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Personality Factors and Second Language Acquisition.

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Presentation on theme: "Personality Factors and Second Language Acquisition."— Presentation transcript:

1 Personality Factors and Second Language Acquisition

2 Personality Characterisitics Self-esteem Inhibition Anxiety Risk-taking Motivation

3 Risk-Taking Learners must be willing to ‘gamble’ a bit, to guess, and try out hunches, and take the risk of being wrong. Risk-taking is an important characteristic of successful learning of second language. What prevents some learners from taking risks?

4 A bad grade in the course Failing an exam Reproach from the teacher A smirk from classmates Embarrassment imposed by oneself Looking ridiculous A blank look from a listener Fear of being alienated

5 Self-esteem is closely related to willingness to take risks. How? A person with high global self-esteem is not usually deterred by the possibility of being laughed at or ridiculed if he makes foolish mistakes.

6 Consequences of Low Risk-Taking What do you think will be the consequences of unwillingness to take risks? A silent student Fossilization of errors

7 What Can a Teacher Do? Teachers should create a comforting climate where students feel more confident - to experiment with the second language, - to allow themselves to take risks without feeling embarrassed. What are some suggestions?  Role playing  Games  Cooperative activities (i.e. group tasks)

8 Link to Age of Learner We know intuitively that children tend to learn a second language more easily than adults. One explanation lies in the critical age hypothesis Another explanation may lie in their willingness to take risks more than adults.  Because they are young, they are less conscious of their ego.  They can be engaged more easily into role-playing, games, and other fun tasks.

9 Motivation Many studies and experiments in human learning have shown that motivation is a key to learning in general. Motivation can be instrumental (school or career oriented) or integrative (socially or culturally oriented). It can also be intrinsic or extrinsic.

10 Instrumental MotivationIntegrative Motivation Acquiring a language as a means for attaining instrumental goals: furthering a career (getting a promotion) reading technical material getting accepted in a program translating Acquiring a language because the person wants to integrate himself into the culture of the second language group and become involved in social interchange with that group.

11 Claim: Integratively-motivated learners are more successful language learners:  A significant study conducted by Gardner and Lambert (1972) (on language learners in Canada, the US, and the Philippines) reported that learners who are integratively-motivated scored higher on proficiency tests in a foreign language. Counterclaim: Instrumentally-motivated learners are more successful  Lukmani (1972) reported that Indian students learning English, with instrumental orientation, scored higher on English proficiency tests.

12 Intrinsic MotivationExtrinsic Motivation There is no apparent reward except the activity itself. Inner feeling of competence and self-realization are the rewards. A reward is anticipated from outside and beyond the self:  Money prizes  Grades  Positive feedback  Avoiding punishment

13 Which one is more powerful? Most of the research points to the direction of intrinsic motivation, especially for long-term retention. Piaget and others suggest that human beings normally seek out a reasonable challenge (e.g. Krashen’s “i + 1”) See (Brown, p.173)

14 Implications for Teaching Can we do without extrinsic motivation? How can we, as teachers, build intrinsic motivation? o Developing a relationship with learners o Building learners’ self-confidence and autonomy o Personalizing the learning processes o Increasing learners’ goal-orientation

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