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SLA Theories and FL Teaching: (Dis)Connections. February 2006 Virginia M. Scott Vanderbilt University Copyright by Virginia M. Scott 2006 All Rights Reserved. Goals of the workshop. To question our individual notions about second language acquisition (SLA).

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Sla theories and fl teaching dis connections l.jpg

SLA Theories and FL Teaching:(Dis)Connections

February 2006

Virginia M. Scott

Vanderbilt University

Copyright by Virginia M. Scott 2006

All Rights Reserved


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Goals of the workshop

  • To question our individual notions about second language acquisition (SLA).

  • To review current theories about SLA.

  • To explore the ways SLA theories inform practice.

  • To review the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and the Standards for Language Learning in the 21st Century.

  • To discuss the (dis)connections between theories, guidelines, standards and classroom practice.

  • To tackle the role of GRAMMAR in light of these discussions.


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Questions about SLA

  • What does it mean to “know” another language?

  • Do adults acquire a second language (L2) the way children acquire their native language (L1)?

  • What is the best age for acquiring a L2?

  • How do age, motivation, attitude, gender, learning style affect L2 acquisition?


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Participant conversation (1)

List 2 other questions you have about

HOW

students acquire a second language.


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More questions about SLA

  • What is the role of grammar instruction in L2 acquisition?

  • What is the role of interaction in L2 acquisition?

  • What is the role of error correction in L2 acquisition?

  • How do listening, speaking, reading, and writing contribute to L2 acquisition?


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Participant reflections

We will review several Theories about SLA

After each theory, you will see the following icon:

Write a FL teaching practice that might be linked to this theory.


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LEARNING THEORIES

learner

learner

behaviorist

cognitivist

learner

OTHER

sociocultural


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Theories about SLA

LANGUAGE ACQUISITION DEVICE

(LAD child L1)

UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR

proposes a finite set of fundamental principles that are common to all languages, (a sentence must always have a subject) and a finite set of parameters that determine syntactic variability among languages

COMPETENCE vs. PERFORMANCE

competence = the mental representation of linguistic rules; intuitive

performance = use of grammar comprehension and production

Noam Chomsky

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965)


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Theories about SLA

Hello! Hola!

Communicative Competence

Canale and Swain (1983)

grammatical: mastery of linguistic code

sociolinguistic: knowledge of social and cultural rules

discourse: ability to connect sentences coherently

strategic: ability to use verbal and non-verbal communication strategies


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Theories about SLA

Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition (1981)

FIVE HYPOTHESES:

  • acquisition / learning are two different processes (spontaneous vs. conscious)

  • natural order (grammar is acquired in a predictable order in a natural setting)

  • monitor (learning functions only as an editor, or monitor)

  • input (comprehensible input is essential for acquisition)

  • affective filter (acquisition occurs when affective conditions are optimal, i.e., low anxiety, motivation, confidence, etc.

Stephen Krashen

The Monitor Model


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Theories about SLA

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY

  • Full cognitive development requires social interaction.

  • The range of skill that can be developed with adult guidance or peer collaboration exceeds what can be attained alone.

    [child L1 acquisition]

Lev Vygotsky

1896-1934

Thought and Language(1962)

[discovered in the 1990s]

Pedagogical Psychology Institute of Moscow


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Participant conversation (2)

You have heard about several SLA theories:

  • Chomsky’s theories of LAD, UG, and Competence vs. Performance

  • Canale & Swain’s theory of communicative competence

  • Krashen’s Monitor Model

  • Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory

    You have written an idea about each theory.

    Share your ideas with another participant. List at least 3 FL teaching practices that are linked to these SLA theories.


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Guiding PrinciplesACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (1986)

Four levels for assessing speaking, listening, reading, writing proficiency:

Novice = words, phrasesAdvanced = paragraphs

Intermediate = sentencesSuperior = extended discourse


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Guiding PrinciplesACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (1986)

  • The guidelines represent a hierarchy of observable behaviors, or performance, in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

  • Each description is a representative, not an exhaustive, sample of a particular range of ability.

  • These guidelines identify stages of proficiency, as opposed to achievement. They do not measure what individuals achieve through specific classroom instruction, but assess what individuals can and cannot do.

  • The levels of proficiency are designed for global assessment and are not related to where, when, or how the language was learned or acquired.

  • The words "learned" and "acquired" are used in the broadest sense, and are not based on a particular linguistic theory or pedagogical method.


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Guiding PrinciplesACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (1986)

  • Proficiency is not a methodology.

  • Proficiency is not a measure of classroom instruction.

  • Proficiency is not a set of curriculum plans.

  • Proficiency is not synonymous with years of study.

  • Proficiency is not just oral.

  • Proficiency is not synonymous with lowered standards.

  • Proficiency is not just grammar-based.


