Linguistics

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Write a note on second language learning as a form of skill learning.

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Skill learning refers to a process of input, processing, and application that must become habitual in order for the skill to be mastered. The myriad of theories of learning and motivation that exist today speak of skill-based teaching strategies ranging from phonics, to TPR, to Function-Notion, whole language, cognitive academic language (CALLA) and computer assisted language learning (CALL), to name just a few.

Second language learning is skill-based learning because it also requires habitual input, processing, and application in order for it to be achieved. Similarly to skills found in Math and Reading, L2 skills are taught within context, providing opportunities for the students to make connections, build schema, and take charge of their own learning.

Some of the most common skills learned and acquired through L2 learning include:

  • encoding and decoding written and verbal information
  • fluency and intonation (listening and speaking standards)
  • classifying and organizing information (colors/shapes/numbers/greetings/"a" and "o" when differentiating gender, etc)
  • identifying patterns in speech and parts of speech
  • organized writing following the writing process
  • problem solving and making inferences using context cues
  • communicative and academic language usage skills
  • reading comprehension and reading for understanding

As you can see, most of these skills are learned interchangeably across the curriculum. For this reason, SLA teachers should explain to students that L2 learning requires the same behaviors used to learn in any other area. Hence, SLA should not be synonymous with stress, or sacrifice; a motivated learner can learn languages as well as multiplication, arts, and technology. It is all about the process.

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Learning a foreign language is all about communication and real life. One can obtain...

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