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LANGUAGE EDUCATION I (Units 1 to 3)

UNIT 1
Teaching by Principles Brown, H. Douglas (2001)
CHAPTER 4
COGNITIVE PRINCIPLES
The first set of principles is called cognitive because they relate mainly to
mental and intellectual functions.

Principle 1: Automaticity
Through an inductive process of exposure to language input and opportunity
to experiment with output, children appear to learn languages without thinking
about them.
The Principle of Automaticity includes the importance of:
Subconscious absorption of language through meaningful use,
Efficient and rapid movement away from a focus on the forms of language
to a focus on the purposes to which language is put,
Efficient and rapid movement away from capacity-limited control of a few
bits and pieces to a relatively unlimited automatic mode of processing
language forms, and
Resistance to the temptation to analyze language forms.
The Principle of Automaticity may be stated as follows:
Efficient second language learning involves a timely movement of the control
of a few language forms into the automatic processing of a relatively
unlimited number of language forms. Overanalysing language, thinking too
much about its forms, and consciously lingering on rules of language all tend
to impede this graduation to automaticity.
The principle says that adults can take a lesson from children by speedily
overcoming our propensity to pay too much focal attention to the bits and pieces of
language and to move language forms quickly to the periphery by using language in
authentic contexts for meaningful purposes.

In classroom:
1. Being too heavily centered on the formal aspects of language can block
pathways to fluency.

2. A large proportion of your lessons should be focused on the use of


language for purposes that are genuine.
3. Be patient with students to help them achieve fluency.

Principle 2: Meaningful Learning


Meaningful learning subsumes new information into existing structures and
memory systems and the resulting associative links create stronger retention. Rote
learning isolated pieces of information that arent connected to the existing
cognitive structure has little chance of creating long-term retention.
The Principle of Meaningful Learning is stated:
Meaningful learning will lead toward better long-term retention than rote
learning.

In classroom:
1. Appeal to students interests, academic goals and career goals.
2. When introducing a new topic, attempt to anchor it in students existing
knowledge and background.
3. Avoid the pitfalls of rote learning:
a. too much grammar explanations
b. too much abstract principles and theories
c. too much drilling and/or memorization
d. unclear activities
e. activities that dont contribute to accomplishing the goals of the
lesson, unit or course
f. techniques too mechanic and tricky
Principle 3: The Anticipation of Reward (Skinner)
The anticipation of reward is the most powerful factor in directing ones
behaviour. The Reward Principle is stated:
Human being are universally driven to act, or behave, by the anticipation of
some sort of reward tangible or intangible, short term or long term that
will ensue as a result of the behaviour.
Conditioning by rewards can (a) lead learners to become dependent on shortterm rewards, (b) coax them into a habit of looking to teachers and others for
their only rewards, and therefore (c) forestall the development of their own
internally administered, intrinsic system of rewards.

In classroom:

1. Provide an optimal degree of immediate verbal praise and encouragement to


them as a form of short-term reward.
2. Encourage students to reward each other with compliments and supportive
action.
3. In classes with very low motivation, short-term reminders of progress may
help students. (Gold stars and stickers, privileges for good work, progress
charts and graphs, etc.).
4. Display enthusiasm and excitement yourself.
5. Try to get learners to see the long-term rewards in learning English.

Principle 4: Intrinsic Motivation


The Intrinsic Motivation Principle is:
The most powerful rewards are those that are intrinsically motivated within
the learner. Because the behaviour stems from needs, wants, or desires
within oneself, the behaviour itself is self-rewarding therefore, no
externally administered reward is necessary.
In classroom:
1. Consider carefully the intrinsic motives of your students.
2. Design classroom tasks that feed into those intrinsic drives. (self-rewarding
classes)
Principle 5: Strategic Investment
The Principle of Strategic Investment is stated:
Successful mastery of the second language will be due as a large extent to a
learners own personal investment of time, effort, and attention to the
second language in the form of an individualized battery of strategies for
comprehending and producing the language.
The principle has 2 major pedagogical implications: (a) the importance of
recognizing and dealing with the styles and strategies that learners bring to the
learning process, and therefore (b) the need for attention to each individual in the
classroom.

In classroom:
1. A variety of techniques in your lessons will ensure that youll rich a maximum
number of students. Choose a mixture of group work and individual work, of
visual and auditory techniques, of easy and difficult exercises.
2. Pay as much attention as you can to each individual.
AFFECTIVE PRINCIPLES

Principle 6: Language Ego


The Language Ego Principle can be summarized in this claim:
As human beings learn to use a second language, they also develop a new
mode of thinking, feeling, and acting a second identity. The new language
ego, intertwined with the second language, can easily create within the
learner a sense of fragility, a defensiveness, and a raising of inhibitions
The Language Ego Principle also called warm and fuzzy principles: all second
language learners need to be treated with affective tender living care.

In classroom:
1. Overtly display a supportive attitude to your students.
2. Your choice of techniques and sequences of techniques needs to be
cognitively challenging but not overwhelming at an affective level.
3. If your students are learning English as a second language, they are likely to
experience a moderate identity crisis as they develop a second self. Help
them see that this is a normal and natural process.
Principle 7: Self-Confidence
This Principle emphasizes the importance of the learners self-assessment,
regardless of the degree of language-ego involvement. It states:
Learners belief that they indeed are fully capable of accomplishing a task is
at least partially a factor in their eventual success in attaining the task.
In classroom:
1. Give ample verbal and nonverbal assurances to students. It helps students
to hear a teacher affirm a belief in the students ability.
2. Sequence techniques from easier to more difficult.

Principle 8: Risk-Taking
The previous 2 principles, if satisfied, by the groundwork for risk-taking.
Learners are ready to try out their newly acquired language, to useit for
meaningful purposes, to ask questions, and to assert themselves.
It states:
Successful language learners, in their realistic appraisal of themselves as
vulnerable beings yet capable of accomplishing tasks, must be willing to
become gamblers in the game of language, to attempt to produce and
interpret language that is a bit beyond their absolute certainty.

In classroom:
1. Create an atmosphere in the classroom hat encourages students to try out
language to venture a response, and not to wait for someone else to
volunteer language.
2. Provide reasonable challenges in your techniques.
3. Respond to students risky attempts with positive affirmations.
Principle 9: The Language-Culture Connection
This principle focuses on the complex interconnection of language and culture:
Whenever you tech a language, you also teach a complex system of cultural
customs, values, and ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
In classroom:
1. Discuss cross-cultural differences with your students, emphasizing that no
culture is better than another.
2. Include certain activities and materials that illustrate the connection
between language and culture.
3. Teach them the cultural connotations of language.
4. Dont use material that is culturally offensive.
A second aspect of the Language-Culture Connections is the extent to which
your students will be affected by the process of acculturation.
Especially in second language learning contexts, the success with which
learners adapt to a new cultural milieu will affect their language acquisition
success, and vice versa, in some possibly significant ways.

In classroom:
1. Help students to be aware of acculturation and its stages.
2. Stress the importance of the second language as a powerful tool for
adjustment in the new culture.
3. Be sensitive to any students who appear to be discouraged.
LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLES

Principle 10: The Native Language Effect


The Principle of the Native Language Effect stresses the importance of that
native system in the linguistic attempts of the second language learner:
The native language of learners exerts a strong influence on the acquisition
of the target language system. While that native system will exercise both
facilitating and interfering effects on the production and comprehension of
the new language, the interfering effects are likely to be the most salient.

Errors are windows to a learners internalized understanding of the second


language, and therefore they give teachers something observable to reach to.

In classroom:
1. Regard learners errors as important windows to their underlying system
and provide appropriate feedback on them.
2. To understand that not everything about their native language sustem
will cause error.
3. Try to coax students into thinking in the second language instead of
resorting to translation as they comprehend and produce language.
Principle 11: Interlanguage
It states:
Second language learners tend to go to a systematic or quasi-systematic
developmental process as they progress to full competence in the target
language. Successful Interlanguage development is partially a result of
utilizing feedback from others.
There is a distinction between affective and cognitive feedback. The former, is
the extent to which we value or encourage a students attempt to communicate; the
latter, is the extent to which we indicate and understanding of the message
itself.

In classroom:
1. Distinguish between a students systematic Interlanguage errors and other
errors.
2. Exercise some tolerance for certain Interlanguage forms may arise out of
students logical development process.
3. Dont make student feel stupid because of an Interlanguage error.
4. Classroom feedback message that mistakes are not bad. Mistakes are
often indicators of aspects of the new language that are still developing.
5. Try to get student to self-correct selected errors.
6. Ample affective feedback (verbal or nonverbal).
7. Kindness and empathy.
Principle 12: Communicative Competence
This principle consists of some combinations of the following components:
Organizational competence (grammatical and discourse)
Pragmatic competence (functional and sociolinguistic)
Strategic competence

Psychomotor skills
This is probably the most important linguistic principle of learning ad teaching:
Given that communicative competence is the goal of a language classroom,
instruction needs to point toward all its components: organizational,
pragmatic, strategic, and psychomotor. Communicative goals are best
achieved by giving due attention to language use and not just usage, to
fluency and not just accuracy, to authentic language and contexts, and to
students eventual need to apply classroom learning to previously
unrehearsed contexts in the real world.

In classroom:
1. Give grammar some attention, but dont neglect the other important
components.
2. Some of the pragmatic aspects of language are very subtle and therefore
very difficult. Make sure your lessons aim to teach such subtlety.
3. When teaching functional and sociolinguistic aspects of language, dont
forget that the psychomotor skills are an important components of both.
4. Give them opportunities to gain some fluency in English without having ti be
constantly wary of little mistakes.
5. Try to keep every technique that you use as authentic is possible: use
language from the real world.

