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Universität Bielefeld Fakultät für Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft Wintersemester 2008/2009 Veranstaltung: Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Veranstalter: Nathan Devos The Idea of the Good Language Learner by Sedef Balkanli (1868845) Katharina Gercken (1657898) Marten Siegmann (1874928) Contents • Overview: What makes up a successful learner? • Characteristics in Detail: 1. Intelligence 2. Aptitude 3. Learning Style 4. Personality 5. Motivation 6. Societal Setting The Language Learner An Example: Michael Skill-improvement is limited If Michael does not change his attitude, he will not be able to improve his conversational skills! Learner‘s success depends on … • … the different factors that influence the learner. • The variables do not cause but influence each other. Complex setting of all factors together Intelligence • Intelligence ≈ success in school • IQ-tests more strongly related to metalinguistic knowledge than to communicative ability • This kind of “intelligence“ may play a less important role in classrooms with CLT • Howard Gardner (1993): `multiple intelligences` Aptitude • John Carroll (1991) = “ability to learn quickly“ • Paul Meara (2005) developed tests: 1. Identify and memorize new sounds 2. Understand the function of particular words in sentences 3. Figure out grammatical rules from language sentences 4. Remember new words Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) Aptitude • Communicative Approach => emphasis on communicative interaction • Leila Ranta (2002): no direct attention to grammar • Teachers supposed to ensure that their teaching activities are sufficiently varied to accomodate learners with different aptitude profiles. Learning Style • Reid (1995): Learning Style = an individual´ s natural, habitual, and preferred way of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information 1. `visual` learners 2. `aural` learners 3. `kinaesthetic` learners Encourage learners to use all means available to them! Personality • Extroverted vs. introverted person • Inhibition • Learner Anxiety (can be negative and/or positive) Peter MacIntyre (1995): ´because anxious students are focused both the task at hand and their reactions to it … [they] will not learn as quickly as relaxed students´ • Self-esteem, empathy, dominance, talkativeness, and responsiveness Motivation and attitudes • Integrative Motivation – Positive disposition towards SL group and the desire to interact with and even become a member of that community • Instrumental Motivation – Language learning is primarily associated with potential pragmatic gains of SL proficiency (e.g. getting a better job) Dörnyei‘s process model of motivation in a classroom • Choice motivation • Executive motivation • Motivation retrospection see overhead-projector Motivation in the classroom (Graham Crookes & Richard Schmidt) • Motivating students into the lesson • Varying the activities, tasks, and materials • Using co-operative rather than competitive goals Identity and ethnic group affiliation • Social factors can affect motivation, attitudes and language learning success • Instrumental and integrative motivation do not capture the complex relations of power, identity and language learning • Adjudged to be less loyal to their ethnic group Learner beliefs • Learners believe they know the best way to learn • Can be strong factors in experience in a classroom • “Virtually all students express a desire to have their errors corrected.“ (Renate Schulz) Exam Questions 1. Do learner‘s variables cause or do they influence each other? 2. What is the connection between social life and the process of language learning? 3. What is "learner anxiety" and how does it influence second language learning? 4. What is meant by "aptitude" and how is this term related to second language learning? 5. What is meant by instrumental and integrative motivation? Sources • Lightbrown, Patsy M., and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. • Dörnyei, Zoltán. Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
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