Grand Canyon University
ESL-523N SEI English Language Teaching: Foundations and Methodologies October 4, 2012
Over the past few decades much research has been conducted as to how second language is acquired. Many theories of second language acquisition have been formulated. This paper will compare and contrast two influential second language acquisition theories: the behaviorist theory and the innatist theory specifically, Krahsen’s Monitor Theory. An overview of how these theories impact the SIOP Model for lesson planning will follow the description of the selected theories.
Lesson Planning With SIOP: A Theoretical Base (Benchmark Assessment) The increasing number of English language learners (ELL) has presented a myriad of challenges for the educational system. On the backdrop of federal mandates and guidelines, schools have the added pressure of implementing instructional practices for ELL that would ensure that each student is making significant academic yearly progress. Also fueling the controversy are the trends in instructional strategies which have continuously evolved as the dramatic flow of ELL increase. In an effort to better understand second language learners, various studies have been conducted on the processes of second language acquisition. Second language theories have provided the framework for which relevant data can be deduced to enhance the way educators formulate effective instructional practices. There is a foundational premise among second langue theorists that learners acquire second language by building upon their existing native language knowledge. However, each theory that has been formulated approach second language acquisition from differing perspectives. During the 1950’s, the behaviorist theory dominated the study of linguistics. Behaviorists believe that second language is acquired from learned habit formation processes (Sawani, n.d.). Behaviorists suggest that external stimuli can bring forth an internal response. In turn, an internal stimulus can elicit an external response. The environment plays an important role in the acquisition of second language. Proponents of the behaviorist theory contend that the environment provides the linguistic stimuli whereas the learner produces the response through repetition and imitation. In application, imitation allows the learner to build and produce a repertoire of appropriate responses. These stimulus-response-reward chains (S-R-R) are relegated by the nature of the environment and the learner. Critics of the behaviorist theory argue that this theory is inadequate because of its imitation and reinforcement perspectives. For example: i. Children produce utterances which are non-existent in adult language like the word “nobie” for the word movie. ii. Children make grammatical errors that are non-existent in adult speech like “him goed there” instead of he went there. The examples provided above are among some of the reasons why psycholinguistics and language acquisition theorists have formulated more adequate theories of second language acquisition. One of the most influential theorists of second language acquisition is Stephen Krashen. Krashen’s innatist perspective differed from that of his behaviorists’ counterparts who speculate that language is acquired through imitation, repetition, and reinforcement (Peregoy et al., 2008). Krashen believes that individuals have an innate ability to learn. Furthermore, Krashen contends that that is very little difference between the way individuals acquire first language and second language. Krashen’s Monitor Theory is centered on five hypotheses: 1) the acquisition versus learning hypothesis, 2) the monitor hypothesis, 3) the natural order hypothesis, 4) the input hypothesis, and 5) the affective filter hypothesis. i. The Acquisition Versus Learning Hypothesis suggests that...