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Fact or Myth

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  • 1. Fact or Myth? Language Acquisition
  • 2.
    • A bilingual environment is a matter of choice, not a necessity.
    • MYTH
      • Many discussions on bilingualism seem to be based on the idea that a bilingual environment is something that parents choose for their children.
      • Young children growing up bilingually do so because there is no way they can grow up monolingually.
      • Interaction with monolinguals is important.
      • People within a given environment may all speak a different language.
  • 3.
    • Learning 2 or more languages in childhood may cause language disorders or language delays.
    • MYTH
      • There is no scientific evidence to prove this.
      • Evidence are only anecdotes that are derived from speech therapists.
        • They often claim that hearing 2 or more languages will confuse the child.
        • Another claim is that the acquisition of the main language of the environment will stand a better chance without competition.
  • 4.
    • Many immigrant children during the early 1900’s did not learn English as well as immigrant children do today.
    • FACT
      • Children went off to work when they came from overseas.
      • Many dropped out of school to work in jobs that did not require the kinds of academic achievement and communication skills that substantive employment opportunities require today.
  • 5.
    • It takes an average of 5-7 years for students to achieve the same levels of academic English as native speakers.
    • FACT
      • It can take this amount of time for ESL students to achieve the same levels of proficiency in academic English as native speakers.
      • Academic skills need to be developed to read and comprehend textbooks, understand directions, take tests, and apply higher level critical thinking skills in English.
  • 6.
    • Theorists have not yet definitively answered the question: How do students really acquire a L 2 ?
    • FACT
      • Second language acquisition is a dynamic field that is constantly being researched.
      • A definitive answer is difficult; there are a host of factors that come into play:
        • Emotional
        • Physical
        • Psychological
        • Sociological
  • 7.
    • Children’s use of two languages within one sentence is a sign of confusion.
    • MYTH
      • Use of two languages reveals a great deal of linguistic skills.
      • Children who use words from two languages in one sentence, produce far more sentences using only one language.
      • This is an example of how a first language helps in learning a second language.
  • 8.
    • Very young children “pick up” a second language quickly and easily.
    • MYTH
      • Learning any language is a process that takes many years.
      • Children need a strongly supportive and rich environment.
      • Language development in the early stages depends crucially on vocabulary knowledge.
      • Children need to learn language strategies.
  • 9.
    • L 2 learners do not need to know the language before they can be taught content in an academic area.
    • FACT
      • ESL learners are capable learners and may be doing grade level or above grade level work in their native language.
      • They can transfer there learning strategies to their L 2 academic environment.
      • All that an ESL learner needs is comprehensible input.
  • 10.
    • The younger the child, the more skilled in acquiring a L 2 .
    • MYTH
      • Research does not support this conclusion in school settings.
      • Wisdom and life experiences play a major role.
      • Pronunciation is the only area in which younger children seem to have an advantage over older learners.
  • 11.
    • A student can learn a L 2 more quickly by being exposed to and surrounded by native language speakers.
    • MYTH
      • Language is too complex to be relegated just to listening comprehension.
      • Full bilingualism entails a rigorous combination of the 4 language arts.
      • Oral communication will take at least 2-3 years. Academic English takes 5-7 years.
  • 12.
    • There is no optimum age for learning a second language.
    • FACT
      • Motivation plays a strong role.
      • Each learner has a distinct learning style that can be successfully applied at any age.
      • This is the same as item 9.
  • 13.
    • When ESL learners are able to converse comfortably in English, they have developed proficiency in the language.
    • MYTH
      • Proficiency in face-to-face communication does not imply proficiency in the more complex academic language needed in the classroom .
      • ESL learners may have language problems in reading and writing that are not apparent if their oral abilities are used to gauge their English proficiency.
      • Full control of a L 2 implies going beyond just conversing on a social level.
  • 14.
    • There are so many variables that effect L 2 learning, that a teacher has an uphill battle within a classroom setting.
    • MYTH
      • The classroom is not a war zone.
      • The teaching/learning process stems from both the teacher and the learner working cooperatively toward a common goal.
      • Teachers, as facilitators, can help guide ESL learners to identify and use their own particular styles and resources.
  • 15.
    • The emotional side of a student plays as large a role in L 2 acquisition as their intellectual side.
    • FACT
      • The affective side is just as important as cognitive aspects.
      • The “heart” cannot be separated from the “brain”.
      • Learning styles may vary a great deal and need to be addressed.
  • 16.
    • The earlier a L2 is introduced in school programs, the greater the likelihood of success in learning.
    • MYTH
      • Success in learning a L2 has been documented in all grade levels, and even in adulthood.
      • Strategies in teaching and learning change with each grade level, therefore, both teachers and students have ways of ensuring that maximum learning takes place.