Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chapter 2: Learner's Individual Differences


Cognitive Variables
Affective Variables
Language Learning Strategies
Language Anxiety

Miscellaneous Variables
  1. Age: The subject of a great deal of research. Younger may better in the long run, but older is faster at first.
  2. SexSome research says girls are better language learners.
  3. Social BackgroundIs a factor that can affect language learning
Affective Variables: 
  • Affective: related to feelings and emotions.
  1. Motivation: a drive or stimulus which pushes you to do something.
    Intrinsic:: from inside the learner (Instrumental e.g. to get a better job - Integrative e.g. identifying with the country of the language being learned 
    Extrinsic: external to the learner (e.g. the course book, teacher).
    Motivated learners learn better.
  2. AttitudeA positive attitude enhances learning.
  3. AnxietyDebilitating (anxiety which is so great that it interfere with thought or action. It is a negative factor in language learning). Facilitating (a level of anxiety which motivates one to learn or do better. It enhances language learning).
  4. Learning stylesAn individual's preferred way of learning.  Learners may learn best through: Hearing (Auditory learners); Seeing (Visual learners); touching (Tactile learners); Whole body movement (Kinesthetic learners).
    • NB: There are other possible ways of classifying learning styles.
Cognitive Variables:
  • Relating to the processing of thought and knowledge.
  1. Aptitude: Some children have a natural talent for language learning, but all children can learn.
  2. Learning Strategies: Behaviours individuals use to help them learn.
    • O'Malley: 
      • Metacognitive: planning, monitoring and evaluating one's learning
      • Cognitive: making mental or physical images, grouping, taking notes
      • Social/Affective: interacting with others, cooperating, asking questions
    • Rabbica Oxford: 
      • Memory-related: Using imagery, movement, rhyming to enhance memory
      • Cognitive: Any information processing strategy, e.g. practicing, reasoning, analyzing, taking notes
      • Compensatory: using gestures, mime, or guessing to get meaning across
      • Metacognitive: Planning, organizing, monitoring, evaluation 
      • Affective: Reducing anxiety strategies such as encouraging/ rewarding yourself
      • Social: Asking questions, cooperating with peers
    • Levine and McCloskey (1998) identify four strategies that children use in learning a foreign language. They are:
      • Generalization: perceiving patterns, make guesses and hypotheses about the rules 
      • Inductive reasoning: inducing a general rule that govern certain examples
      • Transfer: extending the rules of L1 to L2.
      • Avoidance: avoiding words and structures not yet learned, and using one-word utterances, gestures, or "circumlocution" to convey meaning instead.
  3. Multiple Intelligences Theory: 
    They are many different types of intelligence not just one.
    • Bodily-Kinesthetic: the ability to use the body to express ideas, feelings, and to solve problems, e.g. role-playing.
    • Linguistic: the ability to use oral and written language effectively, e.g. dialogue writing or newspaper reading.
    • Logical-Mathematical: the ability to use numbers effectively, to reason, and to ask questions in a logical manner, e.g. number games
    • Intrapersonal: the ability to understand yourself, your feelings, motivation, strengths and weaknesses, e.g. writing in a personal journals
    • Interpersonal: group work, plays, discussions, debate
    • Spatial-visual: the ability to graphically represent visual or spatial ideas; e.g. maps ans use colours
    • Musical: the ability to sense rhythm, pitch and melody; e.g. sing, clap to the rhythm.
    • Naturalistic: the ability to recognize and classify plants, animals; w.g. field trips, collecting leaves.

Humanistic TheoryAn approach centered on individuals’ feelings and values.
Metacognitive: Thinking about thinking - analyzing one’s own thinkingprocess or study strategies
Self-concept: The way the learner views himself and his own potential as a language learner may be the i most important factor in language acquisition.