ENG 571 Lecture 3: Ch 3 - Principles of L2 Learning Chart (Ellis)

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5 Dec 2019
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Chapter 3: Principles of Instructed Second Language Learning
What is a principle?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a principle is “A general law or rule adopted or professed as a guide to action; a settled
ground or basis of conduct or practice; a fundamental motive or reason for action, especially one consciously recognized and
followed.
Why does Ellis think we need Principles?
Need to apply research from second language acquisition studies to how we teach. In other words, second language acquisition
(SLA) should guide HOW we teach
“Apply with caution” - Hatch, 1979, as cited in Ellis, 2014
1. No agreement on many subjects (e.g. when to teach grammar, what type of corrective feedback, whether to
teach explicit knowledge, whether to use focus on forms or focus on form, etc.)
2. Several views on second language acquisition that could inform practice (Ellis uses computational the
metaphor that the mind is like a computer, processing input)
Principle
Major Points
In the Classroom
Vocabulary
1: Instruction needs
to ensure that learners
develop both a rich
repertoire of formulaic
expressions and rule-
based competence.
Why:
1. use of formulaic language leads to
fluency and more native-like use of
language
2. there is some evidence that learners
begin to understand grammar rules
by reanalyzing formulaic expressions
they have already learned
1. Use contextualized
vocabulary “lists
not just individual
words with a
translation
2. In addition to
vocabulary lists, use
“formulas” or
“expressions” lists
formulaic expressions: a set of words
that are meaningful and routinely occur
together and generally serve a
function, e.g. “I don’t know”, “How do
you say”, “Where are”.
rule-based competence: a knowledge
of specific grammatical rules needed
to create novel utterances (utterances
that haven’t been heard before).
About the Author:
Rod Ellis
Professor in the Department of Applied Language Studies and
Linguistics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Specialties include second language acquisition and task-based
language learning
Huge Hillary Clinton supporter
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Principle
Major Points
In the Classroom
Vocabulary
2: Instruction
needs to
ensure that
learners focus
predominantly
on meaning.
What is focus on meaning?
Include elements of
pragmatics (and pragmatic
meaning) in the classroom.
Pragmatic meaning is often
combined with cultural
instruction.
pragmatics: study of language in use
and the contexts in which it is used. It
includes things like deixis, turn taking,
text organization, presuppositions,
implications, politeness, etc.
deixis: words and phrases with different
meanings and implications based on
their context.
the pragmatic
meaning, or the
meaning that arises
from the context
language is a tool
for
communication
Ellis (who wrote a
book on task-
based teaching)
insists a task-
based approach
is needed for this
form of focus on
meaning
3: Instruction
needs to
ensure that
learners also
focus on form
Richard Schmidt (1994) argues that for a
person to learn something, he or she must
first notice it (the noticing hypothesis).
1. include grammar lessons
(inductive or deductive)
2. use tasks that require
students to comprehend
and process specific
linguistic structures and/or
produce those structures
3. use consciousness-raising
tasks
4. give corrective feedback
5. provide time for students
to plan production tasks
focus-on-form: attention to linguistic
features in the context of
communicative activities derived from
a task-based syllabus
focus-on-forms: systematic teaching of
grammatical features in accordance
with a structural syllabus
form-function mapping the
correlation between a particular form
and the meaning[s] it realizes in
communication e.g. ed on a verb
conveys past tense, rising intonation at
the end of a phrase denotes a question
inductive lesson: students try to notice
patterns or rules from examples
deductive teaching: the teacher
explains the patterns or rules and then
provides examples
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