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Psychology of language learning - Assignment Example

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Psychology of language learning

World-wide, there are more individuals who are bilingual rather than monolingual [Gardner, 2010, 1]. This means that there are more children in school who are studying in a language that it is not their primary language, and some of the challenges of this are formidable. This very trend speaks to the importance of second language learning, and how we go about teaching and even researching that field. Further, the second stage process in this, is the very evaluation of how we teach English as a second language. The evaluation itself will be the focus of the following study, and it will be demonstrated in the following how current theory provides the research, evidence and foundation for the relationship between motivation, and L2 outcomes or learning success. It has been argued and demonstrated that individual differences (ID) can affect the success of L2 learning and acquisition. With these differences, the psychology of individuals takes on a very significant meaning: "ID constructs refer to dimensions of enduring personal characteristics that are assumed to apply to everybody and on which people differ by degree" [Dornyei, 2005, 4]. Individual differences constitute traits that may be used to categorize people but, when examined more thoroughly, they can be seen as markedly different from one person to the next. Some of the major or most significant variables that cause differences, include age, intelligence, motivation and language anxiety. The evaluation of individuals coming to an L2 situation or context, is an area of research that has been expanding or broadening over the last years. It has also been narrowing in the sense that we now know that personality and aptitude are among the most significant predictors [Sturgeon, 2011, 4-5]. Aptitude applies to traits involving reasoning and processing of information in reference to a specific area of performance [Sturgeon, 2011, 5]. Learning styles is another of the very strong predictors for L2 outcomes, and Reid defines learning style as an "individual's natural, habitude, and preferred ways of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information skills" [Dornyei, 2005, 121]. This means that L2 learners apply different approaches when challenged by the very same tasks. ROLE OF MOTIVATION IN L2 LEARNING: Among the variables and factors examined in the body of research on L2 acquisition and learning, it can be said that motivation is among the most studied. For instance, Keller argues that "motivation refers to the choices people make as to what experiences or goals they will approach or avoid, and the degree and effort they will exert in this respect" [Gardner, 2005, 3]. Compared, this definition, as contrasted with past research on motivation is quite different and for example, it was defined as "characterized by willingness to be like valued members of the language community [Gardner and Lambert, 1959, 271] in a previous study by Gardner. From the past to the present, it can be said that any comparative analysis of this yields the understanding that we are getting to a more nuanced or specific definition. GARDNER'S DEFINITION OF MOTIVATION: One area where Gardner challenges past definitions of motivation in relation to L2, was the focus. In the past, both studies and in turn, the pedagogy developed around L2 was focused primarily on intelligence as it related to verbal ability [Gardner, 2001, 28]. What has changed, and significantly from this perspective, are affective variables that have become significantly more important in L2 acquisition. These variables included student attitudes and motivation, self confidence, personality traits (such as empathy and need for achievement), and language aptitude [De Bot, Lowie and Verspoor, 2005, 191]. Gardner's interest in motivation extended from his belief that many of the variables mentioned above, were dependent on motivation. For instance, a student with a high level of intelligence, may not have success in L2 acquisition, if they are not motivated. Likewise, a high aptitude may prove futile if the learner ...Show more

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World-wide, there are more individuals who are bilingual rather than monolingual [Gardner, 2010, 1]. This means that there are more children in school who are studying in a language that it is not their primary language, and some of the challenges of this are formidable…
Author : bmclaughlin
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