Second Trimester Language Acquisition by TMF7E28j


									                      Lebanese University – English Department
                               Language Acquisition
                        Professor: Dr. Roula Yazigi – Student: Marie-Rose Zeenny

                                  SECOND TRIMESTER

                                 Session 8 - Thursday January 05, 2006

                       “Principles of Language Learning & Teaching”
► Introduction:
1. In language teaching, we must practice and practice, again and again. Just watch a small child
   learning his mother tongue. He repeats things over and over again. During the language-learning
   stage he practices all the time. This is what we must also do when we learn a foreign language.
   This is imitation that does not lead to competence.
2.   Language learning is mainly a matter of imitation. You must be a mimic. Just like a small child.
     He imitates everything. This is wrong.
3. First, we practice the separate sounds, then words, then sentences. That is the natural order (at
   home) and is therefore right for learning a foreign language.
4. Watch a small child’s speech development. First the listens, then he speaks. Understanding
   always precedes speaking. Therefore, this must be the right order of presenting the skill in a
   foreign language.
5. A small child listens and speaks and no one would dream of making him read or write. Reading
   and writing are advanced stages of language development. The natural order for first and second
   language learning is listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
6. You did not have to translate when you were small. If you were able to learn your own language
   without translation, you should be able to learn a foreign language in the same way. Students
   would then find it easier if L1 is used but if the child wants to say something in L2 and he
   cannot, he should find a way. Students should not reach the frustration stage of not knowing how
   to speak L2. If he does not know how to say something in L2 and which structure to use, then no
   motivation and he would drop speaking L2.
7. A small child simply uses language. He goes not learn formal grammar. You don’t tell him about
   verbs and nouns. Yet he learns the language perfectly. It is equally unnecessary to use
   grammatical conceptualization in teaching a foreign language. This leads to communicative
   approach. Group of people need to use a language for a purpose without teaching the formal
David Ausubel (1964) outlined a number of glaring problems with the very popular audio-lingual
method, some of whose procedures were derived from notions of “natural” (1st language) learning.
He warned:
1. That the rote learning practice of audio-lingual drills lacked the meaningfulness necessary for
   successful first and second language. (Rote learning situation does not transfer positively into a
   meaningful learning situation).

2. That adults learning a foreign language could, with their full cognitive capacities, benefit from
   deductive presentations of grammar. (Deductive: from the rule → to the practice whereas
   inductive: starting from examples & details → to the rule. Adults can make use of deductive
   techniques because they can rationalize otherwise the inductive technique will be used by those
   adults and especially by children).
3. That the native language of the learner is not just an interfering factor it can facilitate learning a
   second language. (Native language is not an interfering factor which is not necessarily negative,
   but can be sometimes beneficial. Transfer from L1: positive / interference: negative. It may not
   always be the reason for learning a second language).
4. That the written form of the language could be beneficial. (In the beginning, they considered that
   hearing was enough for developing a language, but writing can also develop a language}
5. That students could be overwhelmed by language spoken at its “natural speed” and that they, like
   children, could benefit from more deliberative speech from the teacher. (It is not very true
   nowadays that a teacher maintains his natural speech and is recommended to give more
   explanations while keeping the same pace).
All of these listed above helped in the beat line of the behavioristic approach.
► Types of Comparison and Contrast:
   Cell A1 is clearly representative of an abnormal situation; therefore, it is not very common.
   There has been a 13-year-old girl who had been socially isolated all her life until she was
   discovered, and who was faced with the task of acquiring a first language.
                              CHILDREN                            ADULTS
              L1                 C1                                 A1
              L2                 C2                                 A2
  This Chart illustrates the comparison between 1st & 2nd Language Acquisition in Adults & Children

► Neurological Considerations:
   One of the most interesting areas of inquiry in second language acquisition has been the study of
   the function of the brain in the process of acquisition. Some scholars have singled out the
   lateralization of the brain (which means that the brain has certain functions in certain parts of it)
   as the key to answer the question of how might neurological (brain) development affect second
   language success. There is evidence in neurological research that as the human brain matures
   certain functions are assigned – or “lateralized” – to the left hemisphere of the brain and certain
   other functions of the right hemisphere. Intellectual, logical, and analytic functions appear to be
   largely located in the left hemisphere while the right hemisphere controls functions related to
   emotional and social needs. Another crucial question for second language researchers has
   centered on when lateralization takes place, and how that lateralization process affects language
   acquisition. (We cannot tell why one part of the brain takes over the other. According to the
   person’s characters, we can tell or deduce whether the right hemisphere or the left hemisphere is
   active. A general belief says that first language learning occurs in the left hemisphere whereas
   second language learning takes place in the right hemisphere. Aphasia means the damage of the
   brain which deals with language acquisition that is related to lateralization.)

               Left-Brain Dominance                                Right-brain Dominance
    Intellectual                                        Intuitive
    Remembers names                                     Remembers faces
    Responds to verbal instructions and explanations    Responds to verified, illustrated or symbolic instructْ
    Experiments systematically and with control         Experiments randomly and with less restraint
    Makes objective judgments                           Makes subjective judgments
    Planned and structured                              Fluid and spontaneous
    Prefers established, certain information            Prefers abusive, uncertain information
    Analytic reader                                     Synthesizing reader
    Reliance on language in thinking and remembering    Reliance on images in thinking and remembering
    Prefers talking and writing                         Prefers drawing and manipulating objects
    Prefers multiple-choice test questions              Prefers open-ended questions
    Controls feeling                                    More free with feeling
    Not good at interpreting body language              Good at interpreting body language
    Rarely uses metaphors                               Frequently uses metaphors
    Favors logical problem solving                      Favors intuitive problem solving

