I carried out a research into theories and principles relating to language acquisition and learning, and literacy learning and development. I then analysed associated teaching approaches relating to both areas.
Teaching methods are based upon notions about learning. Second language learning theories teaching methods are closely related to concepts about learning a first language. It is important for a teacher to be aware of the theories available in order to make informed practical choices.
Learning Theory Definition Associated methods
1900s Learning is the result of stimulus. It can be manipulated, observed and does not require any cognitive processes in the brain. Learning is a process of forming habits.
The teacher’s role is to control the environment and the learner’s behaviour through reinforcements (rewards and punishments)
Teaching and learning through mimicry, imitation, reinforcement, memorization, repetitive drills, rewards, teacher centred approach
1950s Learning is not a habit formation. It involves cognitive processes. Learning is a process occurring within the mind independently of the contexts. The children’s developmental stages are central to this view. Knowledge itself is self-sufficient and independent of the contexts.
Learning first occurs on the individual level Lecturing, reading, learner-centred approach
1970s Learning is an interaction between the individual and the situation. The role of context is heavily emphasised.
The teacher is a facilitator of learning rather than ‘a knowledge transmitter’
Learning first takes place on a social level and only ...
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...n innate ability to learn languages, a crucial element in second language acquisition (SLA) is input. This input must be comprehensible. This can be achieved through conversational adjustments. Some modification examples include
• Comprehension checks
• Clarification requests
Second Language Teaching methods associated with this theory
Communicative Language method – a version of Task Based Learning.
Influenced by Krashen and developed in 1980s – 1990s. This method is characterised by ensuring authenticity of materials and meaningful tasks.
Effective teaching is not merely assessing learners’ skills. It is also knowing which elements of individual approaches and methods to adopt with different students and in different circumstances
Vygotsky L (1978) Mind in Society Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press
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