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Unit 3 Individual Differences in Second Language Learning

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on 26 July 2015

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Transcript of Unit 3 Individual Differences in Second Language Learning

Intelligence and Language Learning Aptitude
Attitudes and Motivation
Identity and Ethnic Group Affiliation
Learner Beliefs
Young second language learners are not often aware of their learning style, but adult second language learners do; they also have strong beliefs and opinions on how instruction must be carried out. this is based on their previous learning experiences and which is the best way for them to learn.
Intelligence has been defined as the performance on certain kind of tests, which are associated with success in school.
Learning Aptitude are skills that students have to meet academic goals. In order for these skills to be measured there are some tests such as the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) or the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB). For Ellis, working memory (WM) is the most important variable to predict success in learners in a language learning situation; but learners' strengths and weaknesses are components that may account for their academic success.
Individual Differences and Classroom Instruction
Social factors also affect students motivation, attitude and language learning success, for example the social dynamic or power relationship between languages.

Languages are related to social factors and its effect on second language learning cannot be overlooked when you seek to understand the variables that affect success in language learning.
Learners' different ways to learn and their beliefs on how language should be taught can influence the teacher's strategies in the classroom. But teachers can help expand the variety of learning strategies and develop greater flexibility to approach language learning.
Learning Styles and Personality
A learning style is a natural and habitual way an individual prefers to process information. There are three ways to process information, visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. People are also classified as field dependent or field independent according to the tendency of separating details from the general background to see them in an holistic way.
Personality also affects second language learning, everything depends if the individual is extrovertial, inhibitial, self-esteem, if there is anxiety, or if there is willingness to communicate. All these variables seem to be related to conversational skills rather than academic language performance.
Research on Learners Characteristics
Learners individual differences have been a topic of investigation for many researchers. There are many ways to test these differences but it depends on the purpose of the study. A correlational study is the most popular for this type of research, because of the cause and effect elation of the variables. Researchers have to be careful not to misunderstand the outcomes and to establish them in a ethical and professional way
Age and Second Language Learning
Unit 3 Individual Differences in Second Language Learning
Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) is a time where the brain is predisposed for success in language learning.

Developmental changes in the brain affect language acquisition, and language learning occurs after the critical period during early childhood.

There are some thoughts about the success of language instruction at a very young age. However second language instruction studies have demonstrated that older learners succeed more efficiently than younger learners.

by Martha Vela
Motivation in second language learning has been defined upon two factors, language communicative needs and second language community. Lambert (1972) coined the terms instrumental motivation which is for practical goals and integrative motivation for professional goals and cultural enrichment.

Dörnyei (2001), developed a three phase motivational process, the first one is choice motivation for setting goals, the second one is executive motivation for carrying out what is needed to keep motivated, the third one is motivation retrospection for appraisal and reaction to performance.

Teachers and Educators play a very important goal in students' motivation. they can make a positive contribution by getting the best of their students and helping them achieve their academic goals.
The Critical Period: More than
Just Pronunciation?
In some language acquisition studies outcomes have shown that older learners have a foreign accent in the second language.

Some researchers have studies that if language is acquired before fifteen years old, it should achieve a native mastery of the language.

The age of acquisition of a second language sets limits to the learners. A natural environment for learning a second language is suitable and age is not the only factor that affects language acquisition in younger or older learners.
Intuituions of Grammaticality
Rate of Learning
Some researchers suggest that older learners may have an advantage in the rate of learning, they appear to learn faster in the early stages of second language development.
Age and Second
Language Instruction
Many people that have not heard of the CPH think that learning a second language is better at a young age, however this is not a guarantee of success.
Researchers have reported that older children and adolescents achieve better second language goals.

Depending on the aim for second language learning, if the goal is to have native like proficiency it is desirable for the learner to be surrounded by language as early as possible; when the goal is basic communicative ability it is better to begin with second language instruction later.
Johnson and Newport (1989) found out that age was an important factor to develop grammar. Their outcomes showed that young learners could achieve better results in their test than older learners.

DeKeyser (2000), found a relationship between age of immigration and success on the test. His outcomes showed that adult English learners who took the language aptitude test achieved success on the test scores, but there was no correlation for the ones who learned English in the childhood.
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