   Eric Lenneberg (1967) and others have suggested that lateralization is a slow process that begins
   around the age of 2 and is completed around puberty. Thomas Scovel (1969) suggested that the
   plasticity of the brain prior to puberty enables children to acquire not only their first language but
   also a second language, and that possibly it is the very accomplishment of lateralization. A
   relatively new line of neuro-linguistic research has focused on the role of the right hemisphere in
   the acquisition of a second language. Obler notes that in second language learning there is
   significant right hemisphere participation and that “this participation is particularly active during
   the early stages of learning the second language”. Geneses concludes that “there may be greater
   right hemisphere involvement in language processing in bilinguals who acquire their second
   language late relative to their first language and in bilinguals who learn it is informal contexts.”
► Psychomotor Considerations: (Very Important)
   A tremendous degree of muscular control is required to achieve the fluency of a native speaker
   of a language. At birth the speech muscles are developed only to the extent that the larynx can
   control sustained cries. These speech muscles gradually develop, and control of some complex
   sounds in certain languages (in English the r and l are typical) sometimes is not achieved until
   after age 5. (It is the skill of controlling oneself. The holding of things whether in the right hand
   or in the left hand is generally influenced by the function of the brain. For instance, playing with
   the dough develop the brain in order to control the muscles (psychomotor skills). According to
   speech, psychomotor controls the vocal chords of the trachea or controls the muscles of the
   tongue to roll. One can be trained to do that unless there is a biological deficiency).
   A curious set of studies was undertaken by Neufeld (1977, 1979, and 1980) to determine to what
   extent adults could approximate native-speaker accents in a second language never before
   encountered. In the earliest experiment 20 adult native English speakers were taught to imitate
   10 utterances, each from 1 to 16 syllables in length, in Japanese and Chinese. Native-speaking
   Japanese and Chinese judges listened to the taped imitations. The results indicated that 11 of the
   Japanese and 9 of the Chinese imitations were judged to have been produced by “native
   speakers”. Our English is still the Lebanese English, because we were not exposed to native
   speakers before but we can still do it certainly with more difficulties. Psychomotor is the control
   of any muscle of the body coming from the brain.
   It is important to remember in all these considerations that pronunciation of a language is not by
   any means the sole criterion for acquisition, nor is it really the most important one. (We can’t
   judge the competence of a language by the pronunciation; it isn’t a criterion to measure the level
   of language competence.

► Cognitive Considerations:
   Jean Piaget outlines the course of intellectual development in a child through various stages: the
   sensory-motor stage from ages 0 to 2 (The child learns through the senses; he forgets about the
   object if it is hidden and doesn’t think that it is behind our back for example), the preoperational
   stage from ages 2 to 7 (they can’t think of abstract things; they still need to be concrete and
   materialistic in order to acquire the operational stage), and the operational stage from ages 7 to
   16 (occurs in Math where we need to analyze and to link to other things; we need our senses to
   define what is around us), with a crucial change from the concrete operational stage to the formal
   operational stage around the age of 11. The most critical stage for a consideration of first and
   second language acquisition appears to occur, in Piaget’s outline, at puberty. Ausubel (1964)
   hinted at the relevance of such a connection in nothing that adults learning a second language
   could profit from certain grammatical explanations and deductive thinking that obviously would
   be pointed for a child. Adults, possessing superior cognitive capacity (because adults judge
   everything or maybe they want to compare to L1 trying to be analytic and fearing to make
   mistakes), often do not successfully learn a second language. Logically, a superior intellect
   should facilitate what is in one sense an intellectual activity. Anecdotal evidence shows that
   some adults who have been successful language learners have been very much aware of the
   process they were going through, even to the point of utilizing self-made paradigms and other
   fabricated linguistic device to facilitate the learning process. The final consideration in the
   cognitive domain is the distinction which Ausubel makes between rote (needed for practice of
   the memory only but never for language acquisition. There is no use if one memorizes rules
   without knowing how to apply them. Rote learning does not lead to cognitive understanding) and
   meaningful learning. Ausubel notes that people of all ages have little need for rote, mechanistic
   learning that is not related to existing knowledge and experience. One can make a legitimate type
   3 comparison (refer to page 41: L1 learning of children & L2 learning of adults): both adults and
   children utilize primarily meaningful (in a natural setting when we need to really say something)
   learning operations. By inference, we may conclude that the foreign language classroom should
   not become the focus of excessive rote activity, rote drills, and pattern practice without context,
   reciting rules, and other activities that are not in the context of meaningful communication. It is
   interesting to note that type 3 comparisons almost always refer in the case of adults (A2), to the
   classrooms learning of a second language, but many foreign language classrooms utilize an
   excessive number of rote-learning procedures. This was cognitive considerations.
► Affective Considerations:
   The affective domain that deals with emotions includes many factors: empathy, self esteem,
   extroversion, inhibition, imitation, anxiety, attitudes.
   Empathy is when you can think like the other person and how he thinks in order to be a good
   language learner; this does not have to deal with feelings or sympathy and part of it deals with
   my capacity to learn his language adopting his habits and accepting his own tradition. Average
   self-esteem is how I see myself. A person with an average self-esteem is willing and has the
   motivation to learn. Extroversion is the person who is social and loves life; it is the fact of being
   open and expressive of one’s feelings. One may seem to be sociable and happy. Introvert tends
   to isolate oneself in order to observe and concentrate oneself. He does not take risks. One is very
   contained with oneself. Inhibition is any restriction or limitation factor for any person to be
   himself in language learning fearing mistakes when using the language. Imitation is related to
   low self-esteem trying to imitate our ideal. Anxiety: we need a certain degree of anxiety at its
   average to progress in life or for any task, because too much anxiety will stop us from progress
   and no anxiety is a negative aspect ↔ no motivation

