Friday, November 23, 2012

Richard-Amato, Chapter 2: The Process of Learning a Second Language, p. 39- 65

Krashen argued that input, output, and interaction were the most important elements determining the language acquisition process. Hypothesis testing is how learners try out new structures in a language to see if they work. If they don't work then they will modify them. The three ways that learners negotiate meaning are through: confirmation checks, clarification requests, and comprehension checks (44).

Sometimes language learners hit a plateau in their learning where certain structures become fossilized. This is called "premature stabilization" (47). This chapter also talks about Error Treatment. It is important to recognize that there are two goals of developing language proficiency: accuracy and fluency. There is evidence that "direct error correction does not lead to greater accuracy in the target language" (50). This is important in my teaching because I need to be able to correct students implicitly by using "recasts" rather than telling them their mistakes outright. Another way to correct a student is by using a "prompt" (52). This is when the teacher asks the student implicitly to use the correct lexical terms.

The authors cite Fotos and Ellis as supporting some explicit grammar instruction. Explicit grammar instruction helps students acquire the target language by making the structures more salient and therefore "easier to internalize" (55). However, he also cites the Winitz study that showed that implicit grammar instruction was more effective. As a result, I am still confused on this point.

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