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ESL Important Theorists
Terms in this set (23)
Developed the idea of "suggestopedia". Involves the use of playing music, visualization, breathing
exercises, environmental print, focus on communication rather than explicit "learning".
Developed Community Language Learning: Students sit in a circle and communicate about any
topic they wish, in first or second language. Teacher listens and/or translates when they use the
first language. Conversations are tape-recorded and written on the board, then teacher guides
students to generalize about language structures. Also called counseling learning.
Believed that there is a silent period wherein learners must be able to process and comprehend
their acquisition of a new language without having to reproduce it orally.
Invented Total Physical Response (TPR), wherein teacher models both words and actions together,
and students repeat. The main idea is that words and actions naturally go together and
by joining them through experience, students will understand the language more completely.
A behavioralist who claimed linguistic phenomena could be observed and measured while isolated
from its environment.
Structural Linguistics: Grammatical system whereby elements and rules of a language are
listed and described, such as phonemes, words, and phrases. The elements are then ordered
linearly and learned orally as a set of habits. Repetition is very important as a means of memorization. Contrastive Analysis: A means of emphasizing the differences, or contrasts, between the students
native language and the language being learned.
Universal Grammar (UG)
This theory states that there are basic principles that are shared by all languages. Also states that
all people are born with the blueprint of learning language. This theory is also commonly referred
to as Language Acquisition Device (LAD), which explains that all people have an innate
language acquisition device within their brain.
Cognitive Developmental Theory
Children pass through an invariant sequence of stages, each characterized by different ways of
organizing information and learning. These stages are: sensorimotor (birth to 2.5 years), preoperations
(2.5 to 6 years), concrete operations (6 to 12 years), formal operations (12 to 19
Maturation Proceeds Learning
Also known as the readiness principle. The student must be exposed primarily to input that
can be handled without difficulty. The input must be at the student's actual level of development.
Learning is subordinated to development and not vice-versa.
Knowledge is constructed between people.
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
The gap between what students can do on their own and what they can do with the assistance
of others. Both Piaget and Vygotsky were Constuctivists, meaning that they believed that knowledge itself
is structured and developed from within the individual through active learning
Emphasis is placed on using a student's cultural background as a launching point into the learning
of another culture. Nieto also emphasized the power of support for the home language. The use of the home language
is used as a cultural reference as well and a means of communication in the classroom.
Nieto also thought that the relationships between students and teachers are of utmost importance,
and that the entire process of teaching and learning is "primarily about relationships."
Nieto shared this opinion with Cummins.
Emphasis on social interaction between students, such as an English language learner student
being paired with a native speaker for the school year.
Thought that learning in one area does not facilitate the learning of another area. Essentially
thought there was not cross-over of knowledge acquisition.
Asserted that positive reinforcement is more effective at changing and establishing behavior
This theory describes the primary two ways language is internalized: 1) "picked up" or acquired
subconsciously like we develop our native language, and 2) "studied", in which the
rules of the language are formally studied and learned. Natural order hypothesis...input hypothesis...affective filter...
First and Second Language (L1 and L2)
The first language (L1) is the native language, or the language learned first, also known as the
home language. The second language (L2) is the target language or the language learned after
the first language is acquired.
Dual Language Bilingual Education
Thought by Collier to be the only model of dual language acquisition that really works. Data
shows that English Language Learners need 5 to 8 years of education in their native language
while they learn English.
Language is acquired though habit formation and stimulus/response
associations. Learning a second language heavily involves the effective fighting off of the habits
of the native language.
Critical period hypothesis
The critical period hypothesis states that there is a primary window for effective and efficient
language learning, and once that stage has passed, full acquisition and use of language cannot
Grammar translation approach
This is also known as the Prussian Method, and it basically emphasized the use of rules and direct
application of language skills in order to most effectively learn a language. This traditional
second language acquisition approach teaches the second language through the first. The emphasis
is on learning the language through the mastering of grammatical forms, vocabulary
study, practice exercises, and translational activities.
Grammar translation method
At one time called the Classical Method, this method's main goal is to teach students how to
read and write in the target language. Students are first taught the grammar rules and the vocabulary
of the language and learn how to translate from one language to another. The teacher
is the authority in the classroom and there is little to no emphasis on oral language.
emphasizes the immersion of language learners in
the target language. Examples of this technique would include teacher monologues, formal
questions and answer lessons, and direct repetitions by the students of language input.
The audio lingual method
The Audio -Lingual Method was developed during World War II in order to facilitate rapid second
language learning. It incorporated many aspects of the Direct Method, but also incorporated
many new ideas of the times,
They believed that people do not learn languages by repeating what others
say (as in the Audio-lingual Method), but by forming rules of their own. As a result the teacher
is not as prominent a presence in the language acquisition needs of the student.
The Suggestopedia classroom is furnished in a comfortable fashion and music is often playing.
The teacher assures students that the lesson will be easy and enjoyable and might invite the
students to make a mental trip with her to the country of the target language. During the mental
trip she asks students to envision themselves speaking the target language fluently and emphasizes
the pleasure of the trip.
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