                              Session 9 - Friday January 20, 2006
Egocentric: A case in point is the role of egocentricity in human development. (It is the child’s
identification of his self, what language he wants to learn or what his attitude is towards native
language. Children form their self identification; they may not be able to learn foreign language
because it will endanger their self identification and their native language. There should be
natural awareness of the native language and the other languages. For example, in Saudi Arabia,
Americans do not have the will to learn Arabic, because Saudi Arabians speak English with them
to appear in a certain image and to gain social prestige. This will have the effect in: Egocentric &
Learning other languages.
In knowing a foreign language, we should know the culture of that country. Sociolinguists teach
how cultures are different. The fact of not knowing the others’ culture does create some
problems. For instance, if we are teaching a certain foreign language in a native manner, we
would be separating the foreign country’s culture).
As children grow older they become more aware of themselves, more self-conscious as they seek
both to define and understand their self identity. Their egos are affected not only in how they
understand themselves but also in how they reach out beyond themselves, how they relate to
others socially, and how they use the communicative process to bring on affective equilibrium.
Language ego to account for the identity a person develops in reference to the language he or she
speaks. Guiora suggested that the language ego may account for the difficulties that adults have
in learning a second language. The child’s ego is dynamic. However, the simultaneous physical,
emotional, and cognitive changes of puberty give rise to a defensive mechanism. (Can I reach
out beyond my self if I’m satisfied? There is more than one factor that contributes in learning a
foreign language. E.g.: if I’m satisfied with my native language, but I don’t know if I will need a
particular foreign language in the future I will have a motive to learn it.
Language ego: there are mothers who boast that their children don’t know Arabic though it is
their native language. In other words, they don’t have any language ego.
Self identity: I am not happy with my Lebanese language; that is one way to shut it away from
my life. They have to build their self-identity and the native they want to draw.
Dynamic: It can change and develop; it is not static. The child who talks a foreign language only
may switch and will learn the native language rapidly and strictly. At the age of 12, the child
wants to set limits for his character; it is a difficult age, because they are forming their identity. It
is healthy to go through this, but it is unhealthy to stay at that age very long.
Defensive Mechanism: the child is defending himself. If he does not like Arabic, he won’t like it
any more. [Part of that identity is language]).
In type 1 comparisons of the first and second language acquisition, ego development and
identification may be relevant factors. Type 2 and 3 comparisons are of course highly relevant.
We know from both observational and research evidence that even mature adults are highly
inhibited organisms, particularly in western society. Children usually have strong constraints
upon them to conform. They are told in words, thoughts, and actions that they had better “be like
the rest of the kids.” Such peer pressure extends to language. Adults experience some peer
pressure, but of a different kind. Adults tend to tolerate linguistic difference more than children,
and therefore errors in speech are more easily excused.
(Type 1 is in children whereas types 2 & 3 are in adults, because they want to preserve a certain
image. Inhibition grows bigger with age. Learning a language at earlier age is easier because
adults are afraid in doing a lot of mistakes with others noticing these mistakes. [We are a culture
that likes to have authority over us]. Stereotyping is very natural. Adults are aware that there are
different dialects and systems.

                              Session 10 - Thursday January 26, 2006
► Linguistic considerations
   Children learning two languages simultaneously acquire them by the use of similar strategies.
   They are, in essence, learning two first languages, and the key to success is in distinguishing
   separate contexts for the two languages. Children generally do not have problems with “mixing
   up languages,” it is clearly that children learning two languages simultaneously acquire them by
   the use of similar strategies. They are, in essence, learning two first languages, and the key to
   success is in distinguishing separate contexts for the two languages.
   (There are some strategies for learning different languages though these languages have different
   meanings and different vocabularies etc. Separate contexts: the child does not confuse between
   the two languages, but he needs a certain context. Mothers should talk a specific language
   without using different languages with their children. The mother should talk one language and
   the father another one. Everyone should talk with the child a separate language. Children don’t
   mix up languages. E.g.: The child knows the meaning of “‫ ”شو‬in Arabic and “chou” in French;
   he needs a certain context which is a whole. Adults use code switching in order to gain a certain
   prestige whereas children could not use code switching, because they could not separate the two
   contexts of the language. If children are late in producing languages, this does not mean that they
   are unable of understanding, but they are in what we call the silent period. He has to internalize
   the context and not the language. Upon hearing two styles of English, one spoken by the maid &
   one spoken by his mother, he has a capacity to learn different languages and he would not he
   Issues in first language acquisition revisited: We cannot problem all that we know due to
   affective barriers (afraid of doing mistakes). Physically we are not ready and there are other
   Competence and performance (p. 54):
   Competence: is the internalized knowledge. It is there but needs something to trigger it.
   Performance: is the production of language. Both competence and performance aren’t equal
   because we don’t produce what we have because sometimes we are afraid of making errors, and
   affective variables. Competence is our overall knowledge (general).
   Comprehension and production: Both are limited to specific linguistic input or element.
   Competence  comprehension and comprehension is wider than production: we can hear a story
   and understand it, but we can’t produce the same structures. It is more than limited to specific
   language input (poem for example)
   Innateness and universals: Chomsky who said that we are born with a device in our brain called
   language acquisition device (L.A.D) that functions for language acquisition purposes. Before
   L.A.D there was a phenomenon called stimulus response, it says that we are like the robot in a
   way that we are given the information then Chomsky came and gave the human ability more
   importance. Universals would be that there are certain prostheses that are universal and all
   should go through the same steps. Before we had then the rote-learning, stimulus response and
   reinforcement, Chomsky came to give more value to human brain and its capacity to learn
   (LAD) to trigger it (ling-impact Chomsky). The format is there but it needs something.
   Language and thought (p.56): It is the question of who comes first language or thought. Does
   language affect thought? We can’t answer this because we cannot enter the brain of people, and
   we cannot realize experiments on people. If any experiment is available, it is done on disabled
   people. These questions are then still unanswered
   Imitation and practice: Children which may imitate something not related to a context do not
   necessarily reflect learning; children at first have short memory. E.g.: If you ask the child if he
   wants ‘a red pen or a white pen’, he will say ‘white’ and if you say the opposite ‘white or red’,
   he will choose ‘red’, because the child has short memory storage and he will choose the closest.
   Imitation doesn’t necessary reflect any acquisition.
   Input and discourse: A 1st discourse was considered only a hearing operation, but actually it is
   hearing & writing. Discourse is found in a context. The script in a newspaper is different from
   the script of a poem and so on. Discourse is the language in a certain context (poem, research
   news); it is a very specific type of language or a specific field. Each discourse relates to one
► In the Classroom: the Direct Method
   1. Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language.
   2. Only every day vocabulary and sentences were taught. (There is no text and no literary; it is
      the easy-day vocabulary, because it has to function for one’s day need. The aim is to use
      language outside the classroom.)
   3. Oral communication skills were built up in a carefully graded progression organized around
      question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes.
   4. Grammar was taught inductively. (Inductively means sentences of real life situation.)
   5. New teaching points were introduced orally.
   6. Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract
      vocabulary was taught by association of ideas. (Concrete is something that students can
      experience and use.)
   7. Both speech and listening comprehension were taught.
   8. Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasized. (The focus is not in writing)

                             Curriculum Development

   1. Needs analysis:

                    Students   Teachers       Institutions   Government

   This curriculum development needs asking these parties why we need English for example in
   order to get their view, and then it should be put in experiment and have samples to find if the
   textbook leads to better results.
   2. Syllabus Design:

         3      3        /      3         3        = 12 years in total.
        Elementary             Secondary
   They spread the textbook within what has known from the first step and it is divided between the
   12 years.
   3. One Year Plan:
   For every class, we must do a one year plan on the chosen textbook.