CHAPTER 5
Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom
One of the more complicated problems of second language learning and
teaching has been to define and apply the construct of motivation in the classroom.
DEFINING MOTIVATION
Motivation is the extent to which you make choice about (a) goals to pursue
and (b) the effort you will devote to that pursuit. We can look at theories of
motivation in terms of two opposing camps: one of them is a traditional view of
motivation that accounts for human behaviour through a behaviouristic paradigm
that stresses the importance of rewards and reinforcements. In the other camp
are cognitive psychological viewpoints that explain motivation through deeper, less
observable phenomena.

1. A Behaviouristic Definition

A behaviouristic psychologist like Skinner or Watson would stress the role


of rewards (and punishments) in motivating behaviour. In Skinners operant
conditioning model, human beings will pursue a goal because they perceive a reward
for doing so. This reward serves to reinforce behaviour (M&M theory of
behaviour).
A behaviourist would define motivation as the anticipation of
reinforcement.
Reinforcement theory is a powerful concept for the classroom. Learners
pursue goals in order to receive externally administered rewards: praise, gold
stars, etc.

2. Cognitive Definitions
There 3 different theories:
A. Drive theory: those who see human drives as fundamental to human
behaviour claim that motivation stems from basic innate drives. Ausubel created 6
different drives:
Exploration
Manipulation
Activity
Stimulation
Knowledge
Ego enhancement
All of these drives act not much as reinforces but as innate
predispositions, compelling us to probe the unknown, to control our
environment, to be physically active, to be receptive to mental, emotional, or
physical stimulation, to yearn for answers to questions, and to build ou own
self-esteem.
B. Hierarchy of needs theory: Maslow describes a system of needs within
each human being that propel us to higher attainment. Maslows hierarchy is best
viewed metaphorically as a pyramid of needs, progressing from the satisfaction of
purely physical needs up through safety and communal needs, to needs of esteem,
and finally to self-actualization.
A key importance here is that a person is not adequately energized to pursue
some of the higher needs until the lower foundations of the pyramid have been
satisfied.
For an activity in the classroom to be motivating, it does not need to
outstandingly striking, innovative, or inspirational.
C. Self-control theory: the importance of people deciding for themselves
what to think or feel or do. Motivation is highest when one can make ones own
choices, wheter they are in short-term or long term-contexts.

INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION


Two important points:
1. Orientation means a context or purpose for learning; motivation refers to
the intensity ones impetus to learn. An integrative orientation means that
the learner is pursuing a second language for social and/or cultural purposes
where the learner could be driven by a high level of motivation or a low level.
In an instrumental orientation, learners are studying a language in order to
further a career or academic goal.
2. Integrative and instrumental orientations are not to be confused with
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Integrative/Instrumental orientation is a
true dichotomy and refers only to the context of learning.
Intrinsic/extrinsic motivation designates a continuum of possibilities of
intensity of feeling or drive, from deeply internal, self-generated rewards to
strong, externally administered rewards
Edward Deci defined intrinsic motivation this way:
Intrinsically motivated activities are ones for which there is no reward
except the activity itself. Intrinsically motivated behaviours are aimed at
bringing about certain internally rewarding consequences, namely, feelings of
competence and self-determination.
Extrinsically motivated behaviours are carried out in anticipation of a reward
outside and beyond the self. (Extrinsic rewards: money, prizes, grades, etc).
Behaviours initiated solely to avoid punishment are also extrinsically motivated.
A research shows that one type of extrinsic reward can indeed have an effect
on intrinsic motivation: the positive feedback that learners perceive as a boost to
their feelings of competence and self-determination.
INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN EDUCATION
An intrinsically oriented school can begin to transform itself into a more
positive, affirming environment, not so much by revolutionizing society but by
shifting its view of the student.

From extrinsic to intrinsic motivation in educational institutions:


EXTRINSIC
PRESSURES
School curriculum

INTRINSIC
INNOVATIONS
Learner-centered
Personal goal-setting

MOTIVATIONAL
RESULTS
Self-esteem
Self-actualization
Decide for self

Parental expectations

Family values

Societys expectations
(conformist)

Security of comfortable
routines
Task-based teaching

Tests & exams

Peer evaluation,
Self-diagnosis
Level-check exercises
Long-term goals
The big picture
things take time
Content-based teaching,
ESP
Vocational education
Workplace ESL
Cooperative learning
Group work
The class is a team
Risk-taking, innovation
Creativity

Immediate
gratification (M&Ms)
Make money

Competition

Never fall

Love, intimacy,
acceptance, respect
for wisdom
Community,
belonging, identity,
harmony,
security
Experience
Self-knowledge
Self-actualization

Cooperation
Harmony

Manipulations,
strength, status,
security
Learn from mistakes
Nobodys perfect

INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN TH SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSROOM


There are activities that capitalize on the intrinsic by appealing to learners selfdetermination and autonomy:
Teaching writing as a thinking process to develop own ideas.
Strategies of reading that enable them to bring their information to the
written word.
Language experience approaches to create own reading materials for others
in class.
Oral fluency exercises to talk about their interests.
Listening to an academic lecture in ones own field of study.
Communicative language teaching to enable them to accomplish specific
functions.
Grammatical explanations.
THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO EXPLAINING SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING

Some theories give primary importance to learners innate characteristics; some


emphasize the essential role of the environment in shaping language learning; still
others seek to integrate learner characteristics and environmental factors in an
explanation for how second language acquisition takes place.
Learner characteristics
All second language learners have at least one language. The learner has an idea of
how languages work. Knowledge of other languages can also make learners to make
incorrect guesses about how the second language works and this may cause errors.
The first language learner does not have the same cognitive maturity,
metalinguistic, awareness, or world knowledge as older second language learners.
Second language learners, they will still have far to go in these areas, world
knowledge.
Most child learners do not feel about attempting to use the language, but adults
and adolescents often find it very stressful when they are unable to express
themselves clearly and correctly.
Learning conditions
Younger learners, informal second language learning, usually allowed to be silent
until they are ready to speak. Older learners are often forced to speak. Young
children in informal setting are exposed to the second language for many hours
every day. Older learners, especially students in language classroom, are more
likely to receive only limited exposure to the second language.
One condition which appears to be common to learners of all ages is access to
modified input, sometimes called foreigner talk or teacher talk for second
languages. People who interact with language learners have sense of what
adjustments are needed to help learners understand.
Error correction in first language acquisition tends to be limited to corrections of
meaning, including errors in vocabulary choice. In informal second language
acquisition, errors meaning are usually overlooked. Errors of grammar and
pronunciation are rarely remarked on, but the wrong word choice may receive
comment from a puzzled interlocutor. The only place where feedback on error is
typically present with high frequency is the language classroom.
Behaviourism

The impact of behaviourism on our understanding of the second language learning.


Behaviourists account for learning in terms of imitation, practice, reinforcement
and habit formation all learning takes place through the same underlying processes.
Learners receive between input from speakers in their environment and they form
associations between words and objects or events. These associations become
stronger as imitations, and corrective feedback on their errors. Language
development is viewed as the formation of habits.
Behaviourism was often linked to the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH). The
CAH predicts that where there are similarities between the first language and the
target language, the learner will acquire target-language structures with ease;
where there are differences, the learner will have difficulty.
Learners are reluctant to transfer certain features of their first language to the
second language. All this suggests that the influence of the learners first language
may not simply be a matter of the transfer of habits, but a more subtle and
complex process of identifying points of similarity, weighing the evidence and even
reflecting about whether a certain features seems to belong in the structure of
the target language.
The behaviourist account has proven to be at best an incomplete explanation for
language learning.
Innatism
Universal Grammar
Chomskys theory of language acquisition is based on the hypothesis that innate
knowledge of the principles of Universal Grammar (UG) permits all children to
acquire the language of their environment, during a critical period in their
development. Implications of this theory for second language learning, some
linguists working within this theory have argued that UG offers the best
perceptive from which to understand second language acquisition (SLA). UG is no
longer available to guide the acquisition of a second language in learners who have
passed the critical period for language acquisition.
Do not all agree on how UG works in second language development. Even if second
language learners begin learning the second language after the end of the critical
period and even if many fail to achieve complete mastery acquisition: learners

eventually know more about the language than they could reasonably have learned
if they had to depend entirely on the input they are exposed to. They infer from
this that UG must be available to second language learners as well as to firs
language learners.
Researchers working within the UG differ in their hypotheseses about how formal
instruction or error correction will affect the learners knowledge of the second
language. Adult second language learners neither need nor benefit from error
correction and metalinguistic information. These change only the superficial
appearance of language performance and do not affect the knowledge of the new
language. Other UG linguists, suggest that second language learners may need to be
given some explicit information about what is not grammatical in the second
language.
Researchers who study SLA from the UG perspective are interested in the
language competence (knowledge) of advanced learners rather than in the simple
language of early stages learners. Thus their investigations involve the judgements
of grammaticality, rather than observations of actual speaking. They hope to gain
insight into what learners actually know about the language, using a task which
avoids at least some of the many things which affect the way we ordinarily use
language.
Recent psychological theories
Information processing
Cognitive psychologists working in an information processing model of human
learning and performance tend to see second language acquisition as the building up
of knowledge systems that can eventually bi called on automatically for speaking
and understanding. At first, learners pay attention to any aspect of the language
which they are trying to understand or produce. There is a limit to the amount of
information a human can pay attention to at one time. The performance which
eventually become automatic may originate from intentional learning. Anything
which uses up our mental processing space is a possible source for information
which can eventually be available automatically.
Everything we come to know about the language was first noticed consciously
(Schmidt).
There are changes in skill and knowledge which are due to restructuring. Sometime
things which we know and use automatically may not be explainable in terms of a

gradual build-up of automatically through practice. They seem to be based on the


interaction of knowledge weal ready have or on the acquisition of new knowledge
which somehow fits into an existing system and causes it to be transformed or
restructured.
Connectionism
Connectionists unlike innatists, see no need to hypothesize the existence of a
neurological module connectionists attribute greater importance to the role of the
environment than to any innate knowledge, arguing that what in innate is simply the
ability to learn, not any specifically linguistic structure.
Connectionists argue that learners gradually build up their knowledge of language
through exposure to thousands of instances of the linguistic features they learn.
While innatists see the language input in the environment mainly as a trigger to
activate innate knowledge, connectionists see the input as the principal source of
linguistic knowledge. After hearing language features over and over again, learners
develop stronger and stronger mental or neurological connections between these
elements. The presence of one situational or linguistic element will the other in the
learners mind.
The interactionist position
Some interactionist theorists have argued that much second language acquisition
takes places through conversational interaction. Comprehensible input is necessary
for language acquisition. Michael Long is more concerned with the question of how
input is made comprehensible. What learners need is not necessarily simplification
of the linguistic forms but rather an opportunity to interact with other speakers,
in ways which lead them to adapt what they are saying until the learner shows sings
of understanding. Research show that native speakers consistently modify their
speech in sustained conversation with non-native speakers.
Modified interaction necessary for language acquisition:
1- Interactional modification makes input comprehensible;
2- Comprehensible input promotes acquisition.
Therefore
3- Interactional modification promotes acquisition.
Modified interaction may include elaboration, slower speech rate gesture, or the
provision of additional contextual cues.

