Theories of second language learning


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Theories of second language learning

  1. 1. Theories of second-language learning- Krashen’s theories Based on Barry McLaughlin: Thoeries of Second-language Learning (Edward Arnold, 1987) Lightbown and Spada: How Languages are learned (OUP,1993)
  2. 2. Krashen, five central hypothesis <ul><li>The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>The Monitor Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>The Natural Order Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>The Input Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>The Affective Filter Hypothesis </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis <ul><li>Learning- conscious, Acquisition-unconscious </li></ul><ul><li>“ Learning” does not turn into “acquisition”, says Krashen </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis
  5. 5. Claims <ul><li>Sometimes there is Acquisition without Learning- people can speak without knowing rules consciously </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes learning never becomes acquisition- knows the rule but always breaks it </li></ul><ul><li>No-one knows anywhere near all the rules </li></ul>
  6. 6. LAD – Language Acquisition Device <ul><li>Krashen, Chomsky </li></ul><ul><li>Do adults have it too? </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Monitor Hypothesis <ul><li>Learning has only one function, that is as a Monitor or editor </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisition initiates the speaker’s utterances and is responsible for Fluency </li></ul>
  8. 8. 3 conditions for Monitor use <ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on form/ correctness </li></ul><ul><li>Know the rule </li></ul><ul><li>All these are problematic, difficult to demonstrate </li></ul>
  9. 9. Krashen explained the individual differences on the Monitor concept <ul><li>Monitor over-users </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor under-users </li></ul><ul><li>Optimal monitor users </li></ul>
  10. 10. Adults vs. Children <ul><li>Children are better learners because they do not use the Monitor </li></ul><ul><li>The second explanation is related to the “affective filter”, discussed later </li></ul>
  11. 11. Problems <ul><li>Acquisition-learning distinction not clearly defined </li></ul><ul><li>The theory that learning will not become acquisition can’t be tested empirically </li></ul><ul><li>It is only in the phonological development that children do better! </li></ul><ul><li>We simply cannot unequivocally identify the source of any utterance! </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Natural Order Hypothesis <ul><li>We acquire rules in a predictable order, some rules tending to come early and others late. </li></ul><ul><li>The order of rules is not determined by its simplicity and is independent of the order in which rules are taught </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Natural Order Hypothesis, problems <ul><li>…is based on the “morpheme studies”, which, by focusing on the final form, tell us little about the acquisition process </li></ul><ul><li>It can be accepted, but in a weak form: some things are learned before others, but not always </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Input Hypothesis <ul><li>People learn in only one way, by understanding messages, getting “comprehensible input” </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking is a result, not a cause. </li></ul><ul><li>If input is understood and there is enough of it, the necessary grammar is automatically provided. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Krashen tried to explain his theory by the <ul><li>“Silent period” </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><li>No answer to how language is acquired </li></ul><ul><li>There may be other explanations for the silent period (anxiety, personality, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>How do we learn, if in the beginning we know nothing? </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Input Hypothesis doesn’t explain <ul><li>How learners progress form understanding to acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>What is “comprehensible input”, not clear </li></ul><ul><li>… just beyond the syntactic complexity of what he knows at present… - impossible to define clearly </li></ul>
  17. 17. Conclusion <ul><li>Acquisition is caused by understanding the input but internal factors are given little emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of output is de-emphasized </li></ul><ul><li>A more balanced view is required </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Affective Filter Hypothesis <ul><li>There might be a mental block that prevents learners form fully profiting form “comprehensible input” </li></ul><ul><li>If the filter is UP, the input is blocked </li></ul>
  19. 19. filter up down INPUT LAD Language acquisition device Acquired competence The operation of the “affective filter”, Krashen, 1982
  20. 20. The Affective Filter theory was used <ul><li>To account for he individual differences in language learning </li></ul><ul><li>Def.: “ The filter is that part of the processing system that subconsciously screens incoming language based on… “motives, needs, attitudes, emotional states.” </li></ul>
  21. 21. The filter is described as having 4 functions, determining <ul><li>Which language model will we select </li></ul><ul><li>Which part of the language will be attended first </li></ul><ul><li>When the language acquisition effort should cease </li></ul><ul><li>How fast we can acquire the language </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Though most of the researchers agree that affective variables play a critical role, there role and existence of the “affective filter” is not clear </li></ul>
  23. 23. Problems with the theory <ul><li>No coherent explanation for the filter’s development </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t be studied </li></ul><ul><li>Vague in its origin and its function </li></ul><ul><li>No connection wit first language acquisition, why? </li></ul><ul><li>What about the children? </li></ul><ul><li>… it can’t explain the individual differences completely! </li></ul>