CTS-Academic: Module 2 session 1 theories of language


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Part of Module 2 of the CTS-Academic course run by SeltAcademy. Session written by Dr. Simon Phipps.

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CTS-Academic: Module 2 session 1 theories of language

  1. 1. Dr. Simon Phipps dr.simon.phipps@gmail.com CTS Module: Fresh Insights into Teaching & Learning (Linguistics) Session 1: (9.00-10.30) Theories of Language 1. Introduction to the course 2. Beliefs about teaching/learning 3. Constructivism 4. Behaviourism and Mentalism 5. Nature vs. Nurture
  2. 2. CTS Module: Fresh Insights into Teaching & Learning (Linguistics) OVERVIEW OF THE 3 DAYS Tuesday 4th Wednesday 5th Thursday 6th 09.00- Theories of Language 10.30 SLA research Noticing, restructuring, proceduralisation 10.45- Theories of Language 12.15 Learning (Krashen) Classroom research Lesson shapes 13.15- Theories of Language 14.45 Learning (Chomsky) Implications Implications 15.00- Implications 16.30 Psycholinguistics
  3. 3. BELIEFS ABOUT TEACHING & LEARNING Our beliefs about teaching and learning greatly influence the way we teach, plan lessons, interact with students, etc. These beliefs are sometimes referred to as;  Intuition  Unconscious knowledge They come from;  ‘Apprenticeship of observation’  Previous language learning experience  Previous teaching experience  Training  Reading They may conflict with some SLA research findings
  4. 4. BELIEFS ABOUT TEACHING & LEARNING Research shows that it is useful to;    Articulate these beliefs Make them explicit Question them in the light of research, reading, practice Reflection is therefore a key element in this course 2 key issues in education today; Teacher education teacher beliefs Teacher education Teacher beliefs classroom teaching Your learning will come from;  sessions  reading  discussions with each other  individual reflection
  5. 5. THEORIES OF LANGUAGE 1         What is language? Aspects of the study of language phonetics morphology, syntax lexicology semantics discourse analysis pragmatics sociolinguistics psycholinguistics Linguistics Semantics (how it works) (what it means) Sociolinguistics (how it is used) Sound system Grammatical system Lexical system Discourse system adapted from Stern, H. (1983). Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching. Oxford: OUP. p183
  6. 6. THEORIES OF LANGUAGE 2 ‘Schools of thought’ Bloomfield (1940s)  ‘American Structuralism’  science of language  behaviourist Halliday (1960s-70s)  ‘Systemic Linguistics’  linguistics + anthropology  try to categorise lang. acc. to context of situation Chomsky (1960s-70s)  attacked behaviourism (lang. is not habit formation)  Language Acquisition Device (LAD), Universal Grammar (UG) – ‘infinite use of finite means’
  7. 7. THEORIES OF LANGUAGE: 3 MAIN GROUPINGS Environmentalist  social  triggered by imitation, habit formation Innatist  biological  triggered by universal grammar Interactionist  mixture of social and biological  triggered by communication
  8. 8. BEHAVIOURIST LEARNING THEORY Habit formation Response to stimulus in the environment Positive reinforcement Imitate models of correct language until correct habits are formed BUT  It ignores the ‘black box’  Output is often different from input  Errors show learners construct their own rules  Kids are not always corrected
  9. 9. MENTALIST LEARNING THEORY Linguistics + psychology  Humans are biologically programmed for language  Language is too complex for child to learn so early  ‘Poverty of the input’  Kids work out rules, not always told what’s correct  Deaf children develop language too     Only humans can learn language LAD is triggered by input UG principles are common to all languages   Kids learn variations on principles Critical period
  10. 10. INTERACTIONIST LEARNING THEORY Interplay between biology/environment Motherese Modified interaction Interaction shapes thinking and cognitive development MAYBE Different aspects of language are learnt in different ways  Routines  Complex grammar  Relating form to meaning
  11. 11. PINKER: NATURE VS NURTURE Is language something innate or something we learn from our environment?  What evidence would you give to support your view? How do babies learn L1 without being taught formally? Why is it difficult for adults to learn an L2?
  12. 12. NURTURE Chapter 1 Why is language so remarkable?  We can create new thoughts in others’ minds What evidence does Pinker give for language being innate?  ‘There’s yesbody at the door’  Instinct is not taught  Kids know complex grammar Why were Chomsky’s ideas so revolutionary at the time?  It went against accepted dogma What were his main arguments?  Every utterance is new  Children are not taught
  13. 13. NURTURE Chapter 2 How do children ‘re-invent’ language?  They grammaticise parents’ pidgin language What is the difference between a ‘pidgin’ and a ‘creole’ language?  Creole = pidgin as L1 What does the ‘wug-test’ show?  Kids don’t learn by imitating parents How do children learn grammar in their L1?  Kids do most of the work, they don’t need motherese Are some languages more primitive than others?  All have complex grammar