1- Comprehension checks to ensure that the learners has understood


2- Clarification requests
3- Self-repetition or paraphrase
Conversational adjustments can aid comprehension. Modification which takes place
during interaction leads to better understanding than linguistic simplification.
Another perspective on the role of interaction in second language acquisition is
Vygotskys sociocultural theory of human mental processing. Vygotskys theory
assumes that all cognitive development arises as a result of social interactions
between individuals. Extending Vygotskys theory others claim that second
language learners to higher levels of linguistic knowledge when they collaborate and
interact with speakers of the second language who are more knowledge that they
are for example, a teacher or a more advanced learner.
Summary
In the end, what all theories of language acquisition are meant account for is the
working of the human mind.
Many claims from behaviourist theory were based on experiments with animals
learning a variety of responses to laboratory stimuli. Their applicability to the
natural learning of language was strongly challenged because of the inadequacy
behaviourist models.
Information processing and connectionist research often involves computer
simulations or very controlled laboratory experiments. Many linguists argue that
this does not entitle connectionists to generalize to the complexities of a normal
human language learning.
The innatists draw much of their evidence from studies of the complexities of the
proficient speakers language knowledge and performance and from analysis of
their own intuitions about language. Critics argue that it is not enough to know what
the final state of knowledge.
Interactionists emphasize the role of the modification of interaction in
conversations. Critics agree that there is much which learners need to know which
is not available in the input.

4- FACTORS AFFECTING SECOND LANGAUGE LEARNING

All normal children, given a normal upbringing, are successful in the acquisition of
their first language. This contrasts with our experience of second language
learners, whose success varies greatly.
Many of us believe that learners have certain characteristics which lead to more or
less successful language learning. Such beliefs are usually based on anecdotal
evidence, of our own or of people we know. In addition to personality
characteristics, other factors generally considered to be relevant to language
learning are intelligence, aptitude, motivation and attitudes. Also, the age at which
learning begins.
Characteristics of the good language learner
Some people have a much easier time of learning than others. Rate of development
varies widely among first language learners. In second language learning, some
students progress rapidly through the initial stages of learning a new language
while others struggle along making very slow progress. Some learners never achieve
native-like command of a second language.
RESEARCH ON LEARNER CHARACTERISTICS
When researchers are interested in finding out whether motivation affects second
language learning, they select a group of learners and give them a questionnaire to
measure the type and degree of their motivation. The learners are then given a
test to measure their second language proficiency. The test and the questionnaire
are scored and the researcher performs a correlation on the two measures, to see
whether learners with high scores on the proficiency test are also more likely to
have high scores on the motivation questionnaire. If this is the case, the
researcher concludes that high levels of motivation are correlated with success in
language learning.
The first problem is that is not possible to directly observe and measure qualities
such as motivation, extroversion, or even intelligence. These are just labels of
behaviours and characteristics. Different researchers have often used the same
labels to describe different sets of behavioural traits.
Another factor which makes it difficult to reach conclusions about relationships
between individual learner characteristics and second language learning is how
language proficiency is defined and measured.
Finally, there is the problem of interpreting the correlation of two factors as
being due to causal relationship between them. The fact that two things tend to

occur together does not necessarily mean that one caused the other. Learners who
are successful may indeed be highly motivated.
Intelligence
This term has traditionally been used to refer to performance on certain kinds of
tests. These tests are often associated with success in school, and a link between
intelligence and second language learning has sometimes been reported. Over the
years, many studies have found that IQ scores were a good means of predicting
how successful a learner would be. Recent studies have shown that these measures
may be more strongly related to certain kinds of second language abilities than to
others. Intelligence may be a strong factor when it comes to learning. It may play a
less important role in classrooms where the instruction focuses more on
communication and interaction.
It is complex. Individuals have many kinds of abilities and strengths, not all of
which are measured by traditional IQ tests. Many students whose academic
performance has been experienced considerably success in second language
learning.
Aptitude
Some individuals have an exceptional aptitude for language learning. Learning
quickly is the distinguishing feature of aptitude. The most widely used aptitude
tests are the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) and the Pimsleur Language
Aptitude Battery (PLAB). Both based on the view that aptitude is composed of
different types of abilities: 1- the ability to identify and memorize new sounds; 2the ability to understand the function of particular words in sentences; 3- the
ability to figure out grammatical rules from language samples; 4- memory for new
words.
Successful language learners may not be strong in all of the components of
aptitude. Teachers may find that knowing the aptitude profile of their students
will help them in selecting appropriate classroom activities for particular groups of
students.
Personality
A number of personality characteristics have been proposed as likely to affect
second language learning, but it has not been easy to demonstrate their effects in
empirical studies. As with other research investigating the effects of individual
characteristics on second language learning, different studies measuring a similar
personality trait produce different results. An extroverted person is well suited to
language learning. Success is correlated with learners scores on characteristics
often associated with extroversion such as assertiveness and adventurousness;

others have found many successful language learners do not get high scores on
measures of extroversion.
Another aspect studied is inhibition which discourages risk- taking. Its a problem
of adolescents, who are more self-conscious than younger learners. Inhibition is a
negative force for second language pronunciation performance.
Several other personality characteristics such as self-esteem, empathy,
dominance, talkativeness, and responsiveness have also been studied. The major
difficulty in investigating personality characteristics is that of identification and
measurement.
Many researchers believe that personality will be shown to have an important
influence on success in language learning. Probably not personality alone, but the
way it combines with other factors, that contributes to second language learning.
MOTIVATION AND ATTITUDES
There has been a great deal of research on the role of attitudes and motivation in
second language learning. Positive attitudes and motivation are related to success
in second language learning. The question is, are learners more highly motivated
because the are successful, or they are successful because they are highly
motivated?
Motivation can be defined in terms of two factors: learners communicative needs
and their attitudes towards the second language community. If learners need to
speak the second language in a wide range of social situations they will perceive the
communicative value of the second language and therefore be motivated to acquire
proficiency in it. The terms integrative motivation refer to language learning for
personal growth and cultural enrichment, and instrumental motivation for language
learning for more immediate or practical goals.
Depending on the learners attitudes, learning a second language can be a source of
enrichment or a source of resentment. If the reason for learning the second
language is external pressure, internal motivation may be minimal and general
attitudes towards learning may be negative.
One factor which affects motivation is the social dynamic or power relationship
between the languages. That is, members of a minority group learning the language
of a majority group have different attitudes and motivation from majority group
members learning a minority language.
Motivation in the classroom setting
In a teachers mind, motivated students are those who participate actively in class,
express interest and study a great deal. If we can make our classroom places
where students enjoy coming because the content is interesting, where the
learning goals are challenging yet manageable, where the atmosphere is supportive

and non- threatening, we can make a positive contribution to students motivation


to learn. Also:
-motivating students into the lesson
-varying the activities, tasks and materials
- using co-operative rather than competitive goals
Learner preferences
Learners have clear preferences for how they go about learning new material
(learning style). People cannot learn something until they have seen it. Such
learners would fall into the group called visual learners. Other people, may be
called aural learners, need only to hear something once or twice before they know
it. Others are kinaesthetic learners, need to add a physical action to the learning
process. In contrast considerably research has focused on a cognitive learning
style distinction between field independent and field dependent learners. An
individual tends to separate details from the general background or to see thing
holistically. Another category is based on the individuals temperament or
personality.
When learners express a preference for seeing something written or for
memorizing material, we should not assume that the ways of working are wrong. We
should encourage them to use all means available.
Learners beliefs
All the learners, have strong beliefs and opinions about how their instruction
should be delivered. Usually based on previous learning experiences and the
assumption that a particular type o instruction is the best way for them to learn.
Learners beliefs can be strong mediating factors in the experience in the
classroom.
Learners preferences for learning, will influence the kind of strategies they use in
order to learn new material.
Age of acquisition
A learner characteristic: age. Its easier to define and measure than personality,
aptitude and motivation.
Children from immigrant families eventually speak the language of their new
community with native-like fluency. Many adults second language learners become
capable of communicating very successfully in the language but, difference of
accent, word choice or grammatical features distinguish them from native speakers
and second language speakers.
In first language acquisition, there is a critical period for second language
acquisition. There is a time in human development when the brain is predisposed to
succeed in language learning. Changes in the brain affect the nature of language

acquisition. According to this view, language learning which occurs after the end of
a critical period may not be based on the innate biological structures to contribute
to first language acquisition or second lang acquisition in early childhood. The
critical period ends somewhere around puberty, some even earlier.
Younger learners (Critical period Hypothesis) have more time to devote to learning
a language. They have more opportunities to hear and use the language in
environments where they do not experience pressure to speak fluently. Older
learners are in situations which demand more complex language. Adults are often
embarrassed with their lack of mastery of the language and must develop a sense
of inadequacy after experiences of frustration in trying to say exactly what they
mean.
Some studies of older and younger learners have shown that older learners are
more efficient than younger students. In educational research, learners who began
learning a second language at the primary school level did not fare better in the
long run than those who began in early adolescence.
Critical Period Hypothesis: More than just accent?
Most studies have focused on learners phonological (pronunciation) achievement.
Older learners have a noticeable foreign accent. Is syntax dependent on age of
acquisition
as
phonological
development?
What
about
morphology
? One study that attempted to answer these questions was done by Mark
Patkowski.
Mastery of the spoken language
Mark Patkowski studied the effect of the age on the acquisition of features of a
second language other than accent. He hypothesized that, even if accent were
ignored, only those who had begun learning their second language before the age of
15 could ever achieve full, native-like mastery of that language.
Patkowskis first question. Will there be a difference between learners who began
to learn English before puberty and those who began learning English later? It
Was answered with a yes. Age was closely related to the other factors that it was
not really possible to separate them completely. Person who had lived in the
country for 15 years might speak better than one who had been there for only 10
years. However, a person who had arrived in the United States at the age of 18 and
had lived there for 20 years did not score significantly better than someone had
arrived at the age of 18 but only lived there for 10 years.
Thus Patkowski found that age of acquisition in a very important factor in setting
limits on the development of native-like mastery of second language and that this
limitation does not apply only to accent.

