The Importance Of Language Learning

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The acquisition of an additional language is a continual and active process and there are several fundamental theories that explore the language learning process. Language is learned through “imitation and habit formation” (Coelho 141), “cognitive process” (141), and “social interaction” (141). However, successful language acquisition usually incorporates such “scaffolding meaning, activating and building students’ background knowledge and extending students’ knowledge of academic language through explicit instruction” (Cummins and Early 26). In this paper I will explore these by examining my language learning experiences of Mandarin and Swahili, as well as those of Veronica, a Chinese exchange student who is learning English. It is important…show more content…
It is interesting to note that our most successful language learning experiences occurred while living in the country where the language was spoken. This may speak to the continual and consistent opportunities provided by exposure to real life language rather than the assumption that immersion will, in and of itself produce language acquisition. My husband, for example, lived in Nairobi with me but never learned the language and relied upon my skills to negotiate taxi fairs, etc. In Big Ideas for Expanding Minds, Cummins and Early state that social interaction is one component that contributes to successful language acquisition. Veronica and I, although living in different countries, gained language skills by using “social interactions as a means of generating target language input and output” (15). Veronica’s social interactions include regularly participation in English conversations with other University students, viewing popular television shows such as Friends while reading the English subtexts and engaging in daily activities such as shopping, commuting and student life. Similarly, I engaged regularly with peers, shopped in local markets, relied upon public transportation and participated in community life. My peers…show more content…
Nova Scotia classrooms can benefit when teachers and school boards recognize that language acquisition is a process that can be enriched and accelerated. This enrichment and facilitation can occur by recognizing that, although learning a second language does require “imitation and habit formation” (Coelho 141), “cognitive process” (141), and “social interaction” (141), it also matters how these are implemented. Through implementing “scaffolding” (Cummins and Early 27) strategies such as activating student’s prior knowledge, use of L1, hands on experiences, etc. teachers are able to provide an experience that promotes language learning. Likewise, classrooms that have a positive learning environments, with content rich resources, supportive peers and positive “social interactions (141)” generate an atmosphere that lends itself to increased learning. In addition, teachers should recognize the significance in how they implement language activities that require “imitation and habit formation” (41). While this may take effort on behalf of teachers and students, the results will reflect the benefit of implementing these

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