Emerging language training

1 – Cognitive/phychological or socio/cultural?

Identity and culture are as important as linguistic competence.

Language acquisition connects learners’ individual mental processes and the grammatical system of the target language.

This focus is on whether or not learners are able to become fully participating members of society. (second language socialisation).

Social theory is also important including how macro social categories (gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality etc) interconnect with language use.

The natural order hypothesis (Krashen) states that the morphemes (grammar structures) are acquired in a particular order independent of the order in which the rules are taught.

The focus is on more on ‘input’ than ‘output’. ‘Output’ tells us language acquisition has already taken place.

Language learning is produced in social interaction not in the brain. This means more focus on ‘output’ in acquisition.Input, Interaction, Output (Gass) is a prominent model.

Corpus linguistics has led to a focus on memorising chunks rather than mental manipulation of grammatical rules. This means a shift from grammar towards vocabulary

The focus is not only on grammar and vocab but also on pragmatics (appropriate language) in the cultural context.

Social aspects, interpersonal aspects and previous life experience are important, not just the individual brain function.

2 – The process

Making meaning: Open exploration of a theme (2-6 hours)

Tools/activities – picture pack, card cluster, timeline, diaries, pizzas, river

Going deeper: honing in on specifics for critical analysis (4-10 hours)

Tools – iceberg, tree, problem-posing, discussion, debates

Broadening Out: Bringing in texts/voices from outside the classroom

Tools/activities: debates, videos, external speakers, newspaper articles