Myths About Acquiring a Second Language


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Myths about Acquiring a Second Language

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Myths About Acquiring a Second Language

  1. 1. Myths about Acquiring a Second Language(Katharine Davies Samway & Denise McKeon)<br />C. Hopkins<br />Second & Third Language Learners- from 6 years old to 22 years old…<br />
  2. 2. Myth # 1<br />Myth: Learning a second language is entirely different from learning one’s own native language.<br />Fact: There are many parallels between learning a first & second language.<br />1st & 2nd language acquisition can be seen as a coin with two sides: “essentially the same in composition but with different designs and features” (62).<br />They share a “silent period” which can affect our ESL students.<br />
  3. 3. Fact #2<br />Fact: While younger language learners may learn to pronounce a new language with little or no accent, older language learners are often more efficient learners.<br />“Since much of school language once one moves beyond the earliest grades tends to be decontextualized, children learning ESL in school often find themselves lost in a world of meaningless words” (65).<br />
  4. 4. Fact #3<br />Fact: The ability to speak a second language (especially in conversational settings) does not guarantee that a student will be able to use the language effectively in academic settings.<br />We must “carefully plan instruction to help students develop decontextualized language skills” to master the content of higher grades.”<br />
  5. 5. Myth #4<br />Myth: Learning academic English is equally challenging for all second language learners.<br />Fact: The challenge of learning academic English varies tremendously in each learner and depends on many factors.<br />Major Influence: Former academic preparation in 1st language<br />
  6. 6. Myth #5<br />Myth: If we focus on teaching the English language, learning in all areas will occur faster.<br />Fact: While language exposure is essential, increased exposure to the language (particularly in academic settings) does not guarantee quicker learning.<br />Influences: age, previous schooling, type of instruction<br />“Just learning English will not guarantee a student’s academic success” (66).<br />
  7. 7. Myth #6<br />Myth: Students from Asian countries are better English language learners and more academically successful than students from Spanish-speaking backgrounds.<br />Fact: Students from all language and cultural backgrounds are equally capable of learning English as a second language; academic success cannot be attributed to language or cultural background, but rather to a variety of social, emotional, intellectual, and academic factors.<br />The different perspectives of caste-like minorities vs immigrant minorities can effect a student’s academic success.<br />“The way in which children view themselves is connected to the way schools (and the larger community) view them” (68).<br />
  8. 8. References<br />Hubbard, Ruth Shagoury & Power, Brenda Miller<br />Language Development: A Reader for Teachers, ed. 2 (62-68)<br />Myths about Acquiring a Second Language by Katharine Davies Samway & Denise McKeon<br />