Reducing the Affective Filter

624 Words3 Pages
When working with English language learners, it is important for the teacher to understand the importance of reducing the affective filter of the learner. The goal of an English language learner’s teacher is to present comprehensible input and ensure that the students effectively acquire the language (Steward, 2010, p. 4). In doing research on learning a second language, Krashen recognized three personal issues that affect the success or failure of English language learners. These issues are said to be motivation, self-confidence and anxiety (Zafar, 2011, p. 144). In order for an English Language Learner to acquire a second language, it is up to educators to do everything necessary to ensure the personal issues are addressed. Krashen felt that a high affective filter can keep comprehensible input from reaching the language acquisition device and lowering the affective filter allows the input to be acquired. He also states that that affective filter is not present in acquiring a first language, only second languages. Comprehensible input cannot be useful if the English language learner’s language acquisition device is blocked from profiting from it. The filter goes up when the learner feels unmotivated or does not have the confidence needed and it goes down if the learner does not feel anxious and is motivated to become a member of the group (Du, 2009, p. 162). What we need is to find ways to use the ideas of Krashen’s hypothesis to help English language learners acquire their new language. As educators, it is necessary to get to know your students and figure out what motivates them to learn. Students may not be motivated to learn due to lack of interest or confidence in their abilities. Sometimes the teacher’s attitude can affect how a student learns and educators have to be aware of how their attitudes might hinder a student's chances of learning a new language. (Du, 2009, p. 164). Teachers need to be aware of their attitude and how they are portrayed when they are teaching students new things. If a teacher does not seem to be interested in whether the students learn, they are not helping motivate the students. By introducing a diversified teaching method and using positive and humorous language, teachers can “create a harmonious and light atmosphere for learning.” (Du, 2009, p. 164). Another way teachers can help students when learning English is to help build their self-confidence which will lower their anxiety.
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