Native-like mastery of the spoken language is difficult to attain by older learners.


Even the ability appears to be affected by the age factor.
Intuition of grammaticality
Jaqueline Johnson and Elissa Newport conducted a study of 46 Chinese and Korean
speakers who had begun to learn English at different ages.
They found that there was a strong relationship between an early start to language
learning and better performance in the second language. Those who began before
the age of 15, especially before the age of 10, there were few individual
differences in second language ability. Those who began later did not have nativelike language abilities and were more likely to differ from one another in ultimate
attainment.
This study, supports the hypothesis that there is a critical period for attaining full
native-like mastery of a second language.
Is younger really better?
Catherine Snow and Marian Hoefnagel- Hohle published an article based on a
research project they had carried out in Holland. They studied the progress of a
group of English speakers who were learning Dutch as a second language. (including
children from three years old to older children, adolescents and adults. A large
number of tasks was used to measure different types of language use and language
knowledge.
-pronunciation
Auditory discrimination
Morphology
Sentence repetition
Sentence translation
Sentence judgement task
Peabody Picture vocabulary ( learners saw 4 pictures and heard 1 isolate word.
They should indicate which picture matched the word)
Story comprehension task
Storytelling task
Learners were divided into children (3 to 10), adolescents (12 to 15) and adults (18
to 60)
At what age should second language instruction begins?
Younger is better. Older learners may well speak with an accent because they want
to continue being identified with their first language. It is better to begin second
language instruction as early as possible. It is very important to bear in mind the
context of these levels. However, early intensive exposure to the second language
may entail the loss or in incomplete development of the childs first language.

It is assumed that the childs native language will remain the primary language, it
may be more efficient to begin second or foreign language teaching later.
After years of classes, learners feel frustrated by the lack of progress, and their
motivation to continue may be diminished. School programs should be based on
realistic estimates of how long it takes to learn a second language. One or two
hours a week will not produce very advanced second language speakers, no matter
how young they were when they began.
MOTIVATION
6.1 Introduction:
It is one of the most powerful influences on learning and is sometimes used as a
blanket term to signify that someone has a general disposition to learn. The term
motivation is composed of many different and overlapping factors such as
interest, curiosity or a desire to achieve. It is also subject to various external
influences such as parents, teachers and exams. Well focus on a cognitive approach
where the emphasis is placed upon ways in which individuals make sense of their
learning experiences and are seen as being motivated by their conscious thoughts
and feelings.
6.2 Early psychological views on motivation
Early work was based upon the behaviour of animals in laboratories. In this way,
human motivation to learn any particular thing was accounted for in terms of what
biological needs were being met during the early learning years and what kind of
reward or reinforcement was provided for early attempts to learn. This kind of
approach gave rise to modern behaviourism with its emphasis upon the nature and
scheduling of reward system as the most effective way of motivation largely in
terms of external forces.
Behaviourism would consider motivation in terms of external forces. What specific
condition give rise to what kind of behaviour and how the consequences of that
behaviour affect whether it is more or less likely to happen again.
Murray identified a large number of human needs as causing inner tensions which
had to be released. Motivation was defined in terms of the press the urge to
release the tension and satisfy.
For many years such drive reduction theories dominated theory and research on
motivation.
6.2.1 Achievement motivation

a reformulation of the drive reduction approach was the notion of need to achieve
or achievement motivation. It states that people differ markedly in their need to
achieve or to be successful. For some people, the drive to succeed dominates their
lives and pushes them to be high achievers whereas for others, it really doesnt
seem to matter if they do well or not. At the same time, a person might be inclined
to avoid engaging in an activity because of fear of failure. Achievement motivation
can be determined as the relative strength of the tendency to approach a task
compared with the strength of the tendency to avoid the task.
However, in its early form, achievement theory placed little emphasis upon how
people made sense of the tasks with which they were presented. The drive to
achieve was viewed as unconscious and as a simple cancelling out of conflicting
forces a kind of approach/avoidance ratio.

6.2.2 Optimal arousal


The drive reduction and achievement theories had several problems, one of them is
that they were based on the fundamental principle of homeostasis. They assume
that animals and humans prefer not to be in a state of arousal and are constantly
seeking to be in a more settled state. A complementary view emerged suggesting
that both humans and animals seek a level of optimal arousal at which they
function best without having to meet any other basic needs.
Early approaches were not satisfactory because they were too simplistic and based
on the principle of homeostasis, which does not always apply even to animal
behaviour and they presented a view of individuals at they mercy of forces beyond
their control.
6.3 Motivation in foreign and second language learning
The learning of a foreign language involves far more than simply learning skills, or a
system of rules or a grammar; it involves an alteration in self-image, the adoption
of a new social and cultural behaviours and ways of being and therefore has a
significant impact on the social nature of the learner. (Learning a second language
is learning to be another social person - Crookall)
Success in learning a foreign language will be influenced particularly by attitudes
towards the community of speakers of that language. Language learning will also be
affected by the whole social situation, context and culture in which the learning
takes place.

The socio-educational model incorporates the learners cultural beliefs, their


attitudes towards this learning situation, their integrativeness and their
motivation. (Garner)
He defines motivation as the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal
of learning the language plus favourable attitudes towards learning the language.
Garner also makes a distinction between integrative and instrumental orientations.
Orientation is not the same as motivation but represents reasons for studying
language.
Integrative orientation: occurs when the learner is studying a language because of
a wish to identify with the culture of speakers of that language.
Instrumental orientation: describes a group of factors concerned with motivation
arising form external goals such as passing exams, financial rewards, furthering
careers or gaining promotions.
Integrative orientation is one of the factors that contributes towards integrative
motivations. Ellis identifies 6 variables.
Attitude towards the culture ?
Interest in foreign languages
Integrative orientation
Attitude towards the learning situation
Desire to learn
Attitude towards learning a language
Integrative motivation correlates with higher achievement in the language.
Integrative
While this is more important in a second language context, an instrumental
orientation may be important in other situations such as learning English in a place
where it functions more as a foreign language (China, Philippines). However, many
studies have found that a number of other factors such as confidence or
friendship may be more important than motivating factors.
In one recent attempt to make sense of the different components involved in a
second language motivation, Dornyei proposes a three level categorisation.
The language level encompasses various orientations and motives related to aspects
of the second language such as the culture and the community and the usefulness
of the language. This will influence the goals learners set and the choices they
make. The situation level includes components related to the course, the teacher
and the group dynamics.

Motivation is a multifaceted construct which will be affected by situational


factors. It also stresses the importance of what learners bring to the task of
learning.
Language level
Learner level
Learning situational level
Course-specific motivational components
Teacher- specific motivational components
Group-specific motivational components
6.4 A cognitive view on motivation
The central factor from the cognitive perspective is choice. People have choice
over the way in which they behave and have control over their actions. This is in
marked contrast to a behaviourist view which sees our actions as at the mercy of
external forces such as rewards. Motivation is concerned with issues as why people
decide to act in certain ways and what factors influence the choices they make, it
also involves decisions as to the amount of effort people are prepared to expend.
The role of the teacher becomes one of helping and enabling learners to make
suitable choices.
6.5 a social constructivist perspective
A constructivist view centres around the premise that each individual is motivated
differently. People will make their own sense of the various external influences
that surround them in ways that are personal to them therefore, what motivates
one person to learn a foreign language and keeps that person going until he or she
has achieved a level of proficiency with which he or she is satisfied will differ
from individual to individual.
6.6 a proposed definition of motivation
Cognitive definition that fits a social constructivist framework.
Motivation
A state of cognitive and emotional arousal
Which leads to a conscious decision to act, and
Which gives rise to a period of sustained intellectual and/or physical effort
In order to attain a previously set goal (or goals)

The initial arousal may be triggered by internal causes (interest, curiosity) or


external (another person or event). Enthusiasm is activated leading to make a
conscious decision o act in certain ways in order to achieve a particular goal. Once
the activity has begun, the individual needs to sustain the effort needed to achieve
the goal, to persist. All this is influenced by the context and situation, and will be
personal to the individual.
6.7 a model of motivation
It has three stages.
1. Reasons for undertaking a particular activity.
2. Deciding to do something
3. Sustaining the effort, or persisting
This will take place within a social context and culture which will influence choices
made at each stage. The fist two stages may be concerned with initiating
motivation while the last one involves sustaining motivation.
6.8 Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Extrinsic: when the reason for performing an act is to gain something outside the
activity itself, such as passing an exam or obtaining financial reward.
Intrinsic: when the experience of doing something generates interest and
enjoyment, and the reason for performing the activity lies within the activity
itself.
In reality this distinction is not watertight and many of our actions are prompted
by a mixture of both reasons. Susan Harter views them as the opposite ends of a
continuum. She distinguishes 5 separate dimensions that are considered to
comprise motivation.
Intrinsic
Preference for challenge
Curiosity/interest
Independent mastery

