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Chapter 2 Second Language Teaching & Learning

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1 Chapter 2 Second Language Teaching & Learning
Wright, W. E. (2010). Foundations for Teaching English Language Learners: Research, Theory, Policy, and Practice. Philadelphia: Caslon Publishing.

2 Guiding Questions What do teachers need to know about language, and why do they need to know it? What does it mean to “know a language”? How do people acquire language? What do different theories of second language acquisition tell us? How would you describe your approach to second language teaching?

3 ELL Student Language Challenges
1. Vihn has difficulty pronouncing th words. Does he have a speech impediment? 2. Chanyoung always leaves off the final s when she reads. I’ve told her a million times that plural words end with an s. Why is she refusing to read the words correctly?

4 ELL Student Language Challenges
3. Rosa always switches words around in the sentence, saying and writing things like “car red” instead of “red car.” Is she dyslexic? 4. Suling always mixes up the gender-specific pronouns, calling girls he or him and boys she or her. I keep correcting her, but she just doesn’t get it. And if she calls me Mrs. Wright one more time I’m going to scream! Can’t she tell the difference between boys and girls? Should I refer her to special education?

5 ELL Student Language Challenges
5. Reading time was over and students were supposed to put their books away and start working on their math worksheets. But Thanawan just kept right on reading. I said to her, “Why are you still reading instead of doing your math?” She smiled and said, “Oh, because I not finish yet,” and she just kept on reading. Why did she disobey me so rudely? 6. Our school puts most of the ELLs in a bilingual program. Everyone knows young children learn new languages quickly. So shouldn’t the students be placed in an English-only classroom before it’s too late for them to learn English?

6 ELL Student Language Challenges
7. My principal just bought us a software program that drills the ELL students in English. It’s really neat. If they get 30 drills in a row right they get rewarded with a little animation where a bunny pops out of the tree and does a little dance. The box the software came in says the students will be speaking English in 3 or 4 weeks. Does this mean our ELLs will be ready for the poetry analysis unit we’re starting next month? 8. Roberto keeps saying, “I have 6 years old” when people ask him how old he is. We’ve done grammar worksheets and drills on am. And I keep correcting him. Why isn’t he learning it? Is he a slow learner?

7 ELL Student Language Challenges
9. During student oral presentations on sea mammals, William, one of my African American students, begins: “I gonna aks you a question. Why whales have blow holes? Whales gotta have blowholes because dey be breathin’ oxygen just like all da udder mammals. …” I just don’t understand why William speaks such poor English. 10. RoDay quickly finished her math and spelling worksheets. And she seemed to do just fine reading along with the other students as we did a choral reading of a story from our reading basal. But unlike the other students, she has hardly done any work writing an alternative ending to the story. Why is she refusing to do what should be a fun and creative assignment?

8 What is Language? David Crystal’s (2001) Definition of Language
“The systematic, conventional use of sounds, signs, or written symbols in a human society for communication and self-expression” Ability to use language separate humans from other animals

9 Why Teachers Need to Know About Language
Filmore & Snow (2000) identify 5 functions teachers perform that require knowledge of language Teacher as communicator Teacher as educator Teacher as evaluator Teacher as an educated human being Teacher as an agent of socialization All classrooms are language learning environments Language is at the heart of teaching and learning Teachers need to “think linguistically”

10 What Teachers Need to Know About Language
Subsystems of Language Phonology Morphology Syntax Semantics Pragmatics Vocabulary (Lexicon) Spelling Language Variation

11 Phonology The study of the sound systems of a language Phoneme
Smallest units of sound in a language Change in phoneme causes a change in meaning Ex: bit/bet Addresses the syllable structure and sequence of sounds in a word Knowledge of phonology helps teachers Understand issues of pronunciation, accents, and regional varieties Differences in the phonology of a student’s first language (L1) and English that may lead to difficulties

12 Morphology The study of the structure of words Morpheme
The smallest units that carry meaning or have a grammatical function Ex: Books  books (free morpheme) +-s (bound morpheme) Inflectional changes ex: fast/faster/fastest Derivational changes (words derived from other words) Ex: teach/teacher Creation of new vocabulary words Ex: compounding – sun + roof = sunroof Knowledge of morphology helps teachers Explain prefixes, suffixes, infixes, verb tense changes, plurals, compound words, possessives, comparatives, superlatives, contractions Teach word study lessons such as how to use morphemes to create (derive) new words from known words Understand challenges caused by differences in morphology rules in students L1