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

The 5 Cs of FLED

  • Communication: communicate in languages other than English

  • Cultures: gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures

  • Connections: connect with other disciplines

  • Comparisons: develop insight into the nature of language and culture

  • Communities: participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world

A Collaborative Project of ACTFL, AATF, AATG, AATI, AATSP, ACL, ACTR, CLASS and NCJLT-ATJ

Chinese, Classical languages, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

Standard 1: Communication

Communicate in Languages Other Than English

  • Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions

  • Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics

  • Standard 1.3: Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

Standard 2: Cultures

Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Cultures

  • Standard 2.1: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied

  • Standard 2.2: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

Standard 3 - Connections

Connect with Other Disciplines & Acquire Information

  • Standard 3.1: Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language

  • Standard 3.2: Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

Standard 4 - Comparisons

Develop Insight into the Nature of Language & Culture

  • Standard 4.1: Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

  • Standard 4.2: Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

Standard 5: Communities

Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home & Around the World

  • Standard 5.1: Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting

  • Standard 5.2: Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.


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Guiding PrinciplesStandards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

The “weave” of curricular elements

Language system * Cultural knowledge * Communication strategies

Critical thinking skills * Learning strategies * Technology

“The Standards (1999) grew out of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act ... and represent an effort to go beyond a limited four-skills view of language education, proposing in the process to change radically current teaching paradigms.[...] Rather than seeing language study as a fundamentally skill-oriented, self-contained enterprise that only tangentially includes culture in terms of practical competencies, the Standards encourage language instruction that focuses on its interdisciplinary implications and ability to influence learners in terms of developing an increased awareness of self and others and in terms of encouraging deep cognitive processing skills”(13).

Jean Marie Schultz. 2001. The Gordian Knot: Language Literature, and Critical Thinking. In SLA and the Literature Classroom, edited by Virginia Scott and Holly Tucker. Boston: MA, Heinle.


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TAKE

A

BREAK!

(10 minutes)


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Participant conversation (3)

You have reviewed guiding principles described in

  • ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

  • Standards for FL Learning in the 21st Century

    You have taken a break!

    Working with another participant, list at least 5 characteristics of a good FL teacher.


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The GOOD FL TEACHER …

  • works on what students can DO and not just what they know.

  • provides comprehensible input in L2.

  • creates a comfortable, low-stress learning environment.

  • keeps a good pace.

  • varies activities.

  • gives response rather than evaluation (IRF vs. IRE).

  • works on four skills.

  • creates opportunities for pair & small group work.

  • includes authentic materials (realia, film, art, literature, etc.).

  • incorporates technology productively.

  • develops cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity.

  • accommodates varied learning styles.

  • promotes acquisition over learning.

  • avoids focus on grammar instruction.


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What about grammar?

  • Deductive presentation:

    RULE  EXAMPLE

  • Inductive presentation:

    EXAMPLE  RULE

    (student-centered discovery learning)


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1) Standard / accepted approach:

input  developing system  output

focused practice

2) IP approach:

input  developing system  output

focused practice

What about grammar?


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What about grammar?

Four kinds of IP activities:

  • Binary options

  • Matching

  • Selecting alternatives

  • Supplying information

    [Target structure: ing]


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1. binary options

Indicate if you think the statements about your teacher are TRUE or FALSE:

TRUEFALSE

She likes teaching.__________

She likes going to the movies.__________

She does not like hiking.__________

She likes watching TV.__________

She likes grading homework.__________

She likes eating pizza.__________

She does not like giving exams.__________


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Mark is …

hungry.

tired.

cold.

athletic.

happy.

angry.

hot.

Mark is …

sleeping.

laughing.

sweating.

shouting.

eating.

shivering.

running.

crying.

2. matching


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3. selecting alternatives

When I have free time I enjoy

___ watching TV.

___ reading a book.

___ talking to friends.

When I am hungry I prefer

___ going out to a restaurant.

___ cooking dinner at home.

___ getting fast food.

When I go out with my friends we like

___ going to the movie theater.

___ sitting in a bar.

___ dancing in a club.


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4. supplying information

Get to know a classmate better.

Fill in the blanks below and be prepared to share the information.

Name of partner ____________________

likes eating _______________________________.

loves drinking _____________________________.

enjoys watching ___________________________.

prefers going _____________________________.

hates buying _____________________________.

doesn’t like having _________________________.


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What about grammar?

Guiding principles for Input Processing approach:

  • Use both oral and written input.

  • Focus on meaning before form.

  • Link meaning and form.

  • Present one thing at a time.

  • Have learners DO something with input.

  • Design activities that require both discrete (one answer) and open-ended (personal opinion) answers.

  • Have learners state the rule as final phase of the lesson.


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Final reflections

During this workshop we have reviewed theories about SLA, guiding principles regarding FL teaching, and a new approach to teaching grammar.

Spend a moment reflecting on 3 challenges you would like to focus on before the end of this academic year.


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CHALLENGES

  • Staying in L2

  • Teaching grammar creatively

  • Testing what we teach

  • Keeping students on task, motivated

  • Managing pair work

  • Incorporating the Standards

  • Fostering “L2 users”

  • Not being native speakers

  • Experiencing chronic burnout


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Closing visions

“Each act of language opens a small window to a new culture, its history, and its values.”

Janet Swaffar. “The Case for Foreign Language as a Discipline.” MLA Profession 1999: 155-67.

Trompe l’oeilby Ron Francis. Provence, France. (mural on fibreboard) http://users.senet.com.au/~rfrancis/


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