4. Lesson Plans:
The proper way of teaching is to follow these lesson plans:
   a. It is made up of description of studies which is done once.
   b. Specify the aim and the objectives for that class.
   c. Indicate the materials to be used (tape recorder – board – pen – copybook etc.)
   d. Procedure:
        i. The teacher comes to the classroom and introduces the subject for about 5 to 10’.
       ii. Students start telling what they think about the subject for about a limited time.
      iii. It is done within time framework.
   e. Assignment
   f. Evaluation: the teacher after giving the class evaluate the result; sometimes she used
      terms that they did not understand, or sometimes the students did not cooperate with the
      subject, or sometimes the subject that was thought to be explained in 10 minutes is
      covered in 5 min. Reading aloud didn’t teach pronunciation and it is not beneficial. Also
      doing an exercise for each student is not beneficial and it is a waste of time for the
      students who are not doing the exercise.
   g. Autonomous learning: E.g. session of word order or preposition
Many things have to be developed in order to keep the students motivated.

                                 CH. 5: HUMAN LEARNING
                         “Principles of Language Learning & Teaching”
1. Entry behavior: It is what the starting point is. It is the behavior which already exists and
   clamant to add or enter a new stage. I’m building on what is existed before to enter a new
   stage. E.g. when you want to explain about future prefect, know that the students have an
   idea about the simple future.
2. Goal: it is what the teacher wants the students to learn.
3. Methods of training: it is any means of teaching; they could be from the stimulus response or
   totally communicative.
       a. Discussion
       b. Brain storming
   They are the procedure in the lesson plan mentioned above.
4. Evaluation procedure: at the end of every session there is the existence of general function:
   something they know + something new in order to see if the students understood the
   material. Evaluation procedure can take a form of questions, assignments, quizzes… to be
   given the next day or couple days after. Teachers have to be flexible concerning any system
   coming from the administration.

                            Session 11 - Thursday February 02, 2006
              CH. 5: HUMAN LEARNING “Principles of Language Learning & Teaching”
     ► Learning Theories:
     Materialistic or                      Naturist                     Functional        3) Generative or
   Behavioristic Theory                    Theory                        Theory          Cognitive Theory
1) Classical    2) New-Behaviorist                               4) Humanistic Theory
  (Pavlov)           (Skinner)                                          (Roger)
         Of mice and men: There are four major elements of learning:
               1.   The entry behavior that the organism already “knows”.
               2.   The goals of the task that would need to be formulated explicitly.
               3.   The methods of training are also needed to be devised.
               4.   We would also need some sort of evaluation procedure.
         Classical Behaviorism: It is materialistic. (Page 62)
         The best-known classical behaviorist is the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov, who at the turn
         of the century conducted a series of experiments through a procedure that has come to be
         labeled classical conditioning. For Pavlov the learning process consisted of the formation of
         associations between stimuli and reflexive responses. Pavlov used the salivation response to
         the sight or smell of food (an unconditioned response) in many of his pioneering
         experiments. In the classical experiment he trained a dog, by repeated occurrences, to
         associate the sound of a tuning-fork tone with salivation until the dog acquired a conditioned
         response. John b. Watson (1913) taking an “environmentalist” position, following Pavlov, he
         adopted classical conditioning theory as the explanation for all learning: by the process of
         conditioning, we build and array of stimulus-response connections.
         Classical condition: like the example of the dog (association)
         At the beginning the reflex is stimulus; it is instinctive.
         Watson: stimulus-response chaining.
         Skinner develops the two theories: he introduced some modern concepts. Skinner called it
         “operant conditioning”. The importance is on the consequence, b/c there is a stimulus & then
         a response, but then what will come? It is to see if that response is going to be maintained.
         Skinner’s Operant Conditioning: (Neo-Behavioristic that was turned into education-page 63)
         Skinner followed the tradition of Watson, but other psychologists have called Skinner a neo-
         behaviorist because he added a unique dimension to behavioristic psychology. Skinner called
         Pavlovian conditioning respondent conditioning since it was concerned with respondent
         behavior that is elicited by a preceding stimulus. Skinner’s operant conditioning attempts to
         account for most of human learning and behavior. We should be concerned about the
         consequences – the stimuli that follow the response. Skinner, stressing Thorndike’s law of
         effect, demonstrated the importance of those events which follow a response. According to
         Skinner, the events or stimuli – the reinforcers – that follow a response and that tend to
         strengthen behavior or increase the probability of a recurrence of that response constitute a
         powerful force in the control of human behavior? According to Skinner, if the baby cries for
         instinctive needs for instance, hunger, feeling sleepy etc. (stimulus) and if the mother picks
         him (response), what will happen next is that he will change his crying for something else.
         This response will change the stimulus to something different. It depends on what we’re
         going to do later after the stimulus. At start, the child cries for physical need, but depending
         on his parent’s behavior he changes his crying for something else.
What is the role of punishment? (Page 64)
Punishment can be both the withdrawal of a positive reinforcer or the presentation of an
aversive stimulus. However, the active reinforcement of alternate responses hastens that
extinction. His theories have had an impact on our understanding of human learning and on
education. Following skinner’s model, one is led to believe that virtually any subject matter
can be taught effectively and successfully by a carefully designed program of step by step
reinforcement. Programmed instruction has had its impact on foreign language teaching,
leading to a heavy / negative reliance in the classroom on the controlled practice (by the
teacher) of verbal / oral operants under carefully designed schedules of reinforcement. (When
the child does something wrong, and the mother comes and hits him, the child is not going to
benefit for he does not know the reason why has he been hit. There should be training before
and after. Punishment in the meaning of causing physical damage will inflict the child’s pain
without helping both the mother and the child. E.g.: if the child does something wrong, and
the mother refuses to feed him as a punishment of his wrong doing: this is totally wrong. The
best way to teach a child is to withdraw reinforcement. E.g.: when he does a wrong action,
the mother prohibits him from watching his favorite show i.e. removing nice things which
will help better for he does this wrong action, he’s forbidden from beautiful things).
Aversive stimulus: is to turn their attention to something else i.e. directing the stimulus to
another thing. If every time when the child is going to make his bed or to do other things, he
is given something he likes, he is not getting the value of the act. So, the mother has to
withdraw gradually this reinforcement in order for that child to value the act itself.
E.g.: Studying: at first, the mother gives her child ice-cream to study, but later the mother
should withdraw this reinforcement gradually for the appreciation of studying itself.
E.g.: If the child is going to break the vase, the mother should direct his attention from the
vase. This is how this theory got in the educational curriculum. There is a self reinforcement
for adults and this is shown by going to fancy restaurants and buying expensive clothes.
Ausubel’s Cognitive Learning Theory: (Page 65) Learning takes place in the human
organism through a meaningful process of relating new events or items to already existing
cognitive concepts or proposition (they are there either when they are born or they build them
up later). Meaning is not an implicit response, but a “clearly articulated and precisely
differentiated conscious experience [my italics] that emerges when potentially meaningful
signs, symbols, concepts, or propositions are related to and incorporated within a given
individual’s cognitive structure on a non-arbitrary and substantive basis”. The cognitive
theory of learning as put forth by Ausubel is perhaps best understood by contrasting rote and
meaningful learning. Rote learning is the process of acquiring material as “discrete and
relatively isolated entities that are relatable to cognitive structure only in an arbitrary and
verbatim fashion, not permitting the establishment of [meaningful] relationship”
Negative aspect: rote learning. When the teacher says this is a pen … → controlled by the
teacher and verbal, because it is oral. Rote learning is learning which happens in isolation
and the child didn’t put it in his recognition. Rote learning is discrete learning. One should do
something to transfer this discrete bearing into experience. E.g.: If the teacher teaches the
child that this is a door and repeats it several times, she should later expand this learning by
saying “this is a door go and open it”. Ausubel believes in abstractness.
Cognitive approach: which believes that human behavior is basically abstract (cognitive:
abstractness). The child is a conscious being and can differentiate between different signs and
different scripts (whether Arabic or English). The child is alert to the environment he is
within which is a healthy sign though it sometimes makes trouble to parents.
                                  Session 12 - Thursday February 23, 2006

