Friday, November 12, 2010

Second Language Acquisition

Do you ever feel like a student is losing ground rather than progressing? Do you wonder why a structure they used correctly last week is now used incorrectly? The following video, Second Language Acquisition in Under 5 Minutes, was created by MLC’s own Educational Technology Trainer, Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt. It will help you understand why mastery of a grammar rule doesn’t happen all at once and why it’s important to be patient with ourselves and our learners.

Points to reflect on after you view the video:

1. Mastery of a grammar rule does not come quickly or all at once. Remind your learners to be patient with themselves. You’ll need to review and repeat each grammar topic frequently.

2. Mistakes are not bad! Mistakes are windows into your learners’ grammar and can help you understand what they already know and what they need to work on. When learners start making different kinds of mistakes, this can actually be a sign of learning!

3. Correct grammar does not always indicate mastery of the rule. The learner may simply be repeating something she has heard, without understanding why it is correct. Don’t assume that your learners won’t benefit from review and repetition, just because they already use the grammar correctly.

4. People don’t always learn what they are taught – they learn what they are ready to learn. Not everyone in a class or group will be ready to learn a particular structure at the same time. This is not a failure on the part of the student or of the tutor/teacher.

5. Some things which may seem simple or beginning-level at first glance are actually very complicated. Don’t frustrate yourself or your learner(s) by insisting on complete accuracy before moving on to something else. Do another activity, and then come back to the grammar later.

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