Vs
Vs
Vs

Independent judgement

Vs

Internal criteria for success

Vs

Extrinsic
Preference for easy work
Pleasing teacher/getting grades
Dependence of teacher in figuring out
problems
Reliance on teachers judgement about
what to do
External criteria for success

It is more realistic to suggest that one form of motivation influences another or to


see all the factors interacting to affect each other.
Te first two dimensions are concerned with reasons for acting while the last two
are more concerned with acting in a motivated way or sustaining the effort.
6.9 Perceived values of the activity
The greater the value that individuals attach to the accomplishment of or
involvement in an activity, the more highly motivated they will be both to engage in
it initially, and later to put sustained effort into succeeding in the activity.
6.10 Arousal
A state of arousal needs to be maintained to enable someone to put in the
necessary effort to complete an activity satisfactorily. One major component is
curiosity and it was the identification of it as a motivating variable that provided a
significant landmark in cognitive theory. It appears to be important to ensure an
optimum level of arousal and complexity. If a task is too complex it is likely to
induce confusion and an avoidance to response rather than prove appealing.
When people are involved in activities considered highly motivating, the following
conditions are likely to apply:
Mind and body are involved
Deep concentration
They know what they want to do
They know how well they are doing
They are not worried about failing
Time passes quickly
Lose of ordinary sense of self-conscious gnawing worry that characterises much
of daily life.
The term coined to describe the total involvement is called flow experience.
6.11 Learners beliefs about themselves
6.11.1 A sense of agency
The sense people have of whether they cause and are in control of their actions, or
whether they perceive that what happens to them in controlled by other people is
an important determinant in motivation. These factors are part of a (sense of
agency)

Locus of causality
Whether people see themselves (origins) or others (pawns) as the cause of their
action. The consequences of feeling that the locus of causality lies basically within
oneself are that choices, freedom and ownership of behaviour become issues of
personal responsibility. Feeling oneself to be a pawn in the hands of others
abrogates choices and discourages any sense of personal responsibility for ones
actions.
The discovery that someone else wants me to act in a way so much tat they are
prepared to reward me for my actions, they my feelings of personal responsibility
and freedom of choice may be diminished.
Locus of control
It involves their perception of whether they are subsequently in control of their
actions. The extent to which learners are in control of their learning will have an
effect upon their motivation to be continually involved in learning the language. In
contrast, learned helplessness, refers to learners that feel they lack control over
what happens.
Effectiveness motivation
Individuals possess an inner drive towards mastery which differs from the need to
achieve. Mastery involves succeeding in a task for its own sake while achieving
entails succeeding in order to be better than other people.
Self-efficacy for learning refers to students beliefs about their capabilities to
apply effectively the knowledge and skills they already possess and thereby learn
new cognitive skills. This is one way of explaining the common distinction between
capability and performance. I may have the skills but unless I believe that I am
capable of doing so, I am unlikely to demonstrate those skills in that context.

6.11.2 Motivational style


In seeking to make sense of different patterns of responses to perceived success
and failure some theorist developed the notion of motivational style. The concept
of Learned helplessness is useful to describe people who see failure as essentially
due to a lack of ability and who feel they have no control over their actions.
The concept of mastery oriented explains failure in terms of lack of effort and
seek clues in their mistakes for ways of improving their subsequent performance.

Self-worth concern: people with high self-worth concern will seek situations wehre
they enhance their feelings and avoid situations in which they may fail or where a
great deal of effort is involved.
The implication for teachers is that their learners interpretations of how their
parents, peers and teachers perceive them exerts a critical influence on their
motivational style this their motivation to learn a language.
6.12 Setting and achieving goals
Performance Vs mastery goals
Performance: individual aim to look smart
Mastery: aim to become smarter
Peoples choices for goals reflect both their beliefs about intelligence and ability
and their typical behaviour patterns in achievement situations. The ones who
choose performance view intelligence as something fixed and unchangeable. If
their confidence is low they wont improve their performance, if it is high they will
account for success in terms of fixed intelligence.
Those who pursue learning goals (mastery) will believe that intelligence or ability is
malleable and that effort is worthwhile.
If the goal is set by someone else, teachers will need to ensure that learners are
ready, willing and able to achieve these goals in a focused and self-directed way.
The term effort-avoidance motivation describes the behaviour of people who
were motivated not to work to achieve goals set by others.
The teacher should focus on redirecting the energy put into effort-avoidance in
creative rather than controlling ways. The attunement strategy involves the
teacher negotiating with the learner all aspects of the work. The teacher is a
mediator.
6.13 The involvement of significant others
Two main factors can be seen as contributing to learners motivation to participate
in activities introduced by other people (teachers):
1. Personality or nature of the person introducing the activity.
2. the way in which the person presents the activity and works with the learner
during the completion of that activity.

Teachers must: make their intentions clear, invest tasks with personal significance
and explain clearly how to perform the activity.
6.13.1 Feedback
Behaviourists see it as a motivating influence. It can be given by means of a
praise, comment or silence.
Reinforcement: something that contributes to the recurrence of behaviour. It
can be either positive or negative.
Feedback is likely to increase motivation towards certain tasks.
It provides information that enables learners to identify specific aspects of
their performance, it should be helpful and motivating. Though if it fails, it can
have the opposite effects.
A constructivist explanation in terms of meaning that rewards convey to learners.
Praise or reward will convey messages about the kinds of behaviours expected.
The future behaviour of learners will depend upon how they perceive the
outcomes to be valued by significant others.
Psychology for Language Teachers. Williams, Marion & Burden, Robert
(1997):
An Introduction to Educational Psychology: Behaviourism and Cognitive
Psychology

EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
Schools of thought
Positivist
Behaviourism on
Language teaching
education
method
Structural approach

Audiolingual app.

Cognitive
Info-processing
approach
Attention

memory

Views on intelligence:
Fixed:

Dynamic: all
learners are
capable of
learning a
language

Constructivism
Learners make their
own personal sense of
the process of
learning

DEFINITION OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:


The application of psychology to education by focusing on the development,
evaluation and application of theories and principles of learning and instruction
that can enhance lifelong learning.(Kaplan, 1990)
However, it lacks a recognition that there is a difference between learning and
education
Consequence: many learning activities are not necessarily educative. Many
language tasks have little personal interest to the learners and have limited
educational significance beyond the task itself.
APPROACHES TO ED. PSYCHOLOGY:
Late 19th c. the discipline of psychology was deen to establish itself as a science
on a par with the natural sciences.=> scientific method: a means of gathering
data about human behaviour. => conflict between those who saw the area of
study as what went on in the human psyche and those who saw it as a
concentration upon observable behaviour.
1. Positivist school: psychologists sought to find the principles of human
learning by investigating the behaviour of animals lower down the
biological hierarchy of the animal kingdom, under rigorously defined
conditions.=> logical positivism: knowledge and facts exist within the
real world and can be discovered by setting up experiments in which
conditions are carefully controlled and where hypotheses are set up and
tested.=> this view could accept only empirical data as evidence that a
phenomenon was occurring, and rejected anything which could not be seen
or measured as unscientific. Eg. how rats learned their way through
mazes to obtain food. But since the thoughts and feelings of humans were
considered to be inaccessible to proper scientific investigation within
this paradigm, they were not investigated.
Behaviourism: has its roots within positivism and has influence on
language teaching. It arose out of the ideas of early learning theorists
who attempted to explain all learning in terms of some form of
conditioning eg. Pavlov demonstrated with dogs and other animals that
a response (salivation) generated by one stimulus(food) could be
produced by introducing a second stimulus(a bell) at the same time.=>
S-R (Stimulus-Response) theory or classical conditioning. However,
this proved to be of limited value in accounting for the enormous
range of human actions. Meanwhile, in the USA a different rout was
taken by behaviourists, who began to focus on the nature and shaping
of responses in the S-R chain, and the conditions under which s-r
relationships were formed.

Skinner: founder of modern behaviourism. Constructed a system of


principles to account for human behaviour in strictly observable
terms. Learning was the result of environmental rather than genetic
factors. Introduced the notions of operants (the range of behaviours
that organisms performed or were capable of performing) and
reinforcement. Behaviourist theory thus came to explain learning in
terms of operant conditioning: an individual responds to a stimulus by
behaving in a particular way. In this way any range of behaviours could
be gradually increased by reinforcing the behaviour required. In
turning his attention to education, Skinner argued that this could be
improved by the adoption of four procedures: teachers should make
clear what is to be taught; tasks should be broken down into
sequential steps; sts should be encouraged to work at their own pace
by means of individualised learning programmes; learning should be
programmed by incorporating the above procedures and providing
immediate positive reinforcement. Behaviourist views were a powerful
influence on the development of the audiolingual approach to language
teaching. When it is applied to lang learning, lang is seen as a
behaviour to be taught. Sts are given lang tasks in sequential steps. A
small part of the foreign lang is presented as stimulus, to which the
learner responds, by repetition or substitution. This is followed by
reinforcement by the teacher. Learning a lang is seen as acquiring a
set of appropiate mechanical habits (pattern drills, memorisation of
dialogues), and errors are frowned upon as reinforcing bad habits;
explanation of rules is generally given when the lang item has been well
practised. Audiolingualism does have limitations: passive role of
learners; there is little concern for what goes on inside the learners
heads; audiolingual drills can be carried out with little attention to the
meaning that the lang conveys; there is no negotiation of meanings; it
does not allow for learning from mistakes. Nevertheless, structural or
audiolingual approach has dominated lang teaching around the world.=>
reasons: since in many countries teachers are not provided with a
professional training, its easier for them to use the steps of
presentation, practice, repetition and drills and to follow their
coursebook; teach who lack confidence tend to be less frightened; but
the mayor reason is that it is underpinned by a coherent psychological
perspective (behaviourism), whereas more communicative approaches
have lacked a coherent theory of learning. Another positive point is
the part played by parents/teach in setting appropriate learning
conditions and ensuring particular kinds of behavioural consequences.