13 Syntax The study of the rules governing the way words are combined to form sentences and the rules governing the arrangement of sentences in sequences Grammar Syntax is about the relationship between words, and conveying intended meanings Who did what to whom, when, where, and how. Knowledge of syntax helps teachers Model and explain word order and other grammatical rules to ensure students communicate effectively Understand challenges caused by differences in students’ L1 syntax

14 Semantics The study of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences
Individual words have semantic features that indicate various properties or meanings inherent in the word Ex: Woman  animate, human, female, adult The relationships between words Knowledge of semantics helps teachers Explain synonyms, antonyms, homophones, homonyms, etc. Develop vocabulary and word study lessons on semantically related words Explain cognates and false cognates Understand challenges caused by differences in semantics in students’ L1

15 Pragmatics The study of language in use
The study of “invisible” meaning How we recognize what is meant even when it isn’t actually said Knowledge of pragmatics helps teachers Guide students how to produce and to recognize and respond appropriately to direct and indirect speech acts Requests, commands, statements, questions Explain to student appropriate ways to start, maintain, take turns in, and end conversations Express opinions, agree, disagree Negotiate social status, save face, make excuses Identify misunderstandings that may arise due to pragmatic differences in students’ L1

16 Vocabulary (Lexicon) The vocabulary of a language is its lexicon
Finegan (2004) notes to use a word from a lexicon, a speaker needs four kinds of information: Its sounds and their sequencing (phonology) Its meanings (semantics) Its category (e.g., noun or verb) and how to use it in a sentence (syntax) How related words such as the plural (for nouns) and past tense (for verbs) are formed (morphology) Children from English-speaking homes pick up about 13 new words a day, and know about 80,000 words by the time they are 17 Teachers can help ELLs develop vocabulary in a similar manner by creating language rich classrooms which provide opportunities for natural vocabulary acquisition

17 Spelling The English spelling system can be very confusing
Our modern American spelling system is not based simply on spelling words the way they sound. Words may be spelled similarly because they are related in meaning rather than sound Ex: know/acknowledge Words borrowed from other languages may be spelled to reflect their origin Ex: croissant

18 Language Variation Standard English The variety spoken by members of the dominant society The variety taught and assessed in school Regional and Non-Standard Varieties of English Some differences in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and/or vocabulary Teachers need to understand, and help students understand, that non-standard varieties are not “bad English” Are equally rule-governed and legitimate Teachers need to learn pedagogically sound and culturally sensitive methods for helping students learn Standard English without delegitimizing the variety of their homes and communities

19 What Does it Mean to “Know” a Language
Old view – mastering a set of discrete skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing But language proficiency much greater than a sum of its parts Common view – When you reach the level of a native speaker But what is a “native speaker”? Different native speakers have different ranges of linguistic ability “Conservational” vs. “Academic Language Proficiency” A dichotomized view that conversational fluency can be developed in a couple of years but that academic language proficiency takes five years or longer Critics charge that this is a false dichotomy Critics note the construct of “academic language” is too simplistic to be generalized to the wide variety of language demands across tasks in different content areas

20 What Does it Mean to “Know” a Language
TESOL Standards Attempt to delineate what “academic language” proficiency means for ELLs Being able to communicate for social, intercultural, and instructional purposes within the school setting Being able to communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies Represent a more current view of language Delineates the different kinds of language demands associated with the different academic content areas Language Arts Mathematics Science Social Studies

21 TESOL’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards
Standard 1: English language learners communicate for social, intercultural, and instructional purposes within the school setting. Standard 2: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of language arts. Standard 3: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of mathematics. Standard 4: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of science. Standard 5: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of social studies.

22 What does it mean to know a language? Communicative Competence
Knowing a language means being able to use it to communicate effectively and appropriately with other speakers of the language Grammatical competence. The ability to recognize the lexical, morphological, syntactic, and phonological features of a language and use them to interpret and form words and sentences. Discourse competence. The ability to connect a series of utterances, written words, or phrases to form a meaningful whole. Sociolinguistic competence. The ability to understand the social context in which language is used, including the roles of the participants. Strategic competence. The ability to use coping strategies in unfamiliar contexts when imperfect knowledge of rules (or factors that limit their application), may lead to a breakdown in communication.

