Language aquisition While teaching English may appear to be
While teaching English may appear to be a simple task to us as first language speakers, I am of the opinion that the dynamics behind learning a second language are as complex as the acquisition of the language its self. With this in mind, it is important for us, as teachers, to draw on various sources to ensure that we are aware of the complexities of language acquisition, especially when it comes to children and the learning of English as a second language. Words and being able to express one´s self are an integral part of an individual´s development. Being unable to verbalize what we are thinking and feeling leaves us with a life of shadow and doubt. A leading figure in the acquisition of language is Vygotsky.
Vygotsky has contributed greatly to the understanding of language acquisition. His statement that "a word is a microcosm of human consciousness" is the basis, I think of what the teaching of English as a second language is all about. His claim that the "speech structures mastered by the child becomes the basic structures of his thinking" further my belief that children should be encouraged to master languages at a very young age in order to create an individual who can think critically. I am of the belief that Vygotsky´s theories relate directly to the study of English as a second language and should be included in any related syllabus as he examines how a child uses language and we, as teachers, can make use of this in our teaching methods.
In addition, theorists who support Vygotsky's school of thinking examine how nonverbal thoughts become rational verbal expressions as a result of social interaction. In light of this claim, I think it is imperative that teachers use this to boost the acquisition of English in young learners. This can be done by the use of simple games, for example, that require students to interact with each other as social interaction will increase the ability to acquire new language skills. Vygotsky points out that once a child realizes that objects in their environment have a name, they come to the realization that they are faced with a problem. This problem manifests itself in the fact that they do not know the name of all objects in their environment. A desire to learn and acquire new language skills demands that the child look to the adult in their company to teach them the new words. This is the basis of concept formation. When it comes to second language acquisition, theorists draw on Vygotsky's concept of zone of proximal development. The basis of this concept is that language is acquired when the individual interacts with their environment.
Of special interest is the fact that when it comes to learning language, the authenticity of the learning environment and the affinity between its participants are essential elements to make the child part of the environment. It has been suggested that these are features rarely found in a conventional classroom, and therefore it should be the effort of us as teachers to ensure that these features are found in our classrooms to facilitate learning English as a second language. It is the interaction with other people that stimulates the learner to acquire a second language. As teachers of English as a second language we need to ensure that we draw on the student's environment and incorporate it into their learning in order to facilitate an effect learning program.
By drawing on Vygotsky's theories regarding language acquisition, we can see that a classroom that is traditional may not be the ideal learning environment. The teacher centered approach may in fact hinder the learning process. By making the class more learner ' centered, the lesson becomes less structured and more relaxed. This more natural environment makes for a more communicative setting. The idea is to create an atmosphere that is closer to real ' world interaction.
Examination of this theory has led me to believe that social interaction will definitely enhance language acquisition. The claim that the more natural setting will also increase the chances of students learning faster and easier is one that I support as well. However, I think it is important that we do not forget the vital role that traditional teaching methods have in the teaching of a second language. Repetition, for example, definitely plays a significant role in the teaching of second languages. I think it is imperative that each teacher draw upon the various theories available and adopt individual ideals that are suitable for our needs and those we are comfortable with in order to achieve a class setting that works for us.
BIBLIOGRAPHY 1.Sch'tz, Ricardo. "Vygotsky & Language Acquisition." English Made in Brazil http://www.sk.com.br/sk-vygot.html. December 5, 2004
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