Behaviourisms negative point is that it is only concerned with


observable behaviour.
2. Cognitive psychology: it is focused in the mental processes that are
involved in learning. The learner is an active participant and uses mental
strategies. However, the ways in which human thought has been
investigated have themselves varied considerably. At one extreme are
information theorists who have drawn the analogy of the brain as a highly
complex computer and who seek to explain its working in terms of rules
and models of how different aspects of learning take place. At the other
extreme is the constructivist movement (Jean Piaget, George Kelly),
concerned with ways in which individuals come to make their own sense of
the world. Yet another aspect of cognitive psychology is the rich and
varied literature on human intelligence. Some theories seek to explain
what is intelligence and others to measure it by methods as IQ testing.
These different approaches to cognition are information processing and
constructivism.
Information processing: it is an approach to learning concerned
with the way in which people take in information, process it and act
upon it. Attention, perception and memory become the focus of the
work. These theorists construct models to try to account for the
way in which the human mind works. They claim to be able to
predict the kind of mental processes that will be necessary for
effective learning to take place and to identify precisely how and
where any malfunctioning is occurring when a person is displaying
learning difficulties. Attention: some learners have considerably
difficulty in paying attention to their work and that invariably this
will have a negative effect on their learning. Why do ppl differ so
much in this respect and what can the teach do? One view suggests
that attention should be seen as a process of filtering out an
overwhelming range of incoming stimuli and selecting out only those
stimuli which are important for further processing. Another view
conceptualises att. as a cognitive resource which can be drawn upon
as a means of concentrating out mental efforts. But as one
becomes more skilful as in the case of reading, there is less need
to call upon ones full att. Memory : Atkinson and Shiffrins model
describes memory in terms of a sensory register where stimuli are
initially recorded for a brief amount of time before being passed
into short-term memory, lasting no longer than 30 seconds.
Because of its small capacity (about 7 items at any one time), it is
necessary to find ways of breaking down complex material into
related chunks before consigning these to the long-term memory

store. One way to do this is by rehearsal, in the form of repetition


or association of meaning to what is to be remembered. Practical
implications: memory is very important in learning a language. There
is nothing to be gained from overloading learners short-term
memory without some form of rehearsal (mnemonic strategies and
involving more than one of the senses; linkword method: linking
words in both the first and second language to construct a picture
in the mind; advanced organisers: topical introduction to a lesson
that orientates learners to the subject matter and relates new
learning to what the learners already know). Intelligence and
intelligence testing: early views arose out of the work of pioneers
of the eugenics movement who were committed to the improvement
of the human race by genetic engineering; taken up by
psychometricians who sought ways to measure the so-called g
(general intelligence) factor and gave rise to misguided notions
that some races were intellectually superior to others (IQ tests,
Carroll and Sapons Modern Lang Aptitude Test (MLAT)). These
tests were based on the premise that ppl possess a fixed amount
of ability at lang learning, and that this ability can be measured. A
recent development of this traditional view stems from the work
of the Harvard psychologist Gardner. He argues that instead of
viewing intelligence as a unitary faculty, we should consider the
possibility of different kinds of intelligences (7, one of which is
linguistic intelligence). Vernon provided a helpful but unjustly
neglected, perspective on the issue of whether and how intel. could
be measured. Intel A: intel with which we are born. However, bc we
are all affected by our environments, this genetic endowment can
never be measured. Intel B: intel we display in all aspects of our
everyday lives which is continually changing and very much contextbound. Intel C: represents what is measured by IQ tests. However,
the kind of intelligence that these tests represent has not been as
good as a central factor in learning and can even act as a barrier
to teachers understanding of the learning process. Stengberg
proposed a triarchic theory of intel which contains three major
sets of components. Metacomponents: cognitive skills employed in
planning and decision making=>recognition that a problem exists,
awareness of various possible strategies to solve it. Performance:
basic operations involved in actually solving any given
task=>inferential thinking, drawing comparisons. Knowledge
acquisition: processes used in acquiring new knowledge=> selecting
relevant info, integrating it to what is already known. Since the

main emphasis in this approach is placed upon the conception of


intel behaviour as the appropriate use of cognitive skills and
strategies within specific contexts, it frees us from conceiving it
as something that is static. It also enables us to see that ppl can
become more intelligent.
Constructivism: although info processing approaches can be helpful,
they place little or not emphasis upon the ways in which individuals
seek to bring a sense of personal meaning to their worlds. To
understand this kind of cognitive approach we need to look towards
the constructivist movement. Piaget: the main underlying
assumption of constructivism is that individuals are actively
involved right from birth in constructing personal meaning from
their experiences. The learner is brought into central focus in
learning theory.

UNIT 3
Teaching English in the Primary Classroom Susan Halliwell
1) Working with young language learners
Children come to language classroom with a well-established set of instincts, skills
and characteristics which will help them to learn another language. For example, children:
Are already very good at interpreting meaning without necessarily understanding
the individual words,
Already have great skill in using limited language creatively,
Frequently learn indirectly rather than directly,
Take great pleasure in finding and creating fun,
Have a ready imagination,
Take great delight in talking.

1.1 Childrens ability to grasp meaning


Children are able to understand what is being said to them before they understand the
individual words. Intonation, gesture, facial expressions, actions and circumstances all help
to understand the language. In later life, we all maintain this first source of understanding
and it is a fundamental part of human communication.
When children encounter a new language at school, they can call on the same skill to
help them interpret the new sounds, new words and new structures. We must support and
develop this skill and at the same time, we must not try to undermine the childrens
willingness to use the skill.
1.2 Childrens creative use of limited language resources

In the early ages of their mother tongue development, children are creative with
grammatical forms and with concepts. Children also create words by analogy, or they even
invent completely new words which then come into the family vocabulary.
This phenomenon is fundamental to language development. We sit it in all children
acquiring their mother tongue. We also know it in ourselves as adults when we are using
another language. In the process, we may produce temporarily inexact and sometimes inept
language, but we usually manage to communicate. In doing so we are actually building up our
grasp of the language because we are actively recombining and constructing it for
ourselves.
In order to make the most of the creative language skill the children bring with them,
so we have to provide them with occasions when:
o The urge to communicate makes them find some way of expressing themselves,
o The language demanded by the activity is unpredictable and isnt just asking the
children to repeat set phrases, but is arranging them to construct language actively
for themselves.
That is why games are so important. The fun element creates a desire to communicate
and create unpredictability.
In fact, if children are impatient to communicate they probably will make more not
fewer mistakes.

1.3 Children0s capacity for indirect learning


Language activities which involve children in guessing what phrase or word someone has
thought of are good examples of indirect learning. Children are not trying to learn phrases:
they are concentrating on trying to guess right. Guessing is actually a very powerful way of
learning phrases and structures, but it is indirect because the mind is engaged with the
task and is not focusing on the language. The process relates to the way we develop our
mother tongue. So we acquire the language through conscious exposure and use.
Conscious direct learning seems to encourage worked-out accuracy. Unconscious
indirect learning, or acquisition, encourages spontaneous and therefore more fluent use. As
we want both accuracy and fluency to develop, we have to provide scope to both systems
to operate in classroom. The children who like to get on with something no matter how it
comes out will need encouragement to work at conscious accuracy, and others who are keen
to be precise will need encouragement to risk getting things wrong sometimes in order to
communicate.
It is a good idea to set up real tasks in the language classrooms. For example, games
provide an opportunity for the real using and processing of language while the mind is
focused on the task of playing the game.
1.4 Childrens instinct for play and fun
No matter how well we explain an activity there is often someone in the class who
produces a version of their own. Sometimes it is better than the teachers original idea.
Here, as in the guessing activities, their personalities emerge woven into the language use
and they start to think for themselves

Through their sense of fun and play, children are living the language for real. We can
see again why games have such a central role to play.

1.5 The role of imagination


Children test out their versions of the world through fantasy and confirm how the
world actually is through imagination. In the language classroom this capacity for fantasy
and imagination has a very constructive part to play.
If we accept the role of the imagination in childrens lives we can see that it provides
another very powerful stimulus for real language use. We want to stimulate the childrens
creative imagination so that they want to use the language to share their ideas.
1.6 The instinct for interaction and talk
Of all the instincts and attributes that children bring to the classroom this is probably
the most important for the language teacher. It is one of the most powerful motivators
for using the language. Children can learn about the language, but the only way to learn to
use it is to use it. So our job is to make sure that the desire to talk is working for learning
not against learning.
3) Being realistic
Language classrooms are potentially noisy and demanding places. We need to be
realistic in our expectations of ourselves and the learners. On the contrary, being realistic
should mean taking realities into account in such a way that good things can still happen.

3.1 Knowing which activities stir a class and which settle them
In a positive sense, stir means that the activities wake them up, stimulate them. In
a negative sense, it may be that the activities over-excite them or allow them to become
unconstructively restless. Meanwhile, there are other activities that seem to settle
children. To put it positively, that means they will calm a class down. The negative side of
this is to say that some activities will bore the class into inertia.
It is useful to make your own list from experience of your particular class:
Usually stirs
Oral work
Competitions
Lotto
Doing plays teacher and one
student at a time

Usually settle
Copying
Colouring
Listening (if they have something
to do)
tests

3.2 Knowing which activities engage childrens minds and which keep them physically
occupied
At the risk again of oversimplifying for the sake of clarity, we can identify 2 main
types of involvement which could be described as:
Mental engagement,

Actual occupation.
If the teacher has five prompt cards showing well-known places (Eg: parks,
supermarket, etc.), children are already familiar with the words and they are now able to
produce the words by themselves. This activity makes them think, it engages their
emotions, it is fun and they are eager to choose right. In this form then, the activity is
mentally engaging in several ways. That is why children respond to it so well and why similar
activities are very effective and popular.
This kind of mental and emotional engagement contrasts with actual occupation
Again it helps to make a list:
Mentally engaging
Games
Puzzles
Competitions
Imagining
Talking
about
themselves

Actually occupying
Reading aloud
Writing
Drawing
Repetition

The teacher can do 2 things:


Choose a style of work that in terms of its stir/settle potential suits a particular
class or occasion,
Increase childrens involvement by adapting activities so that they offer both
mental engagement and actual occupation.

