Sunday, December 11, 2011

Language Learning vs Language Acquisition

Second language acquisition is different from foreign language learning for different aspects.
Acquiring a language is a process that takes place naturally. The person is not aware of structures and rules. The person repeats and imitates what he/she sees and listens to.
That process also takes place in an immersion context. The learner is currently using the language and is more exposed to it, not only in a school, but in everyday life.
In the process of learning a foreign language the process is more conscious. The learner is aware of the rules. The exposure to the language is less, sometimes it only consists on the time of the lesson.

In addition, the language learnt is more standardized, whereas a student acquiring a second language is able to learn vocabulary and expressions that are currently used.

I think that SLA has advantage on FLL for phonology, semantics and pragmatics. Students are more exposed to native speakers; therefore, they are more able to imitate the pronunciation. As mentioned above, they can learn the meaning of words by using them in a real context so missuses are less frequent and they can learn to interpret the what people really mean when speaking.

In contrast, foreign language instruction, despite communicative language teaching and constructivism, still focuses on grammar teaching; therefore students are more aware of rules and sentence formation. 

Gass, S., & Selinker, L. (2001). Second language acquisition. LEA. Pp. 1-13. 


Second Language Acquisition in Early Childhood

Some authors consider language acquisition a different from second language learning, based on the premise that the former is a natural process, similar to the first language acquisition process.
The presentation above describes the stages of the process. Second Language Acquisition
View more presentations from Marisol Smith

Student Engagement & Motivation Strategies & Tips

This video will help teachers with classroom management to provide an effective learning environment by creating a culture of engagement and motivation for their students. Administrators can also use this video to provide staff development to their teachers and staff helping them with classroom management and engagement. This video emphasizes engagement, motivation, building relationships, and Checking for Understanding (CFU). This is part two which is more about engagement and motivation to provide opportunity for student and teacher success. Learning cannot happen without a safe, secure, and comfortable learning environment for students that provides engagement and makes students feel valued. All stakeholders; administrators, teachers, and students will benefit from the tips and strategies illustrated in this video. 

Practical Strategies to Overcome Fossilization

Practical Strategies to Overcome Fossilization

There is no real rule determining when certain users may begin to fossilize. It varies widely by the individual and by the environment in which the language is learned. Fossilization often means that certain aspects of the language were learned incompletely or incorrectly, such as grammatical features like conjugating verbs in the wrong fashion or using the wrong vocabulary, in such a manner that they cannot be unlearned and replaced with correct usage. Fossilization may also consist of a sort of subconscious clinging to aspects of the learner's mother tongue, for instance, with syntax and phonology.
What are fossilized errors?

•    A mistake that students know is wrong but keep making.
•    An error from force of habit which students no longer know they are making.
•    Something that students learnt wrong and now need to change.
•    An error that students can correct when focused but still make on their own.
•    A mistake that recurs despite constant correction.
•    An error based in L1 interference that is made by many speakers.
•    Mistakes that teachers may not “hear” after a number of years teaching in a particular      context (and therefore do not correct).
•    A mistake that has been repeated so that it sounds right to the learner.

We tried to come up with ideas about why errors become fossilized. 

What actually causes fossilization?

•    Fossilization is due to L1 interference and is a natural feature of interlanguage      development.
•    Lack of correction.
•    The connection between interlanguage and errors.
•    Method of instruction.
•    Errors that come from previous stages of learning (especially with older students).
•    Linear modes of instruction increase the chance of fossilization.
•    When students realize they can make a mistake and be understood, it can become      fossilized.
•    Lack of learner autonomy – reliance on correction by teacher.

Practical Ideas to Overcome Fossilization

•    Recording students – you could play the recording, ask for general impression, give them   the typescript, have them correct their own or peer’s errors.
•    Have students self correct and peer correct, which is more effective than teacher      correction.
•    Playing games with individual mistakes or common errors.
•    Focus on one error at a time, stopping students and having them correct it before moving   on.
•    Give students a funny look when they make a fossilized error – they will realize something is wrong and correct them (not to be tried with new or very shy students!)
•    Discover and clarify why and how errors occur.
•    Personalized “fossil” diaries where students record their particular errors.
•    Focus on fossilized errors at the end of an activity.
•    Keep a “fossil” dictionary.
•    Dictations using common errors.
•    Write answers/problems on the board to discuss as a class.
•    Error diaries – students observe themselves out of class and report back on their usage.
•    Have a wiki – each student has their own page for errors.
•    Don’t correct individual students on the spot, but save errors for class correction at the      end.
•    Students must be invested in correcting the error.
•    Motivate students to experiment with language.
•    Ask some students to be monitors and write down what they hear during speaking      activities.
•    Recording students can make students more careful – karaoke effect.
•    Explain the consequences of mistakes, especially embarrassing ones.
•    Students as teachers – note down errors for constructive feedback in groups.
•    Have students mimic different accents (this cuts down on inhibitions that cause mistakes).
•    Mixing correct and incorrect sentences on the board and asking students to spot those      with errors.

Second Language Acquisition

Krashen´s Second Language Acquisition Theory


"Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill." Stephen Krashen

According to Schütz (2007) "The Input hypothesis is Krashen's attempt to explain how the learner acquires a second language... The Input hypothesis is only concerned with 'acquisition', not 'learning'. According to this hypothesis, the learner improves and progresses along the 'natural order' when he/she receives second language 'input' that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguistic competence. For example, if a learner is at a stage 'i', then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input' that belongs to level 'i + 1'. Since not all of the learners can be at the same level of linguistic competence at the same time, Krashen suggests that natural communicative input is the key to designing a syllabus, ensuring in this way that each learner will receive some 'i + 1' input that is appropriate for his/her current stage of linguistic competence."


Language Learning Strategies

In the following presentation, learning strategy definitions, taxonomies and approaches for instruction are presented.


Cognitive Development - Stage 4 - Formal Operational

During the Formal Operational stage children develop their capacity of deductive logic. This means that problem solving is not limited to concrete thinking (present objects). This video shows how children at this stage are able to engage in abstract thinking.


Piaget, J., Inhelder, B. (1969). The Psychology of the Child. Morata. París.