                         “Principles of Language Learning & Teaching”
► Process, Style and Strategy:
   Process is the most general of the three concepts. All human beings engage in certain
   universal processes. Just as we all need air, water, and food for our survival, so do all humans
   of normal intelligence engage in certain levels or types of learning. (Process is then the types
   of learning.)
   Styles are those general characteristics of intellectual functioning (and personality type, as
   well) that especially pertain to you as an individual, that differentiate you from someone else.
   (Style is the intellectual tendencies to learn. Some people learn through inductive, others
   through deductive analysis or even through synthesis.)
   Strategies are specific methods of approaching a problem or task, models of operation for
   achieving a particular end. The most general is process while strategy is the most specific,
   because it is based on methods.
► Types of Learning:
   Psychologist Robert Gagne (1965) identified eight types of learning:
   1- Signal learning. The individual learns to make a general diffuse response to a signal. This
      is the classical conditioned response of Pavlov. It is a very materialistic type of learning
      and most instinctive. It is a type of learning when you condition a person to react
      according to a signal; it is basic.
   2- Stimulus-response learning. The learner acquires a precise response to a discriminated
      stimulus. For example, when dogs see a piece of meat, there will be a flowing of saliva.
      When you train somebody or something to react to a discriminated stimulus which is
      unnecessary linked to it such as when you make the student see the ball and you tell him
      that it’s a ball or when the student sees it, he will say that it’s a ball when he sees it again.
   3- Chaining. What is acquired is a chain of two or more stimulus-response connections. It is
      a series of stimulus-response learning. Gagné applied it in psychological terms. Example
      of chaining is signs like the hi-sign. Other examples are pictures and puzzles.
   4- Verbal association. Verbal association is the learning of chains that are verbal. It is a
      series of chaining that are verbal. In other words, it is a chain of verbal response. For
      instance, when you see someone and you start talking and greeting each other: hi / hi /
      how are you? / fine, this is automatic.
   5- Multiple discriminations: The individual learns to make a number of different identifying
      responses to many different stimuli, which may resemble each other. There are similar
      stimuli that we have to find out from the text how we respond to them. For instance when
      given two words such as ‘week’ & ‘weak’ / ‘hotel’ & ‘motel’, we should find which one
      of them is used.
   The types 1 → 5 listed above refer to the behavioristic approach, because all are related to
   stimulus way of learning while the types 6 → 8 listed below refer to cognitive or humanistic

   6- Concept learning. The learner acquires the ability to make a common response to a class
      of stimuli even though the individual members of that class may. E.g.: When they learn
      about the concept of pain or when the child out of experience of reading and listening
      knows the concept of the noun (→ knows the concept of the parts of speech).
   7- Principle learning. In simplest terms, a principle is a chain of two or more concepts. It
      functions to organize behavior and experience. E.g.: Applying the various situations
      where they can feel the pain. It is how to put them in a certain order. It is the ability to
      place the noun in a sentence.
   8- Problem solving. Problem solving is a kind of learning that requires the internal events
      usually referred to as “thinking”. Previously acquired concepts and principles are
      combined in a conscious focus on an unresolved or ambiguous set of events. It is the
      highest degree of learning where the child puts all previous knowledge in a certain task.
      Writing a paragraph is a problem solving process; it is what word order to use, what tense
      is appropriate, which ideas to use etc.
   It is wrong to assume that the highest point of learning is confined to a certain age where
   before that age; the child cannot reach the stage of problem solving. It is wrong to postpone
   the reaching of that stage. For instance if the child cries because he has a broken pencil, the
   teacher would have to make him think of ways to solve his problem such as using a
   sharpener or using another pencil. We start what the learners have, but we should learn from
   our various experiences. One concept of learning in Math is addition, but problem solving in
   Manipulation they have to apply addition and subtraction. Here they are applying more than
   one concept. In brief, every type of learning is the application of the one before it.