3.3 Choosing the style to suit the mood


There are occasions when children start the English class unsettled. It is
instinctive to calm children down in some way. However, recent language teaching has
tended to follow patterns of work which do not help to calm children but instead stir them.
But if the class is getting silly we need to make sure we change to something
settling.
There will be other occasions when you will want to achieve the reverse and wake
the class up a little at the beginning of the lesson or part way through when interest is
flagging. Again you can choose an activity which encourages that.
A teacher also can improve the quality of classroom interaction on the basis of the
insights afforded by the stir/settle factor and the involvement factor. You can look for
ways to combine mental engagement and mental occupation. This is helpful with large
classes.
There are 3 things to remember:
Keep the lesson simple
Reuse materials
Reuse ideas
3.4 Keeping the lesson simple
There are 3 things to note:

1. We wont help children to develop their capacity to concentrate if we jump from


one topic to the next,
2. There are ways to varying the oral work so that it is making different demands on
the children and therefore feels different even when the topic remains the same,
3. Even if a group of children cannot write English or if your syllabus suggests they
should not write English in the early stages, there are kinds of pencil and paper
work they can do..
So, variation does not mean we have to keep changing the topic. Instead, we can keep
to the same topic and materials and change the work we do. And we can also keep an eye on
the stir/settle and involvement factors.
The pace of the lesson is also managed so as to provide a shift from settling activity to
stirring and back to settling. In this way, the teacher can quietly keep everything under
control without that control having to be explicit.

3.5 Reusing materials


We have to look for different ways in which we can use one set of materials and
thus reduce our preparation load. But we can also reduce our thinking preparation. It is
possible to do this by identifying a core of activity types which we can use and reuse in
order to teach different language contents.
3.6 Reusing a core of ideas
These activities are simple in principle and so they will transfer to all kinds of
topics and situations. Through using these activities, you will get to know which of them
are good as stirrers and which act as settlers. You will develop ways of adapting them to
actual as well as mental involvement.

UNIT 3
Teaching English to Children Scott & Ytreberg
1) The Young Language Learner

Five and ten to eleven years old are the most vital years in a childs development.
Certain characteristics take into account in your teaching.

We are going to consider the ages of five to seven and the eight to ten
years old.
Five to seven years old
What five to seven year olds can do at their own level:

They can talk about what they are doing


About what they have done or heard
Plan activities
Argue
Use logical reasoning
Use imaginations
Use a wide range of intonation patterns
Understand direct human interaction

Other characteristics of the young language learner

They know that the world is governed by rules


They understand situations more quickly than language
Use language skills long before they are aware of them
The physical world is dominant at all times
They are very logical, what you say first happens first
Short attention and concentration span
Difficulty in knowing fact and fiction
Reluctant to share. Self-centered up to the age of six, sometimes pupils dont want to
work together because they dont see the point
Adult world and child world are not the same. Adults usually find out by asking
questions, but children dont always ask
The will seldom admit that they dont know something
Young children cannot decide for themselves what to learn
Love to play, learn best when they are enjoying themselves. But they also take
themselves seriously and like to think that what they are doing is real work
Enthusiastic and positive about learning

Eight to ten years old


General characteristics

Relatively mature
Basic concepts are formed, decided views of the world
Tell the difference between fact and fiction
Ask questions all the time
Rely on the spoken world as the physical
Able to make decisions
Definite views about they like and dont like
Developed sense of fairness
Work with others

Language development
Basic elements in place. Competent users of the mother tongue
o Understand abstracts
o Understand symbols
o Generalise and systematize
Similarities between learning ones mother tongue and learning a foreign language.
Depend on which mother tongue and on social and emotional factors. Eight to ten have
language awareness and readiness
From five to ten are dramatic changes.
The magic age is around seven or eight
Seven or eight begin to make sense of adult world

What this means for our teaching


Words are not enough

Activities should include movements and involve the sense, objects and pictures and you
should demonstrate what they have to do.
Play with the language
Let them experiment with very natural stage, in the first stages of foreign language
learning too.
Language as language
Becoming aware of language as something separate from the events taking place takes
time. Spoken world is often accompanied by the other clues to meaning-facial expression,
movement, etc.
Reading and writing are important for the childs growing awareness of language and for
their own growth in the language.
Variety in the classroom
Variety is a must activity, pace, organization, voice.
Routines
Children benefit from knowing the rules and being familiar with the situation. They have
systems and routines. They use familiar situations, familiar activities. They repeat stories,
rhymes, etc.
Cooperation not competition
Avoid rewards and prizes. Other forms are more effective, like shared experiences are
source of language work and atmosphere of involvement. Group the children.
Grammar
How good they are in a foreign language is not dependent on whether they have learnt the
grammar rules or not. Few are able to cope with grammar; they are not usually mature
enough to talk about it. Include the barest minimum of grammar, the best time to
introduce simple grammar is when a pupil asks for an explanation or when you think a pupil
will benefit from learning some grammar.
Correcting written work might or not be appropriate to compare what happens in the
mother tongue in the same situation. Explanations should be given on a individual-group
basis when the pupils themselves are asking the questions.
Assessment
It is useful for the teacher to make regular notes about each childs progress, talking to
children regularly about their work and encouraging, stressing the positive side of things
and playing.

2) Class management and atmosphere


What is an ideal teacher

As a teacher of young children it helps a lot if you have a sense of humour, youre
open-minded, adaptable, patient, etc. but if you are silent, reserved type, you can
work your attitude and abilities.
Abilities
Learn to sing or even play a musical instrument, mime, act and draw.
Attitudes
Respect your pupils and be realistic. As a teacher you have to appear to like all your
pupils equally. Children need to know that the teacher likes them, feel secure in
what youre doing.
Helping the children to feel secure
Once children feel secure they can be encourage to become independent. Pupils
need to know what is happening. Respect your pupils.
Whenever a pupil is trying to tell you something, accept whatever he or she says.
Constant, direct correction is not effective.
Ideal pupils shouldnt laugh at others mistakes (rules of the class). Children of all
ages are sometimes unkind to each other without meaning to be.
Establish routines: talk about news, have a book of the month, birthday calendar,
weather chart. These routines build up familiarity and security for both age
groups.
Give the children the responsibility for doing practical jobs. Avoid organized
competitions. Language learning is a situation where everyone can win. Avoid giving
physical reward or prizes. Include, dont exclude.
Dont give children English names.
The physical surrounding
Children respond well to surrounding which are pleasant and familiar. Put at the
walls calendars, posters, postcards, pupils drawings, writing, etc, but still leaves
you space to work. Encourage the children to bring in objects, tell the rest of the
class a little bit about them in English. Mark files and boxes.
Grouping the children
Not all children will take to pair and groupwork at once. Five and six years are
often happiest working alone, cooperation is something which has to be nurtured
and learnt. They often develop a group identity. This type of arrangement makes it
easier to see when pupils are ready cooperate with other pupils.
Pair work
Pair work is useful and efficient.
Let pupils who are sitting near each other work together, dont move desks
Establish a routine for pair work
Not all pairs will finish at the same time. Dont be tempted to let the pair work
continue until everyone has finished

Be on the look out for pupils who simply do not like each other
Go through what you want pupils to do before you put them into their pairs
Group work
Introducing group work
If your pupils are not used to work in groups, you can introduce them
gradually to group work.
1. Having teaching groups groups which you teach separately from the rest of
the class
2. Introducing self-reliant groups which are given something to do on their
own
3. Start with just one group. Tell them clearly what the purpose is
4. Go through this process with all the groups before you let the whole class
work in groups at the same time
Numbers
Limit numbers in the group to between three and five.
Who works with whom?
Children should not be allowed to choose their groups because this takes a lot of
time and usually someone is left out. Sometimes group them according to ability.
Classroom language
If cooperation and communication are to be part of the process of learning a
language as well as part of the process of growing up, then the sooner the pupils
learn simple, meaningful expressions in English, the easier it will be.
Here are some faces which all your pupils should learn as soon as possible. Note
that they should be taught as phrases not as words or structures.
Do remember please and thank you. So do the words for all the things in the
classroom.
Try to speak English as much of the time as you can, using mime, acting, puppets
and any other means you can think of. Your pupils are unlikely to have the
opportunity to hear English all day, keep your language simple but natural, and keep
it at their level.
You will have to decide for yourself how much mother tongue you use it depends
very largely on your own individual class. You can always convey the meaning of what
you are saying by the tone of voice and body language you dont always have to
switch languages.

