Larita Hudson on Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

As a Professor at Touro College I teach EDDN 639-  Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition – an Online Course at Touro College, TESOL/ Bilingual Advanced Certificate Programs, Graduate School of Education.  Students move as a cohort through the online course and produce weekly writings on complex questions.  Highlighting some of these excellent contribution of students is a privilege and honor as an instructor and guide.  Here the writing of Larita Hudson, who gave express written permission to use her contribution in my blog.

Larita Hudson:

I am currently in my 17th year of teaching at public schools in the Bronx, New York. I currently work at PS 140, as a 5th grade ELA/Social Studies teacher, in a departmentalized setting. I teach two single-gender classes, an all girls class and an all boys class, including several students from Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Gambia, and Senegal. I started in Touro’s TESOL program in the early 2000s, but took a long hiatus. I started again last semester and am on track to graduate next winter.

Online Book: Understanding Second Language Acquisition by Lourdes Ortega

Question:

Considering both Ortega’s discussion of types of conversational modifications, your own experience/observations as an L2 learner, what kinds of interaction moves, interlocutor type, and contextual conditions have been the most effective for making input comprehensible, and what kinds have been the least effective?

Larita Hudson:

From my experience, asking clarifying questions and confirming have been effective interaction moves for negotiating meaning in language.  I think it’s extremely important for both interlocutors to engage in these techniques to ensure that each speaker’s utterances are valued and understood.  It boils down to respect for each other’s thoughts, ideas, and efforts.  As far as interlocutors, I think the least effective is one who is  “prejudiced”, exhibiting pre-existing or negative attitudes (Ortega).  For input to be comprehensible, Krashen says it must be delivered in a clear and safe way (as stated in Hamza, 2016).  One who is prejudiced will not be encouraging and praise successes, creating a hostile learning environment, which will result in the learner having high anxiety and low self-esteem (an affective filter to language acquisition development).

Question:

As by Ortega, the five factors of the linguistic environment that assist in L2 learning are: (a) acculturated attitudes, (b) comprehensible input, (c) interaction and negotiation of meaning, (d) pushed or comprehensible output, and (e) noticing. Ortega states that “these five ingredients were likely present in a case like Julie (see Chapter 2, section 2.2), the first of several exceptionally successful learners discovered since the mid-1990s” (p. 79). Revisit that article and discuss the ways in which these factors are evident or not evident in her language learning situation, and how positive attitudes alone were not sufficient for L2 language learning. You may compare Julie’s situation to that of Alberto and Wes, if applicable.

Larita Hudson:

Unlike Wes, Julie’s acculturation into Egyptian society was strong.  She had a husband and children there and was more invested in building a permanent life in Egypt.  Therefore, it was important for her to pay closer attention to the form of the language.  Wes only moved to Hawaii for business and career reasons.  This might explain why his drive to pay attention was missing (Schmidt, as cited in Ortega, 2009).  In addition, although Wes was interested in communicating with others, he didn’t have interest in negotiating meaning.  Schmidt (as cited in Ortega) noted that Wes was unwilling or unable to revise.  He didn’t explore checks for understanding.  For example, Schmidt “never caught Wes using the kinds of strategy that would foster longer-term learning, such as consulting a dictionary or asking his interlocutors metalinguistic questions about subtle differences or idiomatic appropriacy” (Ortega, 2009, p. 58). On the other hand, as a teacher of English to Arabic students, effective communication (comprehensible output) was probably very important to Julie as her career and livelihood depended on it.

Question:

Name and define the five components of Krashen’s Monitor Model. As teachers and language learners, what makes these components appealing or logical? Krashen5Hypothesis.pdf Click for more options

Please watch this YouTube Video of Krashen on Language Acquisition and Input. https://youtu.be/fnUc_W3xE1w

Larita Hudson:

The five components of Krashen’s Monitor Model are the Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis, the Natural Order Hypothesis, the Monitor Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, and the Affective Filter Hypothesis.  The Acquisition Learning Hypothesis explains the difference between acquisition (the “gist” of the language) and learning (more explicit and formal with explanations and lessons).  The Natural Order Hypothesis is a way of understanding that learners acquire grammar on their own at their own pace, in a predictable order.  The Monitor Hypothesis provides an explanation of how learners make conscious choices to edit and monitor their writing and/or speaking.  The Input Hypothesis pertains to how learners acquire language via the quality of the input (messages) they receive, which leads to understanding.  Finally, the Affective Filter Hypothesis stresses the importance of keeping anxiety low, and motivation and self-confidence high for language acquisition.  Krashen himself explained “We acquire language in one way, and only one way…when we get comprehensible input in a low-anxiety environment” (Hamza, 2016).

As teachers, it is critical to provide a safe learning environment, in which students are not afraid to take risks and feel free to make mistakes without ridicule or embarrassment.  It is only then that, according to Krashen, true learning can take place, which is the ultimate goal of education.

According to Krashen’s theory, learners should be able to take solace in the idea that language learning is not the same for every learner.  It is situational and happens in its own time, such as the Natural Order and Input hypotheses imply.

Question:

Ortega notes that while researchers have concluded that negative feedback is preferable to ignoring learner errors, “much less agreement has been reached as to when, how and why negative feedback works, when it does” (p. 80). Considering what you’ve read in the text and your own experiences teaching or learning language, what is negative feedback?  Give 2 examples.

Larita Hudson:

Based on the reading, negative feedback is simply providing cues to make the speaker aware of errors and prompting the speaker to make corrections.  For example, there is an entering ELL in my class this year.  Each day at dismissal, before I give her permission to leave I ask her to tell me the relation of the person picking her up.  Depending on the day, she responds, “My grandma”, “My uncle”, “My mother”, or “My aunt”.  For the first few months she used the words incorrectly, and I’d elicit the correct responses from her by asking her to try again.  Another example of negative feedback is recasting.  It’s when the interlocutor repeats what the learner has said, keeping the meaning intact, but providing a more suitable form of the utterance.  For example, Parker (2012) provides the example of a learner who says, “I want read”, and the facilitator responds, “Oh you want TO read.”

References:

Hamza, T. (2016, Jan. 28). Stephen Krashen: Language acquisition and comprehensible input [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnUc_W3xE1w&feature=youtu.be

Ortega, L. (2009). Second language acquisition. London. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Parker, R. (2012).  Recasting: A language facilitation strategy.  Retrieve from:http://praacticalaac.org/strategy/recasting-a-language-facilitation-strategy/

Author: drcowinj

As an Assistant Professor for TESOL and Bilingual Programs at Touro College, Graduate School of Education Dr. Cowin’s focus is on the Responsibility to Touro Students (Teaching), Responsibility to the Discipline (Scholarship), Responsibility to Touro College and Community (Service). Dr. Cowin strives to inspire students to be creative and to model the love of lifelong learning by inculcating the habits and attitudes that create agile mindsets. 21st-century learning extends well beyond the classroom, and Dr. Cowin incorporates takes full advantage of online learning technologies for L2 language acquisition and current global trends in teaching English as a Second Language She represents high levels of scholarship and participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publication, presentation and participation in academic conferences, articles in Education Update, blogging and other scholarly activities, including public performances or exhibitions at conferences and workshops such as the Plekhanov University of Economics keynote address in 2018. Of special interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education, Current Global Trends in Teaching English; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English – Methodology; E-learning & Micro-Methodology in Teaching English; and E-Resources Discovery and Analysis.

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