Friday, November 23, 2012

Richard-Amato, Chapter 3: Toward a Sociocultural/ Cognitive Model

Richard-Amato, Chapter 3: Toward a Sociocultural/ Cognitive Model, p. 66- 91

      Vygotsky believed that human beings construct individual understanding based on their social experiences. Learners work together to "co-construct" knowledge based on shared experience and understanding (87). Piaget was also a constructivist but he also believed in concrete stages of learning based on biology. 
      Rod Ellis stressed the importance of unscripted interaction, which he called unplanned discourse (Richard-Amato 76). Unplanned discourse can be defined as the spontaneous interaction between learners in the L2. Ellis believed that: “the rate of acquisition depends on the quantity and quality of interaction in which the learner is involved” (Richard-Amato 76). The more interaction that learners have in their L2 the more likely they are to acquire an implicit system and the more automatic their language output will become.  
       This chapter also discusses the Monitor Model. Krashen proposed that the "affective filter" consists of a student’s “inhibitions, motivation, personality, and so on” (Richard-Amato 73). When a student is learning a language, the affective filter needs to be lowered. This means that the student needs to feel comfortable, accepted, and have low anxiety when they are learning a language. 
 John-Steiner and Seliger also did studies about the importance of social interaction. Seliger found that the more input the students were exposed to the more likely they were to interact "intensively" in the target language (84). 
     I hope to make my classroom a place where students are comfortable interacting with each other in the target language. It is interesting to contrast these views of language acquisition with my personal experience, which was primarily focused on grammar instruction.

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