Reflecting on language learning. A short assignment

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2018

9 Pages



Table of Contents

Table of contents

Introductory words- Explanation

Statement 1

Statement 2

Statement 3

Statement 4

Statement 5

Popular ideas about language learning


Literature/ List of figures

Introductory words- Explanation

As I have already been teaching English for several years in primary school in the Canton of Solothurn, the statements from Lightbown & Spada (2007) are not surprisingly new to me. The statements are, however, a confirmation of my professional foreign language teaching experience so far.

Therefore, it is somewhat difficult for me to have a prior view and to create a new view of the statements after reading the text.

Consequently, after this seminar I will mainly try to gain new insights for my teaching practice and additionally how to incorporate these in my future lesson planning.

Statement 1:

Parents usually correct young children when they make grammatical errors.

As an English teacher, I consistently hear students saying that their parents can support them more in learning English than in learning French. Over time, however, I discovered that many parents speak better French than English. This is particularly evident when analyzing the sentence structure and the correctness of the language. Nevertheless, parents feel less inhibited in the English language, and I have often noticed that they correct their children's spelling. However, the older the children become, and the more their language level increases, the more the parents' support decreases. This is also due to the fact, that in higher school grades grammar becomes more important and then many parents are unable to cope with it anymore. Based on the text of Lightbown & Spada (2007) I started to observe my classes and questioned parents. I found out that parents correct their primary school children in 5th & 6th grade especially on the meaning rather than on the form. Hence, I inform the parents at the parents- teacher conference that I work with my students in a constructive approach of learning in which it is important that children actively build up their knowledge themselves by linking to their previous knowledge (Grossenbacher et al., 2012, P. 14-17).

I would like to put more emphasis on this topic in my future lesson planning as well as in students' autonomous tasks.

Statement 2:

Highly intelligent people are good language learners.

I can only partly agree with this thesis. I often determine that students who have good grades in language subjects such as German and French are also good at English. Thanks to Curriculum 21 (2014), however, even students with a lower overall IQ can achieve a good grade because it is no longer about memorizing grammar or vocabulary but applying the language. As this is done through songs, listenings, reading comprehension, parallel words, etc., the learning success depends mainly on motivation, joy and courage to apply the new language (Gerngross & Puchta 2002: 54-61).

I noticed that students who have multiple native languages have the advantage of being able to make several links to already known words (parallel words). Often, due to lack of intelligence, this ability can only be achieved with learning strategies which the teacher has to provide.

Statement 3:

The best way to learn new vocabulary is through reading.

I have to admit that I have not been able to observe this yet, as I may not have read much in class so far, and when, not strategically enough. However, when I think back to my own school days, I notice that I was a very good student in German, and it was probably because I have always read a lot.

Following the hierarchy pyramid of the top-down process (Cameron 2001: 105) it is obvious that students can gain access to a text in a completely new language by using context, parallel words and pre-knowledge, even without understanding every single word.

This gives children a huge motivation and joy in the learning process.

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Pic. 1

Statement 4:

It is essential for learners to be able to pronounce all the individual sounds in the second language.

I have never thought much about this topic before reading this statement. So far, it was obvious to me that I taught my learners in American English as I learned it in the USA and Hawaii.

In class, I make sure that the learners pronounce the words correctly but correct them only when necessary. My learners understand me well because they are used to the sound of my voice and the pronunciation of my English.

However, when I play a listening with another speaker, they no longer understand it well. I realized that it is important to have the kids listen to different (native) speakers, to teach them the different sounds of English and to take away the fear of the various other English pronunciations. This promotes awareness of languages (Passepartout 2016: 4), or in this case dialects, and the learners gain confidence in dealing with multiple pronunciations that they will encounter later in their professional life.


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Reflecting on language learning. A short assignment
Academy of the Northwestswitzerland  (Hochschule)
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Anonymous, 2018, Reflecting on language learning. A short assignment, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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