Guide Spoken English: a theoretical approach to language learning

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Stephen Krashen on Language Acquisition

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Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition

Tell us about your idea. Create a profile. Sign up for newsletter. Over time, language education has developed in schools and has become a part of the education curriculum around the world. In some countries, such as the United States, language education also referred to as World Languages has become a core subject along with main subjects such as English, Maths and Science. In some countries, such as Australia, it is so common nowadays for a foreign language to be taught in schools that the subject of language education is referred to LOTE or Language Other Than English.

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In the majority of English-speaking education centers, French, Spanish and German are the most popular languages to study and learn. English As A Second Language is also available for students whose first language is not English and they are unable to speak it to the required standard. Language education may take place as a general school subject or in a specialized language school. There are many methods of teaching languages. Some have fallen into relative obscurity and others are widely used; still others have a small following, but offer useful insights.

While sometimes confused, the terms "approach", "method" and "technique" are hierarchical concepts. An approach is a set of assumptions about the nature of language and language learning, but does not involve procedure or provide any details about how such assumptions should be implemented into the classroom setting. Such can be related to second language acquisition theory. A method is a plan for presenting the language material to be learned, and should be based upon a selected approach.

A technique or strategy is a very specific, concrete stratagem or trick designed to accomplish an immediate objective. Such are derived from the controlling method, and less directly, from the approach. Hundreds of languages are available for self-study, from scores of publishers, for a range of costs, using a variety of methods. Audio recordings use native speakers, and one strength is helping learners improve their accent. Others are continuous so the learner speaks along with the recorded voice, similar to learning a song.

Audio recordings for self-study use many of the methods used in classroom teaching, and have been produced on records, tapes, CDs, DVDs and websites. Most audio recordings teach words in the target language by using explanations in the learner's own language. An alternative is to use sound effects to show meaning of words in the target language.


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Language books have been published for centuries, teaching vocabulary and grammar. The simplest books are phrasebooks to give useful short phrases for travelers, cooks, receptionists, [13] or others who need specific vocabulary. More complete books include more vocabulary, grammar, exercises, translation, and writing practice.

The Role of Linguistic and Language Acquisition Theory in Teacher Development

Websites provide various services geared toward language education. Some sites are designed specifically for learning languages:. Many other websites are helpful for learning languages, even though they are designed, maintained and marketed for other purposes:. Some are ad-supported, such as newspapers and YouTube.

Some require a payment. Language learning strategies have attracted increasing focus as a way of understanding the process of language acquisition. Clearly listening is used to learn, but not all language learners employ it consciously. Listening to understand is one level of listening but focused listening [21] is not something that most learners employ as a strategy. Many people read to understand but the strategy of reading text to learn grammar and discourse styles can also be employed.

Translation and rote memorization have been the two strategies that have been employed traditionally. There are other strategies that also can be used such as guessing, based on looking for contextual clues, spaced repetition with a use of various apps, games and tools e. Knowledge about how the brain works can be utilized in creating strategies for how to remember words. Esperanto, the most widely used international auxiliary language, is founded by L.

Zamenhof , a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist, in , aimed to eliminate language barriers in the international contacts. Esperanto is an artificial language created on the basis of the Indo-European languages , absorbing the reasonable factors of commonality of the Germanic languages. Esperanto has a completely consistent in its spoken and writing. The stress of every word is fixed on the penultimate syllable.

By learning twenty-eight letters and mastering the phonetic rules, one can read and write any words. With further simplification and standardization, Esperanto becomes more easily to master than other languages. Ease of learning help one build the confidence and learning Esperanto, as a learning strategy, constitutes a good introduction to foreign language study. Blended learning combines face-to-face teaching with distance education , frequently electronic, either computer-based or web-based.

Some people, though, use the phrase 'Blended Learning' to refer to learning taking place while the focus is on other activities. For example, playing a card game that requires calling for cards may allow blended learning of numbers 1 to When talking about language skills, the four basic ones are: listening, speaking, reading and writing. However, other, more socially based skills have been identified more recently such as summarizing, describing, narrating etc.

In addition, more general learning skills such as study skills and knowing how one learns have been applied to language classrooms. In the s and s, the four basic skills were generally taught in isolation in a very rigid order, such as listening before speaking. However, since then, it has been recognized that we generally use more than one skill at a time, leading to more integrated exercises. This is due to the fact that it is considered harder to teach and test.

There are numerous texts on teaching and testing writing but relatively few on speaking. More recent textbooks stress the importance of students working with other students in pairs and groups, sometimes the entire class. Pair and group work give opportunities for more students to participate more actively.

However, supervision of pairs and groups is important to make sure everyone participates as equally as possible. Such activities also provide opportunities for peer teaching, where weaker learners can find support from stronger classmates. In foreign language teaching , the sandwich technique is the oral insertion of an idiomatic translation in the mother tongue between an unknown phrase in the learned language and its repetition, in order to convey meaning as rapidly and completely as possible.

The mother tongue equivalent can be given almost as an aside, with a slight break in the flow of speech to mark it as an intruder. For example, a German teacher of English might engage in the following exchange with the students:.

Mother tongue mirroring is the adaptation of the time-honoured technique of literal translation or word-for word translation for pedagogical purposes. The aim is to make foreign constructions salient and transparent to learners and, in many cases, spare them the technical jargon of grammatical analysis. It differs from literal translation and interlinear text as used in the past since it takes the progress learners have made into account and only focuses upon a specific structure at a time.

As a didactic device, it can only be used to the extent that it remains intelligible to the learner, unless it is combined with a normal idiomatic translation. This technique is seldom referred to or used these days. Back-chaining is a technique used in teaching oral language skills, especially with polysyllabic or difficult words. Then the teacher will repeat it with -sorg- attached before: -sorg-sky, and all that remains is the first syllable: Mus-sorg-sky.

Code switching is a special linguistic phenomenon that the speaker consciously alternates two or more languages according to different time, places, contents, objects and other factors.

Teach English Now! Theories of Second Language Acquisition

Code switching shows its functions while one is in the environment that mother tongue are not playing a dominant role in students' life and study, such as the children in the bilingual family or in the immigrant family. Most people learn foreign language in the circumstance filled with the using of their native language so that their ability of code switching cannot be stimulated, and thus the efficiency of foreign language acquisition would decrease.

Therefore, as a teaching strategy, code switching is used to help students better gain conceptual competences and to provide rich semantic context for them to understand some specific vocabularies. Practices in language education may vary by region however the underlying understandings which drive it are fundamentally similar.

Rote repetition, drilling, memorisation and grammar conjugating are used the world over. Sometimes there are different preferences teaching methods by region. Language immersion is popular in some European countries, but is not used very much in the United States , in Asia or in Australia.

Main article: Early Childhood Education. Early childhood is the fastest and most critical period for one to master language in their life. Children's language communication is transformed from non-verbal communication to verbal communication from ages of one to five. Their mastery of language is largely acquired naturally by living in a verbal communication environment.