ELT METHODOLOGY ISL TOPIC 1: LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND LEARNING- KEY CONCEPTS AND ISSUES 1. What is acquisition?

The process of learning skills or getting knowledge (Macmillan Dictionary) The process of getting something (Cambridge Dictionary) 2. What is learning? The process of gaining knowledge and experience, for example by studying (Macmillan Dictionary) The activity of obtaining knowledge (Cambridge Dictionary) 3. Discuss the difference between acquisition and learning
LANGUAGE ACQUISITION Language acquisition refers to the process of natural assimilation, involving intuition and subconscious learning. It is the product of real interactions between people in environments of the target language and culture, where the learner is an active player. It is similar to the way children learn their native tongue, a process that produces functional skill in the spoken language without theoretical knowledge. It develops familiarity with the phonetic characteristics of the language as well as its structure and vocabulary, and is responsible for oral understanding, the capability for creative communication and for the identification of cultural values. In acquisition-inspired methodology, teaching and learning are viewed as activities that happen on a personal and psychological level. The acquisition approach praises the communicative act and develops self-confidence in the learner. A classic example of second language acquisition are the adolescents and young adults that live abroad for a year in an exchange program, often attaining near native fluency, while knowing little about the language. They have a good pronunciation without a notion of phonology, don't know what the perfect tense is, modal or phrasal verbs are, but they intuitively recognize and know how to use all the structures. LANGUAGE LEARNING The concept of language learning is linked to the traditional approach to the study of languages and today is still generally practiced in high schools worldwide. Attention is focused on the language in its written form and the objective is for the student to understand the structure and rules of the language, whose parts are dissected and analyzed. The task requires intellectual effort and deductive reasoning. The form is of greater importance than

One studies the theory in the absence of the practice. The teacher is an authority figure and the participation of the student is predominantly passive.communication. normally tied to a preset syllabus that includes memorization of vocabulary. etc. Innumerable graduates in Brazil with arts degrees in English are classic examples of language learning. study modal verbs. Error correction is constant leaving little room for spontaneity. will memorize irregular verbs. Teaching and learning are technical and based on a syllabus. its functioning and grammatical structures. One values the correct and represses the incorrect. its contrasts with the student's native language. but hardly ever masters the use of these structures in conversation. Language-learning inspired methods are progressive and cumulative. The student will be taught how to form interrogative and negative sentences. It seeks to transmit to the student knowledge about the language. the effort of accumulating knowledge about the language with all its irregularity becomes frustrating because of the lack of familiarity with the language. However.. limited vocabulary and lacking awareness of the target culture. They are certified teachers with knowledge about the language and its literature but able to communicate in English only with poor pronunciation. . knowledge that hopefully will produce the practical skills of understanding and speaking the language.

Remember that the school day is exhausting for these newcomers as they are overwhelmed with listening to English language all day long. However. Stage I: Pre-production This is the silent period. They can understand and duplicate gestures and movements to show comprehension. the United Kingdom. an important trait of the adult language learner. Adults develop competence in second languages in two distinct ways.or twoword phrases. the length of time each students spends at a particular stage may vary greatly. students can usually speak in one. English language learners may have up to 500 words in their receptive vocabulary but they are not yet speaking. These new learners of English will listen attentively and they may even be able to copy words from the board. Here are some suggestions for working with students in this stage of English language learning:   Ask yes/no and either/or questions. Thailand. They will benefit from a “buddy” who speaks their language. During this stage. They will be able to respond to pictures and other visuals. Stage II: Early production This stage may last up to six months and students will develop a receptive and active vocabulary of about 1000 words. Iran. China. Some students will. Teachers should focus attention on listening comprehension activities and on building a receptive vocabulary. Total Physical Response methods will work well with them. The third deals with innovative classroom practices. the United States. however.4. Accept one or two word responses. Adult Language Learners: Context and Innovation deals with three main areas of education . . repeat every thing you say. Explain. and Vietnam. English language learners at this stage will need much repetition of English. In examining learning environments as varied as Brazil. Japan. They are not really producing language but are parroting. with emphasis placed on classroom Stages of Second Language Acquisition by Judie Haynes All new learners of English progress through the same stages to acquire language. The chapters in the book have been selected so as to provide the reader with an overview of important aspects of the field. They can use short language chunks that have been memorized although these chunks may not always be used correctly. The first section of the book focuses on language teachers as adult learners themselves developing their teaching practice. The second focuses on different means of expanding learner autonomy.

When teaching elementary age ELLs. They are beginning to use more complex sentences when speaking and writing and are willing to express opinions and share their thoughts. Understand and answer questions about charts and graphs. Stage III: Speech emergence Students have developed a vocabulary of about 3. Compose brief stories based on personal experience. They should be expected to synthesize what they have learned and to make inferences from that learning. Read short. Complete graphic organizers with word banks. Participate in duet. Support learning with graphic organizers. Provide listening activities. They have a place to express their thoughts and ideas. This is the time for teachers to focus on . These English language learners will be able to work in grade level math and science classes with some teacher support. They will understand easy stories read in class with the support of pictures. They will ask simple questions. Study flashcards with content area vocabulary. Here are some simple tasks they can complete:            Sound out stories phonetically. charts and graphs. use simple books with predictable text. Simplify the content materials to be used. Write and illustrate riddles.        Give students the opportunity to participate in some of the whole class activities. Begin to foster writing in English through labeling and short sentences. Focus on key vocabulary and concepts. At this stage. Match vocabulary words to definitions. Students can write about topics that interest them and proceed at their own level and pace. Student writing at this stage will have many errors as ELLs try to master the complexity of English grammar and sentence structure. They will ask questions to clarify what they are learning in class. Stage IV: Intermediate fluency English language learners at the intermediate fluency stage have a vocabulary of 6000 active words. Modify content information to the language level of ELLs. such as “ May I go to bathroom? ” ELLs will also initiate short conversations with classmates. modified texts in content area subjects. pair and choral reading activities. They are especially helpful with English language learners. Many students may be translating written assignments from native language. Use pictures and realia to support questions. Understand teacher explanations and two-step directions. students will use strategies from their native language to learn content in English. Write in dialogue journals. They will also be able to do some content work with teacher support. Comprehension of English literature and social studies content is increasing.000 words and can communicate with simple phrases and sentences. Use a frame to scaffold writing. that may or may not be grammatically correct. Dialogue journals are a conversation between the teacher and the student. Build vocabulary using pictures.

Student at this stage will be near-native in their ability to perform in content area learning. Most ELLs at this stage have been exited from ESL and other support programs. they will need continued support from classroom teachers especially in content areas such as history/social studies and in writing. however.learning strategies. Students in this stage will also be able to understand more complex concepts. . Stage V: Advanced Fluency It takes students from 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language. At the beginning of this stage.

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