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Formal Approaches to sla. Jill Walker Vestavia Hills Elementary West [email protected] Innatist Approach. Language is a natural, biological process Based on the work on Chomsky and Universal Grammar

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formal approaches to sla

Formal Approaches to sla

Jill Walker

Vestavia Hills Elementary West

[email protected]

innatist approach
Innatist Approach
  • Language is a natural, biological process
  • Based on the work on Chomsky and Universal Grammar
  • All children are born with a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) that allows them to produce and understand language (Chomsky 2008).
interactionist theory
Interactionist Theory
  • Emphasis on learner interactions and social aspect of language.
  • Reflected in the work of Vygotsky.
  • Second language acquisition occurs through interactions between the learner, teacher, and peers.
  • Uses error analysis to promote SLA.
age factor
Age Factor
  • Some brain researchers in the field of SLA believe that there is a “critical period” for language learning.
  • Children ages 2-12 can most effectively learn a language due to brain development during this time.
  • Most researchers agree that when it comes to language learning, earlier is better; the critical period can limit L1 and L2 acquisition (Lenneburg 1967).
other critical factors
Other Critical Factors


  • Similarities and differences between L1 and L2
  • L1 proficiency
  • L2 knowledge


  • Classroom environment
  • Home environment

Learning Process

  • Learning styles
  • Cultural influences
  • Interactions

(Walqui 2000)

tips for teachers
Tips for Teachers
  • Remember to consider every child as an individual…No two students are alike!
  • To motivate students, center instruction around their likes and interests.
  • Create an environment rich in pictures, hands-on materials, and realia.
for my students
For My Students…
  • The Interactionist theory is most effective.
  • My students learn best through meaningful conversations with their teachers and peers.
  • In addition, my students benefit from error analysis and error correction.
  • My students learn from

the social interactions that

occur in their learning environment.

in my teaching
In My Teaching…
  • I believe that the Interactionist theory is most effective and most evident in my teaching.
  • I value the social interactions of my students, and believe that they learn from them.
  • I encourage peer interaction in my learning environment.
helpful resources
Helpful Resources

Chomsky, N. (2008). Noam Chomsky talks about universal grammar. Retrieved from .

Chomsky, N. (2000). The architecture of language. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Lenneberg, E.H. (1967) Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley and sons.

Walqui, A. (2000). Contextual factors in second language acquisition. Retrieved from