                                                       Verbal Chaining Problem / Solving
                                                Chaining                    E.g.: In essay writing,
                                                                           one has to apply all the
                                                        Verbal Chaining knowledge of all the
                                                         E.g.: Forming         previous stages.
   Signal learning Stimulus / Response                    sentences in
                                                       parallel structures
                  E.g.: With he/she /it, the
                   child puts the “s” with
                    the verbs instantly.

► Transfer, interference, and overgeneralization:
   Negative transfer occurs when the previous performance disrupts the performance on a
   second task. The native is exceedingly important to remember, however, that the native
   language of a second language learner is often positively transferred, in which case the
   learner benefits from the facilitating effects of the first language. Transfer is when you move
   learning idea from one language to another. E.g.: when you know French or Latin, it is easier
   to learn English; it transfers positively learning item from one situation to another.
   Interference is always negative: if my knowledge of Arabic makes me do errors in English
   like using adjectives in plural form in English because in Arabic we have plural or we do
   error in pronunciation; here it is interference. To generalize means to infer or derive a law,
   rule, or conclusion, usually from the observation of particular instances. The principle of
   generalization can be explained by Ausubel’s concept of meaningful learning. Items are
   subsumed (generalized) under high order categories for meaningful retention. (P. 82) When a
   child sees anything flying, he thinks that it is a plane: this is an overgeneralization. It is when
   you learn new experiences and subdue it with something you have.

► Inductive and deductive reasoning:
   Inductive and deductive reasoning are two polar aspects of the generalization process.
   In the case of inductive reasoning, one stores a number of specific instances and induces a
   general law or rule or conclusion which governs or subsumes the specific instances. E.g.:
   when you give students a text with a number of adjectives describing a person and you ask
   them to point them out; they extract and write them down and to tell them what is the rule
   and then the teacher says that these adjectives are describing nouns. It is an inductive
   method; they started from a real life experience.
   Deductive reasoning is a movement from a generalization to specific instances. E.g.: when
   the teacher starts with a rule explaining that adverbs describe verbs and they usually end in
   ‘ly’, the students experience a deductive reasoning.
   Both inductively and deductively oriented teaching methods can be effective, but we need to
   know when to use each. All these relate to processes.
► Field independence: It is where I can learn or cannot learn in a more general environment.
   The ability to find those hidden monkeys hinged upon your field independent style: your
   ability to perceive a particular, relevant item or factor in a “field” of distracting items. Field
   dependence is, conversely, the tendency to be “dependent” on the total field. Both field
   independence and field dependence is necessary for most of the cognitive and affective
   problems we face. E.g.: In a puzzle, there are many pieces. If the children recognized a piece
   of the puzzle as being for example the eye even with the existence of distraction, in this he
   has field independence. Others don’t have this ability. So field independence is the ability to
   see the whole despite of the destruction around. Another example of field independence
   occurs when you are talking on the phone with a noisy surrounding yet you have the ability
   to concentrate on the phone’s conversation. If the child sees the piece of a puzzle, but does
   not recognize what it resembles, this is field dependence. Both are useful, but it is important
   to know to what extent we train our students to use it. The purpose is to make them function
   intuitively and wittily.
   Persons tend to be dominant in one mode of field independence-dependence or the other, that
   field independence-dependence is a relatively stable trait, and that field independence
   increases as a child matures to adulthood. How does all this relate to second language
   learning? Field independence is closely related to classroom learning that involves analysis,
   attention to details, mastering of exercise, drills, and other focused activities. They can cope
   with time. If a child is resting in a noisy surrounding, field independence will develop with
   time; while field dependence can’t develop for he’s stable and we should accept him as he is.
   Roberts (1984) found support for the correlation of a field-independent style with language
   success as measured both by traditional, analytic, paper and pencil tests and by an oral
   interview. Abraham (1985) found that second language learners who were field independent
   performed better in deductive lessons while those with field dependent styles were more
   successful with inductive lesson designs. Field-dependent person will, be successful in
   learning the communicative aspects of a second language. The principal reason for the dearth
   of such evidence is the absence of a true test of field dependence. The standard test of field
   independence requires subjects to discern small geometric shapes. In general Roberts found
   that field independence is a better learner of language, but we cannot experiment on learners
   and we cannot know totally how it functions (somehow it is positive). As mentioned before
   they can cope better in reading a story without stopping on every word or looking for bigger
   things without being stuck on smaller things. As for field dependence, they will be
   successful, but they cannot prove it; it is only a hypothesis for them.
   The two hypotheses could be seen as paradoxical: how could field dependence be most
   important on the one hand, and field independence equally important? The answer to the
   paradox would appear to be that clearly both styles are important. The two hypotheses deal
   with different kinds of language learning. Empathy is related to language acquisition. Some
   pilot studies of field independence-dependence indicated that field independence correlated
   negatively with informal oral interviews of adult English learners in the United States (they
   do not focus on details). If people use deductive methods or techniques, they are better in
   drill exercises; other people seek larger concepts. Every person is good in one thing. Field
   independence do not rely on details, so they are not good usually in interviews; they don’t
   have the ability to think on details and their answers are general; So sometimes field
   independence has a negative aspect. A specific situation needs a specific style so the person
   should have the ability to determine what style to use in a specific situation.
► Left-and right-brain functioning:
   Lateralized is the keyword. Left and right brain dominance is often considered to be a
   cognitive style in that preference for left and right functioning are found to differ across
   individuals and across cultures. Left brain dominant second language learners preferred a
   deductive style of teaching, while right brain dominant learners appeared to be more
   successful in an inductive classroom environment. Left brain dominant second language
   learners are better at producing separate words, gathering the specifics of language, carrying
   out sequences of operations, and dealing with abstraction, classification, labeling, are
   reorganization. Right brain dominant learners, on the other hand, appear to deal better with
   whole images (not with reshuffling parts), with generations, with metaphors, and with
   emotional reactions and artistic expressions.
► Tolerance of ambiguity:
   Advantages and disadvantages are present in each style. The person who is tolerant of
   ambiguity is free to entertain a number of innovative and creative possibilities, and not be
   cognitively or affectively disturbed by ambiguity and uncertainty. On the other hand, too
   much tolerance of ambiguity can have a detrimental effect. People can become “wishy-
   washy”, intolerance of ambiguity also has its advantages and disadvantages. It is when
   reading a text how much you can tolerate not knowing the exact meaning of words you don’t
   know, still you can go on. As a whole they are unmotivated. He does not have stress and he is
   innovative. If the tolerance of ambiguity is very high, it is negative because he tends to be
   careless. Anxiety is beneficial for a certain extent, but if anxiety is very high it will affect the
   cognitive ability badly. To what extent should we have tolerance of ambiguity in order to
   move on?
► Reflectivity and impulsivity:
   It is common for us to show in our personalities certain tendencies toward reflectivity
   sometimes and at other impulsivity. Psychological studies have been conducted to determine
   the degree to which, in the cognitive domain, a person tends to make either a quick or
   gambling (impulsive) guess at an answer to a problem or a slower, and more calculated
   (reflective) decision.
   Impulsive: when the child is very enthusiastic to answer but he is not sure if the answers are
   Reflective: is the person who doesn’t take risks in answering quickly unless he is sure that
   the answers are correct. Reflectivity is more beneficial than impulsivity, but the labeling
   (teachers, people etc.) affect the reflective type of person.