The Natural Approach

Background
In 1977 Tracy Terrell (teacher of Spanish in California) outlined a proposal for a
new philosophy of language teaching called Natural Approach. This was an attempt to
develop a language teaching proposal that incorporated the naturalistic principles
researchers had identified in studies of second language acquisition. The Natural Approach
grew out of Terrells experiences teaching Spanish classes, in elementary to advancedlevel classes and with other languages. Terrell joined forces with Stephen Krashen (applied
linguist at the University of Southern California) in elaborating a theoretical rationale for
the Natural Approach.
Krashen and Terrell identified the Natural Approach with what they call
traditional approaches (defined as based on the use of language in communicative
situations without recourse to the native language and grammatical drilling, or a particular
theory of grammar) to language teaching. They noted that such approaches have been
called natural, psychological, phonetic, new, reform, direct, analytic, imitative and so
forth. There are important differences between the Natural Approach and the older
Natural Method.
The Natural Method is another term for what by 1900 was the Direct Method: the
method consisted of a series of monologues by the teacher with exchanges of question and
answer with the pupil in the foreign language. With gesticulation, attentive listening and
repetition the learner came to associate certain acts and objects with certain
combinations of the sounds and finally he reproduced the foreign words or phrases.
The term natural emphasized that the principles underlying the method were
believed to conform to the principles of naturalistic language learning in young children.
Similarly, the Natural Approach is believed to conform to the naturalistic principles found
in successful second language acquisition. Unlike the Direct Method it places less emphasis
on teacher monologues, direct repetition and formal questions and answers, and less focus
on accurate production of target-language sentences. In the Natural Approach there is an
emphasis on exposure, or input, rather than practice.
Approach

Theory of language
Krashen and Terrell see communication as the primary function of language and they
refer to the Natural Approach as an example of a communicative approach. The Natural
Approach is similar to other communicative approaches being developed today. They
reject earlier methods of language teaching, such as the Audiolingual Method, which
viewed grammar as the central component of language. The major problem with these
methods was that they were built not around actual theories of language acquisition, but
theories of something else (ex.: the structure of language). What Krashen and Terrell do
describe about the nature of language emphasizes the primacy of meaning. The importance
of the vocabulary is stressed (ex. : a language is essentially its lexicon and only
inconsequently the grammar that determines how the lexicon is exploited to produce
messages).

Language is viewed as a vehicle for communicating meanings and messages. Krashen


and Terrell stated that acquisition can take place only when people understand messages
in the target language. They view language learning, as do audiolinguists, as mastery of
structures by stages. The input hypothesis states that in order for acquires to progress
to the next stage in the acquisition of the target language, they need to understand input
language that includes a structure that is part of the next stage (Krashens formula I
1). The Natural Approach thus assumes a linguistic hierarchy of structural complexity
that one masters through encounters with input containing structures at the I 1 level.

Theory of learning
Krashen and Terrell make continuing reference to the theoretical and reearch base
claimed to underlie the Natural Approach and that the method is unique in having such a
base. it is based on an empirically grounded theory of second language acquisition
supported by scientific studies ina variety of language acquisition and learning contexts.
The principal tenets on which the Natural Approach theory is based are:
The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis: it claims that there are 2 distinctive ways of
developing competence in a second or foreign language. Acquisition refers to an
unconscious process that involves the naturalistic development of language
proficiency through understanding language and through using language for
meaningful communication. Learning, by contrast, refers to a process in which
conscious rules about a language are developed. It results in explicit knowledge
about the forms of a language and the ability to verbalize this knowledge. Formal
teaching is necessary for learning to occur, and correction of errors helps with
the development of learned rules. Learning cannot lead to acquisition.
The Monitor Hypothesis: it claims that we may call upon learned knowledge to
correct ourselves when we communicate, but that conscious learning has only this
function. 3 conditions limit the use of the monitor:
1. Time: sufficient time to choose and apply a learned rule.
2. Focus on form: focus on correctness or on the form of the output
3. Knowledge of rules: they must be simple to describe and not require
complex movements and rearrangements.
The Natural Order Hypothesis: it claims that the acquisition of grammatical
structures proceeds in a predictable order. Certain grammatical structures or
morphemes are acquired before others in first language acquisition of English and
in second language acquisition. Errors are signs of naturalistic developmental
processes and during acquisition (not in learning) similar developmental errors
occur.
The Input Hypothesis: it claims to explain the relationship between what the
learner is exposed to of a language (the input) and language acquisition. It involves 4
main issues:
1. The hypothesis relates to acquisition, not to learning.
2. People acquire language best by understanding input slightly beyond their
current level of competence.

3. The ability to speak fluently cannot be taught directly (it emerges in


time).
4. If there is sufficient quantity of comprehensible input (utterances that
the learner understand based on the context in which they are used as
well as the language in which they are phrased), I 1 will usually be
provided automatically.
The Affective Filter Hypothesis: Krashen sees the learners emotional state or
attitudes as an adjustable filter that freely passes, impedes, or blocks input
necessary to acquisition. A low affective filter is desirable (it impedes or blocks
less the input). The hypothesis is built on research in second language acquisition,
which has identified 3 kinds of affective or attitudinal variables:
1. Motivation
2. Self-confidence
3. Anxiety
This hypothesis states that acquirers with low affective filter seek and receive
more input, interact, and are more receptive to the input they receive. Anxious acquirers
have a high affective filter, which prevents acquisition.
To sum:

As much comprehensible input as possible.


Whatever helps comprehension is important (ex.: visual aids help to the vocabulary).
The focus in classroom: listening and reading. Speaking emerges.
To low the affective filter: student work should center on meaningful
communication rather than on form and there should be interesting input.

Design

Objectives
The Natural Approach is for beginners and is designed to help them become
intermediates. Students will be able to function adequately in the target situation. They
will understand the speaker of the target language, and will be able to convey their
requests and ideas. They need not know every word nor need the syntax and vocabulary to
be flawless. They should be able to make meaning clear but not necessarily be accurate.
However, specific objectives depend on learner needs and the skill (reading, writing,
listening, or speaking) and level being taught.
Krashen and Terrell believe that it is important to communicate to learners what they can
expect of a course as well as what they should not expect.

The syllabus

Krashen and Terrell approach course organization from 2 points of view. First, they
list some typical goals for language courses and suggest which of them are the ones at
which the Natural Approach aims. The goals are in 4 areas:
1. Basic personal communication skills: oral.
2. Basic personal communication skills: written.
3. Academic learning skills: oral.
4. Academic learning skills: written.
The Natural Approach is primarily designed to develop basic communication skills-both
oral and written. Communication goals may be expressed in terms of situations, functions
and topics. This approach to syllabus design would appear to derive to some extent from
threshold level specifications.
Content selection should aim to create a low affective filter by being interesting
and fostering a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, a wide exposure to vocabulary and resist any
focus on grammatical structures.

Types of learning and teaching activities


A class taught according to the Natural Approach, emphasis is on presenting
comprehensible input in the target language. Teacher talk focuses on objects in the
classroom and on he content of pictures. Learners are not required to say anything until
they feel ready, but they are expected to respond to teacher commands and questions.
The teacher talks slowly and distinctly, asking questions and eliciting one-word
answers. Acquisition activities are emphasized. Pair or group work may be employed,
followed by whole-class discussion led by the teacher.
What characterizes the Natural Approach is the use of familiar techniques within
the framework of a method that focuses on providing comprehensible input and a
classroom environment that cues comprehension of input, minimizes learner anxiety, and
maximizes learner self-confidence.

Learner roles
Learners roles are seen to change according to their stage of linguistic
developments.
In the pre-production stage, students participate in the language activity without
having to respond in the target language.
In the early-production stage, students respond to either-or questions, use single
words and short phrases, fill in charts, and use fixed conversational patterns.
In the speech-emergent phase, students involve themselves in role play and games,
contribute personal informations and opinions, and participate in group problem solving.
4 kinds of responsibilities for learners:
1. Provide information about tjeir specific goals
2. Take an active role in ensuring comprehensible input.

3. Decide when to start producing speech and when to upgrade it.


4. Where learning exercises are to be part, decide with the teacher the amount of
time devoted to them and complete and correct them.

Teacher roles
The Natural Approach teacher has 3 roles. First, the teacher is the primary source
of comprehensible input in the target language. The teacher is required to generate a
constant flow of language input while providing a multiplicity of non-linguistic clues to
assist students in interpreting the input. There is a center-stage role for the teacher.
Second, the teacher creates a classroom atmosphere that is interesting, friendly
and in which there is low affective filter. This is achieved in part through such Natural
Approach techniques as not demanding speech from the students before they are ready,
not correcting their errors and providing subject of high interest to students.
Finally, the teacher must choose and orchestrate a rich mix of classroom activities,
involving a variety of group sizes, content and contexts. The teacher is seen as responsible
for collecting materials and using them.
The Natural Approach teacher has to communicate clearly and compellingly to
students the assumptions, organization, and expectations of the method.

The role of instructional materials


The primary goal of materials in the Natural Approach is to make classroom
activities as meaningful as possible by supplying the extralinguistic context that helps the
acquirer to understand and thereby to acquire by relating classroom activities to the real
world, and by fostering real communication among the learners. There primary aim is to
promote comprehension and communication. (ex: pictures, visual aids, schedules, brochures,
advertisements, maps and books.).
Procedure
To illustrate procedural aspects of the Natural Approach, there are some classroom
activities that provide comprehensible input, without requiring production of responses or
minimal responses in the target language:
1. Start with TPR (Total Physical Response) commands. At first the commands
are simple.
2. Use TPR to teach names of body parts and to introduce numbers and
sequence.
3. Introduce classroom terms and props into commands. Any item which can be
brought to the class can be incorporated.
4. Use names of physical characteristics and clothing to identify members of
the class by name. Using mime, pointing and context to ensure
comprehension.
5. Use visuals, typically magazine pictures, to introduce new vocabulary and to
continue with activities requiring only student names as response.

6. Combine use of pictures with TPR.


7. Combine conversations about the pictures with commands and conditionals.
8. Using several pictures, ask students to point to the pictures being described.
In all the activities, the instructor maintains a constant flow of comprehensive
input, using key vocabulary items, gestures, context, repetition and paraphrase to ensure
the comprehensibility of the input.
Conclusion
The Natural Approach belongs to a tradition of language teaching methods based on
observation and interpretation of how learners acquire both first and second languages in
nonformal settings. Such methods reject the formal (grammatical) organization of
language. The Natural Approach is hence evolutionary rather than revolutionary in its
procedures. Its greatest claim to originality lies not in the techniques it employs but in
their in a method that emphasizes comprehensible and meaningful practice activities,
rather than production of grammatical perfect utterances and sentences.