Presentation on theme: "INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES. Q. What is the best age for learning a new language? Why? Children are popularly believed to be better at learning languages."— Presentation transcript:
Q. What is the best age for learning a new language? Why? Children are popularly believed to be better at learning languages better than adults, see critical period hypothesis; claims humans are only capable of learning a language between the age of two and the early teens. Genetic?LAD?/ A variety of explanations re: plasticity of younger brain other changes in brain structure/function, social factors
How should a language teacher take the learners age into account? 1. One question is WHEN L2 teaching should start? 2. The other question is whether methods of teaching should vary according to the age of the learners? How long will the learners be studying?
Being older leads to better learning in the short term; Some research still favours child superiority in pronunciation…. Children attain a higher level of proficiency in the long term than those who start L2 learning when older, perhaps because adults start off quickly, but then slow down. Teachers have to decide when to start, variation of teaching methods according to age.
Some L2 learners do better than others because they have better motivation. Motivation usually understood as long term attitudes towards L2 learning, in particular Integrative and Instrumental motivation. (G & L 1972). Why learn English? Because it is an international language? Doesn’t answer the question..integrative perhaps?
For my future Career. because I like the language. To travel in different countries. To have a better understanding of the way of life in the country or countries where it is spoken. Because I would like to live in the country where it is spoken. Because I am good at it. Because it is an international language. To become abetter educated person. To meet a greater variety of people in my life. To get to know/make friends among the people who speak it.
Learners will find it difficult to learn in the language classroom if they have neither instrumental or integrative motivation [in one form or another…],. This may often be the case for children ad adolescents learning language at school…it is simply another subject on the school curriculum, their parents want them to learn,>>
Both integrative and instrumental motivations may lead to success, but lack of either causes problems. Motivation in this sense has great inertia. [force that keeps something in same state of movement]. Short term motivation towards the day-to-day activities in the classroom and general motivation for classroom learning are also important.
Important attitudes in L2 learners include: Maintaining cultural identity. Maintaining relationships with other groups. Teaching should in particular reflect positive images and attitudes towards the L2. Why are some people good at learning languages? Do the same people learn a language well in the classroom as learn well in a natural setting?, or do these demand different qualities.
Phonemic Coding Ability. Learners can process phonemic input readily and thus get to more complex areas of processing more easily—this supposes that phonemes are relevant to processes>>ie in Bottom up processing model, not top-down. Language Analytic Ability. This allows the learner to work out the rules of the language and build up the core processes for handling language. Memory. This permits the learner to store and retrieve aspects of language rapidly.
Mercer, S. 2012. Dispelling the Myth of the Natural Born Linguist. ELT Journal. 2012 66/1. Pp 22-29. Dornyei, Z. 2005. The Psychology of the Language Learner: Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition. New Jersey. Robinson, P. (Ed.) 2002. Individual Differences and Instructed Language Learning.Amsterdam. Skehan, P. 1989. Individual Differences in second Language Learning. London. Gardner, R. & Lambert, W. 1972. Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Newbury House. Learning and Individual Differences. Online Journal (through library website) Griffiths, C. 2008. Lessons From Good Language Learners. CUP Ellis, R. 2005. Individual Differences in Second Language Learning. In Davies et al. The Handbook of Applied Linguistics. Oxford. Wen, Z. 2011. Foreign Language Aptitude. ELT Journal. Online. Dornyei, Z. 2010. Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self. Bristol.