23 What does it mean to know a language? Register, Genre, and Discourse
Variations in language, including the choice of words and grammar, that reflect the social setting or context in which it is used Genre In M.A.K. Halliday’s (1994) theory Systemic Functional Linguistics, refers to goal-directed activities, such as the creation of a particular kind of text, that functions to achieve a particular cultural purpose Discourse James Paul Gee (1996) discourse (small d) – language used in a particular context to enact activities and identities Discourse (big D) - different ways in which we humans integrate language with non-language “stuff,” such as different ways of thinking, acting, interacting, valuing, feeling, believing, and using symbols, tools, and objects in the right places and at the right times so as to enact and recognize different identities and activities Schools need to help ELLs learn the registers and Discourses needed for academic and social success

24 What does it mean to know a language
What does it mean to know a language? Second Language Instructional Competence Jeff MacSwan and Kellie Rolstad (2003) introduced the concept of Second Language Instructional Competence (SLIC) An alternative to the problematic construct of “academic language proficiency” SLIC refers to the stage of second language (L2) development at which the learner is able to understand instruction and perform grade-level school activities in the L2 alone, in the local educational context. Teachers can focus on a specific academic task and ask themselves: What is the amount and type of linguistic proficiency that is required for that student to engage the subject matter at hand? What level of oral and written language is required for students to understand the language of instruction sufficiently well at that moment, in that context, to participate in that lesson and learn from it?

25 Theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
Behaviorism Skinner Habit formation (stimulus and response; positive reinforcement) Innatist perspective Chomsky Universal Grammar; Language Acquisition Device Krashen’s Hypotheses Cognitive/Developmental Perspective (Psychological Theories) Interaction Input processing Sociocultural Perspective Vygotsky Zone of Proximal Development (ZDP)

26 Innatist Theories of Second Language Acquisition
Stephen Krashen (1982) proposed 5 interrelated hypotheses: The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis The Natural Order Hypothesis The Monitor Hypothesis The Input Hypothesis The Affective Filter Hypothesis

27 Theories of L2 Acquisition Krashen
The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis Language Acquisition Subconscious process (not aware it is happening) Once we acquire something, not aware we possess new knowledge Subconsciously stored in our brains Language Learning What we did in school Conscious process – we know we are learning Rules, grammar Because of the complexity of language, the vast majority is acquired, rather than consciously learned

28 Theories of L2 Acquisition Krashen
Natural Order Hypothesis We acquire the parts of language in a predictable order Order for L1 and L2 is similar, but not identical Some grammatical items tend to come earlier and others tend to come later example: third person singular –s (“Bob looks at his watch) comes late Natural order appears to be immune to deliberate teaching Cannot change natural order through drills, explanations, exercises Won’t be acquired until its time has come

29 Theories of L2 Acquisition Krashen
The Monitor Hypothesis Language use mostly depends on acquired linguistic competence Conscious learning has one function only – as a “Monitor” or editor After producing some language (when speaking or writing), our monitor can kick in to correct it if necessary Like a little language teacher in our heads reminding us of the rules

30 Theories of L2 Acquisition Krashen
Input (Comprehension) Hypothesis Answers the most important question – How does language acquisition occur? We acquire language in one way – when we understand messages or obtain comprehensible input We acquire language when we understand what we hear or what we read, when we understand the message i + 1 i = a student’s current level of proficiency +1 = input that is just slightly above that level A student can move from i to i +1 by understanding input containing i + 1. Do with the help of previously acquired linguistic competence and context

31 Theories of L2 Acquisition Krashen
Affective Filter Hypothesis Affective variables do not impact language acquisition directly, but may prevent comprehensible input. Examples, anxiety, low self-esteem, see self as outsider of language group, shyness, etc. If affective filter is high, it blocks comprehensible input If affective filter is low, it allows more comprehensible input in. Teachers need to create a supportive classroom environment to lower the affective filter and thus allow more i+1

32 Theories of L2 Acquisition Krashen
Critiques of Krashen’s theories Oversimplification of complex processes in second language acquisition (SLA) Can’t be proven Can’t operationalize things like i or +1 or specify the exact sequence in the natural order De-emphasizes language output (speaking, writing) and the importance of interaction Some misinterpret Krashen’s theories as opposing all direct teaching Nonetheless, Krashen’s theories have inspired research and has led to new theories which build on his ideas

33 The Cognitive/Development Perspective (Psychological Theories)
Interaction Hypothesis (Long) Interaction is essential for SLA to occur Input and interactions can be modified to maximize comprehension Comprehensible Output (Swain) Speaking forces learners to confront the limits of their language ability and push them to find better ways to get their message across Noticing Hypothesis (Schmidt) Nothing is learned unless students’ notice it in the input Processability Theory (Pienemann) Sequence in which learners acquire certain language features depends on how easy they are to process

34 The Cognitive/Development Perspective (Psychological Theories)
Input Processing Model (VanPatten) “Language acquisition happens in only one way and all learners must undergo it. Learners must have exposure to communicative input and they must process it; the brain must organize data. Learners must acquire output procedures, and they need to interact with other speakers. There is no way around these fundamental aspects of acquisition; they are the basics.”

