and attention to the second language in the form of strategies for comprehending and producing the language.
So, strategic investment is...
In recent years, based on many studies of successful and unsuccessful students, language teachers are focusing more intently on the role of the learner in the process.
The "strategies" the learner employs to internalize and to perform in the language are as important as the teacher's strategies.
2 pedagogical implications of this principle:
1) The importance of recognizing and dealing with the wide variety of styles and strategies that learners successfully bring to the learning process

2) The need for attention to each separate individual in the classroom
Successful mastery of a L2 will depend to a great extent on learner's autonomous ability both to take initiative in the classroom and to continue their journey to success beyond the classroom and the teacher.
Autonomy is then...
Pedagogical implications:
Consider the intrinsic motives of your students in order to design tasks to feed those motives.
Classroom implications:
Learners at the beginner levels are dependent on the teacher. Teachers can help develop a sense of autonomy through guided practice.
As learners gain confidence and begin to experiment with language, implement activities that allow creativity.
Interactive activities provide opportunities to "do" language on their own.
Give feedback (enough to be helpful, not too much that you stifle their creativity).
Suggest opportunities for students to use their language outside of class.
Language ego is “the identity a person develops in reference to the language he or she speaks”.
Oneself-identity is bound up with one’s language, for it is in the communicative process…that such identities are confirmed, shaped, and reshaped.
Let’s say, for example, that you think of yourself as a good student, smart, intelligent, and articulate. You begin to study a new language and suddenly…you’re just a baby. You’re largely illiterate, you can’t pronounce things to save your life, and you’re lucky if you can put two words together correctly. You’re erudite in Spanish, but you’re a moron in Japanese.

It can be more subtle: things you might not ever think about –grammatical gender, or some verb tense you haven’t used before – might force you to organize your world in a way that is unfamiliar, and that can be quite unsettling.
How does language Ego manifests?
Teachers can provide affective support:
1. Be patient and empathic. Remember that your students are capable adults struggling with the acquisition of the most complex set of rules any classroom has attempted to teach.
2. Your choice of techniques and activities needs to be challenging but not overwhelming at an affective level.
3. Considering learners' language ego states will probably help you to determine:
Who to call on
When to correct a student's speech error
How much to explain something
How structured and planned an activity should be
Who to place in which small groups or pairs
Principle 8. Willingness to communicate
Defined as "the intention to initiate communication, given a choice"
Unwillingness to communicate is commonly labeled as "shyness"
Emphasize classroom activity that encourages learners to "come out of their shells"

Willingness to communicate combines concepts of:
Self-confidence
Anxiety (the extent to which learners worry about themselves)
Self-efficacy (a person's belief in his or her ability to accomplish a task)
Risk-taking (linked to self-confidence and anxieties, is the ability to take calculated risks)
So, WTC can be summarized as follows...
Successful language learners generally believe in themselves and in their capacity to accomplish communicative tasks and are therefore willing risk takers in their attempts to produce and to interpret language that is bit beyond their absolute certainty. Their WTC results in the generation of both output and input.
How can your classroom reflect the principle of WTC?
1. Give verbal and no verbal assurances to students
2. Sequence techniques from easier to to more difficult
3. Create an atmosphere in the classroom that encourages students to try out language, to venture a response.
4. Provide reasonable challenges in your techniques
5. Help your students to understand what calculated risk-taking is.
6. Respond to students' attempts to communicate with positive affirmation. Praise them for trying, while warmly and firmly attend to their language.
Principle 10. The native language effect
The native language of every learner is a significant factor in the acquisition of a new language.
Sometimes L2 can help, most times it interferes with the process.
Positive transfer:
When an L1 structure or rule is used in an L2 utterance and that use is appropriate or “correct” in the L2. (“exterior”)

Negative transfer (or interference)
: when an L1 structure or rule is used in an L2 utterance and that use is inappropriate and considered an “error”. (“attend” and “assist”)

Types of L1 transfers in language acquisition:
Some classroom suggestions:
1. Regard learners' errors as important windows to their underlying system and give appropriate feedback (explaining the L1 cause of the error)

2. Ideally, every successful learner will hold on the facilitating effects of their L1. Help your students understand that not everything in their L1 will cause error.

3. Thinking directly in the target language usually helps to minimize interference errors. Avoid translation so students don't get the L1 "crutch" syndrome.
Principle 11. Interlanguage
Just as children develop their L1 in gradual, systematic stages, adults too, manifest a systematic progression of acquisition of sounds, words, structures and discourse features.
The creative process, driven by inner forces and interaction, and influenced by L1 and input from the target language.

Interlanguage is:
Systematic (governed by rules and by students’ L1)
Dynamic (changes frequently)
Variable (based on context and situation)
Reduced system (form)- the interlanguage is less complex grammatically in form
Reduced system (function)- used for a smaller range of communicative needs.
Interlanguage can be defined as
If there are many stages of interlangauge, how do you know what kind of feedback to offer students? Are interlanguage errors simply to be tolerated as natural indicators of systematic internalization of a language?
1. Try to distinguish between inter-language or intra-language errors

2. Be tolerant for certain interlanguage forms that may arise out of a student's logical developmental process.

3. Your classroom feedback to students should give them the message that mistakes are not "bad" but that most mistakes are good indicators that innate language acquisition abilities are alive and well.

4. Try to get students to self-correct selected errors; the ability to self-correct may indicate readiness to use that form correctly.
5. Know when and how to correct.

Principle 12. Communicative competence
A speaker's internalized knowledge both of the grammatical rules of a language and of the rules for appropriate use in social contexts.
Canale and Swain (1983) defined communicative competence in terms of 4 components:

Grammatical competence: words and rules
Sociolinguistic competence: appropriateness
Strategic competence: appropriate use of communication strategies
Discourse competence: cohesion and coherence

Given that communicative competence is the goal of a language classroom, instruction needs to point toward all its components: grammatical, sociolinguistic, strategic and discursive.

Communicative goals are best achieved by giving due attention:
to language use and not just usage,
to fluency and not just accuracy,
to authentic language and contexts, and
to students’ eventual need to apply classroom learning to previously unrehearsed contexts in the real world.
1. Remember that grammatical explanations or drills or exercises are only part of a lesson or curriculum: give grammar some attention, but don’t neglect the other important components.
2. Some sociolinguistic aspects of language are very subtle and therefore very difficult. Make sure your lessons aim to teach such subtlety;
3. Make sure that your students have opportunities to gain some fluency in English without having to be constantly wary of little mistakes.
4. Use language that students will actually encounter in the real world.
The classroom teaching “rules” that may emerge in communicative competence class:
Principle 9. The
Language-Culture connection
Whenever you teach a language, you also teach a complex system of cultural customs, values, and ways of thinking.


1. Discuss cross-cultural differences with your students, emphasizing that no culture is “better” than another, but that cross-cultural understanding is an important facet of learning a language;

2. Include among your techniques certain activities and materials that illustrate the connection between language and culture;

3. Teach your students the culture connotations, especially the sociolinguistic aspects, of language;


Class application of this principle includes the following:
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