Second Language Acquisition Essay

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Different Ways of Learning

Second Language Acquisition Essay: Introduction

“Help” and “collectivism” helps the human mind in any area possible whether it is the branch of science, education, or learning. These terms also concern us at different times in our lives. According to Lev Vygotsky, it starts when a person is born. A child needs assistance from more intellectual outer forces to interact and learn from them until he/she is ready. Social interaction and collectivism provide this for a child. Yet it is not children who learn better with social interaction. Even as adults, when learning something new, like a language, it is the best way to learn from natural and comprehensible input from the target language. Stephen Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition explains this deeply. In this paper, I will analyze both of the scholars and get into their approaches in detail.

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Starting from Lev Vygotsky, he was not just a Soviet psychologist. He is considered as the founder of a Marxist theory about human cultural and collective development. Being a Marxist between the 1920s and 30s in Russia is not an easy thing to do, as it was considered orthodox. In the paper written by Jerome Bruner, Vygotsky’s ideas are considered revolutionary for a couple of reasons. Vygotsky’s ideas have much to do with collectivism, as he has made a study of its impact with a couple of his colleagues. The study showed that, for a peasant, working together in an agricultural collective promotes the improvement of the brain. This result can be compared to a child's experience when he/she is learning something new. Thus, doing something as a group, according to Vygotsky, gives individuals a more rational way of thinking. The idea, along with the conclusion of this study, was banned in Russia. Vygotsky's expedition to Uzbekistan and Kirghizia along with Luria was composed years later, and the improvement of peasant thought by collectivism is very similar to Vygotsky's theory of the improvement of child's thinking from prescientific to scientific.

This idea is defined as the zone of proximal development (ZPD) by Vygotsky. It can be described as the difference between the developmental level by independent problem solving and the level of development in collaboration with more capable or intellectual peers. In more straightforward terms, when an individual gets in an environment where he/she can learn from other, more conscious individuals, he/she starts to learn from them and close the gap. Yet it is not just the knowledge the person learns, but also the consciousness. Therefore, it helps in both conscious levels and intellectual control. The same effect happened after the revolution in Russia when tutors from all over the country shared their knowledge and consciousness with other individuals. One of the most exciting things about Vygotsky was that he was faithful to the Marxist ideal all the time.

When talking about the theory of second language acquisition by Stephen Krashen, it is vital to know the difference between the word acquisition and learning. Krashen explains the difference in his first hypothesis. According to him, the distinction is that acquisition is a subconscious process. For instance, when children acquire their first language, they are not ‘learning,’ but instead, they are ‘acquiring’ the language. The reason for this is that while the children are making meaningful interaction in the target language, they are not looking for grammatical rules. This is where the term ‘learning’ comes to play. Because when someone is learning a language, they are conscious of the process and continuously look for grammar rules and information.

According to Krashen, the acquisition is more important than learning. His other hypothesis, ‘Monitor,’ explains the bond between learning and acquisition. The acquisition starts the process of a new language, and while acquiring, ‘learning’ helps the individual by correcting the learned mistakes and polishing the speech. Thus, learning is the monitor here. Natural Order is another hypothesis that is about the ones mentioned above—according to this hypothesis, acquiring grammatical structures are not random but natural instead. This means that this process is predictable. This means that for certain languages, there are specific grammatical structures that are acquired early, while other hard structures are learned later. This sequence is independent of outside forces such as the age of learners, conditions, etc. Although it is important to say that, according to Krashen, grammatic sequences when acquiring a language is not the right way to go. The input hypothesis explains how the acquiring process works. It is only connected with the acquisition process. According to it, while following the natural order hypothesis, when a learner is exposed to a target language input that is a level above of him/her in the natural order, it improves the learner’s target language. As not every learner is at the same level in a language, receiving individual natural communicative input is the best way for everyone to acquire a language.

The fifth hypothesis is the affective filter. Affective filter depends on person to person as it is about the motivation, confidence, and anxiety of the learner. Learners with higher motivation and confidence while having low stress have a better chance to acquire a second language compared to others with inferior social skills. Having more moderate social skills put the filter into a position where it blocks valuable, informative input from being processed by the learner. Therefore, we can say that every hypothesis can vary from person to person.

Second Language Acquisition Essay: Conclusion

To conclude things up, two essential things from two different people mentioned are collective-learning and subconscious learning. These two ideas fit in with each other, as according to Vygotsky, working in a group enhances the learner, and Krashen’s notion of communicative input works better in a collective environment. Therefore, when the goal is to learn a new language, putting individuals on different levels of learning can benefit everyone in the group. Though in some instances, Krashen’s hypotheses collide with collective learning, like in a classroom using a grammatical syllabus. Thus, using both of the techniques in the right sequence, in my opinion, can enhance the acquiring process of learners by a considerable margin.

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