                               Session 13 - Thursday March 02, 2006
► Reflectivity and impulsivity:
   An intuitive style implies an approach in which a person makes a number of different
   gambles. Systematic thinkers (reflective learners) tend to weight all the considerations in a
   problem, work out all the loopholes, then, after extensive reflection, carefully venture a
   solution. It has been found that children who are conceptually reflective tend to make fewer
   errors in reading than impulsive children (Kagan 1965). Doron (1973) sought to examine the
   relationship between reflectivity-impulsivity and reading proficiency in adult learners of
   English as a second language. Her study revealed that reflecting students were slower but
   more accurate than impulsive students in reading.
   The reflective person is labeled as a shy, lazy and unmotivated person. He does not take risk
   and he goes through three stages that is why they are called systematic. On the other hand,
   the impulsive are not systematic. They rush to answer the questions before they have the time
   to think if it is correct. Later they know that you are wrong. Both impulsive and reflective
   might know the answer, but they respond differently.
   Intuitive style is opposed to systematic style. Studies have shown that the reflective score
   better. We need to train our students to take their time to answer, but not much time. Adults
   would have higher level in awareness before answering which constitutes a barrier while
   learning a foreign language that is why the earlier we got exposed to a foreign language the
   quicker we will acquire this language. It needs a lot of linguistics input to adapt our students
   to think in the foreign language. Usually in learning a foreign language, I am losing
   something in my native language because of lack of practice, but on the other hand, I am
   gaining new terminology in the foreign language. All the above were styles which are
   Note: How open as a teacher should I be to help my students be exposed to other cultures
   and languages?
► Strategies of learning:
   The field of second language acquisition had distinguished between two types of strategy:
   learning strategies and communication strategies. The former relates to “input-to processing,
   storage, and retrieval. The latter has more to do with “output-or how we express meaning in
   the language, how we act upon what we already know or presume to know.
   Input: The English students are not receiving new input in Arabic more than before, but they
   have input in English. The subject of short, long memory is too important here. To what
   extent do you need this information? E.g.: Studying a specific subject for the text, does this
   subject be of use in the future. When there is short memory, there is no retrieval. Retrieval is
   going back from the memory. We should practice on a specific subject in order for this
   subject to go to the long memory and go to retrieval. There should be a continuation in the
   curriculum in schools to go to the long memory.
   Input which is process, storage and retrieval are within me; no one can get access to them
   unless it reflects them to others.
   Communication strategy has to do with the output → social communication. A person has to
   cope with what he learns, and this learning has to be expressed to others → this is
   communication. It is important to reflect what we know to others.

Rubin listed seven “good language learner” characteristics:

1. Willing and accurate guesser (willing and accurate guesser: he should have motivation.)
2. Strong drive to communicative (social aspect).
3. Uninhibited (open to others, extrovert, free to act and has no problem to learn)
4. Attends to form (and also to content). Form → pronunciation. Choosing the right
5. Practices → seek out conversations: is the one who looks for opportunities to practice a
   language (through usage).
6. Monitors own speech and the speech of others: monitor is controlling. Sometimes if you
   are aware and control what you are producing, there will be a barrier because you won’t
   say whatever you think or feel.
7. Attends to meaning.

Stern’s list was remarkably similar, with ten characteristics:
1. A personal learning style or positive learning strategies: a person will develop his own
    style of learning.
2. An active approach to the learning task. Active in a sense of seeking opportunity by
    thinking in many ways.
3. A tolerant and outgoing approach to the target language and empathy with its speakers.
    We should be tolerant that is not to laugh when hearing someone’s strange accent.
    Empathy is to respect their existence in a different way.
4. Technical know-how about how to tackle a language. It is known how to learn. One
    should reflect his own way of style in order to learn. E.g.: having a schedule to go three
    times to learn a subject. The person should know what best for him to learn; it is a person
    who knows how to test himself.
5. Strategies of experimentation and planning with the abject of developing the new
    language into an ordered system and of revising this system progressively. There should
    be experimentation and planning. Experimentation is to test one’s progress in learning by
    for instance testing one’s own progress in learning Spanish (there are samples for
    testing). And we also need feedback to learn.
6. Constantly searching for meaning.
7. Willingness to practice.
8. Willingness to use the language in real communication.
9. Self-monitoring and critical sensitivity to language use (like experimentation and
    planning). E.g.: to work on one’s pronunciation is to develop one’s ability.
10. Developing the target language more and more as a separate reference system and
    learning to think in it. For example, learning the Armenian language, history and culture
    and think about them.

