Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Basics of Language Acquisition

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "The Basics of Language Acquisition"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Basics of Language Acquisition
Applying them in the classroom and sharing them with others

2 Introductions Tabitha Kidwell, M.A. Foreign and Second Language Education, The Ohio State University How about you? Who is… …teaching at the primary/secondary/tertiary level? …a student / a novice (<5 years) / experienced (5-15 years), mature (15+ years) teacher? …currently teaching in an immersion setting? / will soon in the future?

3 Objectives Participants will be (re-)familiarized with basic language acquisition concepts Participants will gain ideas about how to apply these concepts in the classroom. Participants will gain ideas about how to share these concepts with content teachers. So… what ARE these “basic language acquisitions concepts?”

4 Basic Language Acquisition Concepts
Learning versus Acquisition Krashen’s Input Hypothesis & Monitor Model Comprehensible Output Zone of Proximal Development Interlanguage

5 Learning vs. Acquisition
Learning a language is actively studying the structure and trying to memorize and learn the vocabulary and grammar. Acquiring a language is what happens when we are focusing on “what is being said rather than how” (Krashen, 1984) – this is how children learn language. Which is more likely to be found in an immersion classroom? When children learn langauge, they follow a typical developmental secquence, and are not expected to produce language beyond their ability. When they are first developing sentence-level structures, they leave out articles, prepositions, and auxillary verbs, and are not often corrected because meaning is the most important thing. Language learning mirrors childrens cognitive development – they do not use temporal adverbs like tomorrow and last week until they develop ome understanding of time. They continue to grow their academic vocabulary throughout elementary school and high school – language continues to grow for 20 years or even a lifetime. Contrast this with our students, who may have had 4-6 years of poor to fair language teaching, and are expected to use advanced academic vocabulary, and you see why that is so difficult!

6 Krashen’s Input Hypothesis (Monitor Model)
Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis Monitor Hypothesis Natural Order Hypothesis Input Hypothesis (Comprehensible Input / i + 1) Affective Filter Hypothesis What do you think are the implications of this for classroom practice? acquisition, a subconscious ‘picking up’ of rules similar to L1 processes, leads to spontaneous, unplanned communication. Learning, a conscious focus on knowing and applying the rules, does not Conscious knowledge of rules prompts the action of an ‘editor; or ‘monitor that checks, edit, and polishes language output, but is used only when the language user has sufficient time and knows the rules being applied. Learners acquire rules of the language in a predictible sequence. No more than we require children to use correct articles should we expect learners to. Even if a rule is easy to state, like he/she, or third person s, students may continue to make that mistake for a long time. Acquisition occurs when learners recieve optimal comprehensible input – that means it is interesting, a little beyond their current level so they are not bored, understandable through their background knowledge, use of context, and extralinguistic cues such as gestures and intonation. Llanguage learning must take place in an environment where learners are not on the defensive and the affective filter (anxiety) is low in order for the input to be noticed and gain access to the learners’ thinking. Learners should not speak until they are ready

7 Implications You must provide comprehensible input in the classroom - through gestures, pictures, background knowledge… what else? That input should be i What does that look like? You must create a low-anxiety environment. What is the role of error correction? How about requiring all students to speak? Some grammar instruction can be beneficial for the “Monitor”, but students need time to use this knowledge. intonation, context, cognates, modifying by simplifying vocab and structures, avoiding idioms Interesting, relevant, not gramaticaly sequenced, just above their comfort level, but understandable with your support Error correction is minimal – so hard for teachers, but students will learn more if you allow errors so that they are comfortable and able to absorb the language. If the goal is acquisition and true language learning, less is more! Also, give time to prepare and think through answers. Students can’t even answer questions immediately in their own language – don’t forget wait time! Good to allow students time to process, like through writing first, or think, pair, share activities

8 Key Teaching Idea: Think, Pair, Share
Give a prompt or ask a question. Give students 1-2 minutes to think about their answer, maybe even writing it down. Have students share and discuss their answers with one other student. Ask for volunteers to share with the class. Rather than expecting students to answer right away, give them time to process by following this procedure. This also gives them a chance to all practice language in a lower-anxiety environment (pairwork) before sharing it with the class. A good way to set up a class discussion and get all students involved Variations: students have to share their partners answer – this practices 3rd person verb forms, or students know that they may be called on at random. This increases anxiety, but it is a good tension – they know it is coming, so they prepare and practice for it.

9 Key Teaching Idea 2: Encourage Access to Input Outside of Classroom
Gutenberg Project (all books published before 1923 are free) Podcasts Language Learning Websites Voice of America Special English U.S. Department of State English Learning Websites I once saw Krashen speak, and he told the story of some Korean American women who vastly improved their English only by reading Sweet Valley High novels, which are novels for 12-year-old girls. Funny, but that was their level of I I myself enjoy reading in french and Spanish nly at very simple levels – can’t imagine in Indonesian! As much as we can get students to listen to and read english, the more success they will have. These resources are good sources of input an activity ideas for your students, or even good sources for you wourself to improve your English!

