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Language Acquisition Principles Essay

1029 words - 4 pages

Stephen Krashen is one of the experts when it comes to language acquisition. He has theorized on the subject of second language acquisition for years and has been quite influential in this field of linguistics. He approaches the subject of second language acquisition by presenting his five theories for acquiring a second language. Aida Walqui is another expert; however, she approaches the subject from the aspect that contextual factors are involved in second language learning.
Even though Krashen and Walqui are attempting to achieve a similar goal, their methodologies are different. Krashen believes there are two independent systems that affect one’s language and how a language is acquired. Krashen believes there are two systems that have different approaches to language acquisition. One belief is that there is an “acquired system” and another belief is that there is a “learned system”. The acquired system is a process like that of a child learning their first language, where language comes from the interaction between the speaker and the listener naturally.
The acquired system can easily be used effectively by teachers in the classroom through meaningful interaction in the target language. This is a form of natural communication where those involved are not concentrated on the form of what is being spoken, but in the actual communication that is taking place. When this method is used, the teacher is able to gradually pass more independence on to the student, resulting in growth in language acquisition. This is done by the teacher modeling and describing what is being said which guides the student. Through the built-in routines of response and feedback, with corresponding revision and editing, students are scaffolded to a much higher level of performance than they could have achieved otherwise (Peregoy, p.100). This process is called multiple, embedded scaffolds and I see it as being possible to use with both written and spoken English.
The learned system Krashen believes to be the product of formal instruction and requires that the learner use a process that involves a study of grammar and rules and is taught making learning of less importance than acquisition.
Aida Walqui, who is the Director of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) Programs which includes the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) and Strategic Literacy Initiative (SLI) projects addressing all aspects of teacher development from pre-service through teacher leadership in grades 5–14, presents her perspective by suggesting that contextual factors affect second language acquisition. Walqui points out those factors that affect second language acquisition and explains how they shape second language learning. Her belief is that through language distance, native language proficiency, knowledge of the second language, dialect and register, language status, and language attitudes second language learners are able to acquire a second language.
Whereas Krashen is...

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