Teach English in Fanshui Zhen - Yangzhou Shi

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How do we acquire a language? Neurology and Psychology tell us that the two hemispheres of our brain work together, in different and specialized ways, when the need for acquiring a language shows up. The left hemisphere is specialized in analytical, logical, and sequential activities. In contrast, the right hemisphere is specialized in global, simultaneous, analogic operations, as well as in creativity and non-verbal language. Both brain modes, the analytical one of the left hemisphere and the global one of the right hemisphere, are involved in the process of learning a language. When talking about language teaching, Freddi (1999)[1] states the concept of didactic unity, based on the involvement of the two hemispheres, and which integrates emotions and curiosity (right side), with the analysis of needs (left side). In other words, the motivation of learning arises involving the affective dimension of the right hemisphere (pleasure of communicating in another language, curiosity in front of a different culture), the logical one of the left hemisphere (linguistic or professional needs), then again the affective one by presenting material in a contextualized way, rich in cultural connotations, and finally moving on to a formal analysis with exercises and reflections on the language. According to Klein (1958)[2], the acquisition of L1 coincides with the cognitive and social development of the child. With an emphasis on the components of unawareness and unintentionality in the assimilation of the mother tongue, we can observe that a child never begins to learn the mother tongue by studying the alphabet or grammar. The development of L1 starts with the free, spontaneous use of speech and culminates in the conscious realization of linguistic forms. In L2, however, the language development begins with a deliberate production of the language and culminates in spontaneous speech. When speaking about L1 and L2, we can make a distinction between acquisition and learning, as described below by Krashen (1981)[3]. Acquisition involves long-term memory; it is an unconscious process that exploits the global strategies of the right hemisphere along with the analytical ones of the left hemisphere: what is acquired becomes a stable part of the person's competence. Learning resides in short-term memory; it is a rational process, governed by the left hemisphere, the "learned" ability is not definitive. It is also activated much more slowly than the "acquired" competence, so, in real communication, there is no time to use it except as a monitor, as a grammatical check in the broad sense. The acquisition process concerns our L1; the L2 teacher will, therefore, have to work to produce acquisition if he wishes to perform an effective action. When learning is built, you may have the feeling of having achieved a positive result, but actually, it is a temporary fact that does not generate autonomous linguistic behavior. This dichotomy is, therefore, a litmus test to observe the didactic material or the work of a teacher. As Krashen (1981) observes, acquisition occurs when the language student focuses his/her attention on the meaning of the input and not on its form: the input must, therefore, be understandable. The condition for the input to be acquired is that it should be placed at the step of the natural order that immediately follows the input that has been acquired up to that moment. Moreover, the student does not entirely retain the input but selects a part of it through a series of psych-affective factors, motivations, emotional states, or attitudes. So, a way to make foreign language teaching efficient is to activate processes similar to those activated during the acquisition of the first language. The teacher should indeed concentrate his/her efforts on experiential programming, which has as its essential unit the experiences to which the teacher makes the student exposed. Emphasis is placed on the learning process rather than on the product: the latter becomes the engine that serves to carry out the operation. [1] Freddi, G. "Glottodidattica. Fondamenti, metodi e tecniche". Torino, UTET, 1999. [2] Klein, M. "On the development of mental functioning". London, The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1958. [3] Krashen, S. D. "Second language acquisition and second language learning". Oxford, Pergamon, 1981.