10 Comprehensible Output & Interaction
Speakers will make changes in their language as they interact & negotiate meaning with others. Comprehensible output is also necessary to develop language What do you think are the implications of this for classroom practice? Swain & Long Negotiating meaning is exchanges between learners as they attempt to resolve communication breakdowns and work toward mutual comprehension. The process of negotiating for meaning will provide very natural error correction – if the listener cannot understand, the speaker knows that an error has occurred, and he will find a way to fix it. Learners cannot simply listen to input – they need to be active conversational participants who interact and negotiate the type of input they receive in order to acquire a langauge. In a way, this is a learner’s way of obtaining comprehensible input at the I + 1 level. Comprehensible output forces students to 1. discover there is a gap between what they want to say and what they can say. 2. provides a way for learners to practice new rules and modify their understanding of those rules, and 3. helps learners to actively reflect on their language system understanding.

11 Implications Students need to be involved as well, and have opportunities to practice their language at the appropriate level. Teachers need to create real conditions of communication in the classroom – what might this look like? Real communication takes place when students need to obtain information or give information – prepared presentations are not this! This could be, in a history class, one student having half of the text and the other having half, and they need to construct the story together. Or, in a science class, each student had only part of the data. Or, it can just be students discussing their ideas and coming to an agreement, as in a short debate, or coming to a conclusion after giving a survey to the class.

12 Key Teaching Idea: Information Gap
Students work in pairs Give each student only half of the information. They must talk to their partner to get the other half of the information You can easily make information gaps for any topic, including content information Good practice asking questions.


14 Zone of Proximal Development
Learning occurs when learners interact with material in the “Zone of Proximal Development” – situations where they are capable of performing at a higher level because there is support. Support can come from the teacher, a peer, or materials. Often called Scaffolding. What might scaffolding look like? Vygotsky’s sociocultural view. Similar to the idea of i+1 in that we are seekign to challenge students only to the extent they are able, but i+1 is regard to input, and this is in regard to learning tasks and activities. Learner brings two levels to each lesson: Actual developmental level, what thet can actually do, and potential development level, what they should be able to do in the future. Through interaction with others, they are able to move beyond their actual developmental level. Putting together puzzle example. The potential developmental level of session 1 become the actuall developmental level of session 2.

15 Implications: ZPD Teachers pre-teaching content or vocabulary before students read a text. Showing a video before a lecture. Peer tutoring Reading Guides Guided Notes

16 Key teaching Idea: Rubrics as Scaffolding
If you give students a rubric before they complete an activity, they will know how they will be evaluated, and therefore what direction to take. can help you make high quality rubrics Go forward first to look at an example and explain. Many of you are probably familiar with using rubrics to aid evaluation, because you have the criteria in front of you, and can simply circle feedback sentences rather than writing it all out. Helps you to be more fair and consistant and to match the grade with what your original assignment was. Very useful for assessing performances, projects, or written products. Often we use these when grading only, but If you give the rubric before, The rubric an act as a roadmap, helping students to do higher quality work and use the correct language functions.


18 Interlanguage A learner’s current language reflects the current state of their language knowledge Sometimes an increase in error may actually show progress Interlanguage is somewhere between l1 and l2. still developing & dynamic. It should not be seen as an imperfect version of the target language – it is a developing system with it’s own evolving rules Progress – students who have been saying “I bought” because they memorized it or learned it as a chunk for some time may begin to say “I buyed” after mastering the –ed rule – this student might know more english grammar than the one who always says ‘I bought.” They are showing undertanding of a systematic rule. Acknowledge this, but gently correct.

19 Implications: Interlanguage
Errors are not bad – they are learning opportunities Use student’s interlanguage to get clues about their knowledge

20 Key Teaching Idea: Language and Content Objectives
Content Objectives Examples A. Students will be able to discuss the events that led to Indonesia’s independence B. Students will be able to compare and contrast Mars and the Earth Language Objectives Examples A. Students will be able to use sequencing vocabulary (and then, next, last, etc.) B. Students will be able to construct comparative sentences Remember that Immersion classes are still language classes, and language will not merely take care of itself. Many successful Immersion programs in the US are built upon having two sets of objectives for each lesson. Paying attention to students’ interlanguage will give you insights into possible language objectives

21 Sharing This Knowledge: Instructional Techniques for Content Teachers
Modify Input Use Contextual Cues Check for Understanding Design Appropriate Lessons As we move forward with immersion education, we may be called upon as language learning experts to assist our colleagues in teaching successfully. The challenge to them lies in ‘unpacking’ dificult content in ways appropriate to the learner’s developing language system

Download ppt "The Basics of Language Acquisition"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google