35 Sociocultural Theories
Vygotsky Learning is a social activity Knowledge is constructed through interaction and collaboration with others Zone of proximal development (ZPD) a domain or metaphoric space where children can reach a higher level of knowledge and performance with the support of an adult or other more knowledgeable person Scaffolding The assistance given in the ZPD Language socialization Language learning is a process in which students are socialized into the knowledge and practices of the target speech community Language ecology Emphasis on studying language as within it sociocultural contexts

36 Transfer from L1 to L2 Positive transfer Negative transfer
Students are able to take much of the content-area knowledge and literacy skills they gained in their first language (L1) and transfer it to their second language (L2). Students with L1 literacy skills will likely make rapid progress in developing English literacy skills Students who have substantial content-area knowledge in their L1 do not need to re-learn the concepts in English They simply need the language skills to demonstrate what they already know and can do Negative transfer Ex: applying L1 syntax rules to English More research needed to understand what does and does not transfer Teachers can still be assured that students’ L1 literacy and content knowledge skills are great strengths to build upon

37 Second Language Teaching Methods and Approaches
Grammar-Translation Method (1840s) Analysis and memorization of grammar rules Translation of sentences between the two languages Opposition to this outdated and ineffective method inspired new methods Audiolingual method (1930s) Influenced by behaviorism Memorization of dialogues and grammar drills The Natural Approach (late 1970s/1980s) Application of Krashen’s theories to the language learning classroom Emphasis on providing comprehensible input in an enjoyable classroom context so students can naturally acquire the language

38 Second Language Teaching Methods and Approaches
Communicative Language Teaching (1980s) Current favored approach in the field Based on communicative competence Learn the language to be able to actually communicate with other speakers Classroom activities focus on authentic and meaningful communication Includes some focus on form (grammar) which is necessary to comprehend and produce comprehensible output There are a wide range of communicative language teaching approaches, methods, and strategies

39 Second Language Teaching Methods and Approaches
Content-based instruction is a type of communicative language teaching A selected content area becomes a meaningful context for authentic communication as learners collaborate to complete carefully designed academic tasks ESL teachers used math, social studies, or science as vehicles for language instruction But ESL teachers were not experts in these area Focus was more on learning the language than learning the content-area concepts

40 Second Language Teaching Methods and Approaches
Sheltered Instruction Also called specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE) Content-area teachers learn to shelter (specially design) their instruction to make it comprehensible for ELLs while supporting their English language development Popular models Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model

41 Critical Pedagogy Developed by Paulo Freire in the 1960s
Focus on liberating oppressed students through transformative education Many teachers recognize the importance of helping ELLs understand and confront unequal power relations in order to improve their lives and society as they learn English and academic content. Rejects the “banking” model of education where teachers simply make deposits of essential knowledge and skills into the heads of students Involves problem posing, reflective thinking, knowledge gathering, and collaborative decision making Help students find and express their voice Central to levels 3 (transformative) and 4 (social action) of Banks’ levels of multicultural education (see Chapter 1)

42 Beyond Approaches and Methods
No single method or approach is applicable to or appropriate for every classroom Teachers can draw on the variety of methods and approaches and develop their own personal approach informed by observation, experimentation, and refection on the following guiding questions: What are the students’ strengths and needs? What are the instructional goals? What is likely to be challenging about these goals for these students? What strategies can help address these challenges? How will you know whether these strategies are effective?

43 Conclusion Knowledge of language is relevant to the many roles teachers play as communicators, educators, evaluators, educated human beings, and agents of socialization When teachers know their students well, they can provide the type of learning environment that builds on their students’ strengths and addresses their unique needs. They can provide appropriate instruction, activities, and opportunities for meaningful interaction to help their students continue to make progress in developing proficiency in English

44 Activitiy Work with a partner or in a group of three students
(Activity sheet available on Companion Website) Work with a partner or in a group of three students Read, discuss and complete the matching activity sheet Second language acquisition perspectives Linguistic subsystems Approaches and methods Check and share your answers with the whole group

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