                                Session 14 - Thursday March 09, 2006
Michael O’Malley and Anna Chamot divided their strategies into three main categories, “Meta-
cognitive” is a term used in information-processing theory to indicate an “executive” function,
strategies that involve planning for learning, thinking about the learning process as it is taking
place, monitoring of one’s production comprehension, and evaluating learning after an activity is
completed. “Cognitive” strategies are more limited to specific learning tasks and involve more
direct manipulation of the learning material itself. “Socio-affective” strategies have to do with
social-mediating activity & transacting with others. Wenden 1985 asserted that learner strategies
are the key to answer autonomy & that one of the most important goals of language training
should be the facilitating for that autonomy. Teachers, therefore, can benefit from an
understanding of what makes learners successful & unsuccessful and establish in the classroom a
milieu for the realization of successful strategies. Cognitive variables alone represent a quagmire
of factors which must be channeled into an understanding of the total L2 acquisition process. Not
all learners are alike; we need to treat them as individuals.
Meta-cognitive strategies: It is the skills of the learners in order to approach and be a better
organizer in the learning task. Meta-cognitive has to do with one’s personality & attitudes. How
much I organize myself to achieve my goals; it is beyond cognitive. At first, the teacher should
direct the students in order for them in later times to direct themselves.
Advance organizers: Making a general but comprehensive preview of the organizing concept or
principle in an anticipated learning activity
Directed attention: deciding in advance to attend in general to a learning task and to ignore
irrelevant distracters
Selective attention: deciding in advance to attend to specific aspects of language input or
situational details that will sue the retention of language input. E.g.: Attending a general lecture
for instance, culture studies; it is very important for one to know not to learn everything, but one
should be selective. One shouldn’t expect oneself to know everything, but one should select
specific subjects in order to retain: it’s in one’s short memory. It is important for the students to
let them know what is expected. We may need the rest of the information, but we can’t hold all
the information.
Self-management: understanding the conditions that help one learn and arranging for presence of
those conditions. The student should manage himself to learn. E.g.: setting a specific time for
every subject.
Functional planning: planning for and rehearsing linguistic components necessary to carry out an
upcoming language task
Self-monitoring: correcting one’s speech for accuracy in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, or
for appropriateness related to the setting or to the people who are present. It is a self-evaluation
where one corrects himself. It happens during the process of learning. Appropriate setting means
to use appropriate terms in a specific situation that may be inappropriate or informal in another
situation. It is when you form hypotheses and test them.
Belayed-production: consciously deciding to postpone speaking in order to learn initially through
listening comprehension
Self-evaluation: checking the outcomes of one’s language learning against an internal measure of
completeness and accuracy. It usually comes at the end of the task.
        Internal measures of my ideal-self: how much I want from myself.
        Self esteem: how much I am happy with myself at the time being.

Cognitive strategies: They are related to the learning of the material itself.
Repetition: imitating a language model, including overt practice and silent rehearsal. It is when
you teach the students something and then give them a simple exercise about what was given.
Resourcing: using target language reference materials. The students should look for the resources
themselves; they have to know where to get the extra information such as going to the library,
getting information from the internet or from the encyclopedia.
Translation: using L1 as a base for understanding and /or producing the L2. E.g.: Learning L2 by
referring to L1 is said to be flexible by some while others say that it is obstructing.
Grouping: reordering or reclassifying and perhaps labeling the material to be learned based on
common attributes. It’s when I know new terms and know the way of grouping them with others.
Note talking: writing down the main idea, important points, outline, or summary of information
presented orally or in writing. Note taking refers then to rules.
Deduction: consciously applying rules to produce or understand the second language.
Recombination: constructing a meaningful sentence or larger language sequence by combining
known elements in a new way. E.g.: Adding two sentences together with a coordinating
conjunction or writing an essay with a plan or an outline.
Imagery: relating new information to visual concepts in memory via familiar, easily retrievable
visualizations, phrases, or locations. If we can create imagery related to any material, it would be
easier for learning. In Lebanon, this component is missed.
Auditory representation: retention of the sound or a similar sound for a word, phrase, or longer
language sequence. It is identifying sounds with their meaning after being heard.
Keyword: remembering a new word in the second language by (1) identifying a familiar word in
the first language that sounds like or otherwise resembles the new word and (2) generating easily
recalled images of some relationship between the new word & the familiar word. It’s to identify
the key element to be able to communicate & direct the answer to the keyword (general problem)
Contextualization: placing a word phrase in a meaningful language sequence focusing on the
context. Read a text & identify the meaning of a special word which may have a different
meaning in another text. E.g.: the word ‘bear’ may have several meanings depending on the text.
Elaboration: relating new information to other concept in memory.
Transfer: using previously acquired linguistic and/or conceptual knowledge to facilitate a new
language learning task. It is a use of information in a new context. E.g.: Using L1 to learn L2
(here we are after the learning of concepts) or teaching the student how to make the wh question
by changing in the word order. Transfer is then moving information from one task to another.
Inferencing: using available information to guess meanings of new items, to predict outcomes or
to fill in missing information. It is giving a fact and how the students react to this fact which they
can come up with a conclusion. So the starting point is a fact and then doing something
personally with this given information. The reaction differs then from one person to another.
Socio-affective strategies:
Cooperation: working with one or more peers to obtain feedback, pool information, or model a
language activity (teaching students how to work in pairs & how to share information w / others)
Question or clarification: asking a teacher or other native speakers for repetition, paraphrasing,
explanation, and/or examples in order to seek help about anything they need to clarify.
The teacher needs then to recognize, understand a multiplicity of cognitive variables active in L2
learning process, make appropriate judgments about individual learners, meeting them where
they are and providing them with the best possible opportunities for learning.

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