The Affective Filter

Topics: Second language acquisition, Education, Linguistics Pages: 4 (644 words) Published: September 29, 2014


The Affective Filter
Meghan Borman
Texas Woman’s University

There are many processes that second language learners can use to acquire a second language. One process involves the Affective Filter Hypothesis. The Affective Filter Hypothesis is one of Krashen’s five hypotheses that addresses the relationship between second language acquisition and affective filters or social-emotional variables. In this hypothesis, the lower the affective filter is the more likely a learner will acquire a second language.

One social-emotional variable that lowers the affective filter and increases second language acquisition is that the learner must feel relaxed and be in an anxiety free environment (Schinke-Llano & Vicars, 1993). Time has shown that a student’s feelings affect their ability to learn. As a teacher it is important to keep in mind that one of the three strongest influencing factors on second language acquisition is classroom anxiety (Gardner, Clement, & Gliksman (1976). According to Young in her article, “Creating a Low-Anxiety Classroom Environment: What Does Language Anxiety Research Suggest”, that teachers can ease any student including a second language learner’s anxiety in the classroom are by: Journaling

Creating an anxiety graph to have students document their feelings on a subject Offer supplemental instruction
Peer tutoring
Practicing self-relaxation techniques as a class
Demonstrating the self-talk strategy.

A few other variables that effect a learner’s affective filter includes student motivation to learn the language, self-confidence, as well as the self-esteem level. Not only should students want to learn the second language but instructors should also attempt to incorporate activities into the curriculum that fosters the student’s motivation (Hernandez, 2010). Teachers can also provide activities and opportunities to help build second language learner’s self-confidence and self-esteem. These can include...


References: Billak, B. (2013). ESL tricks of the trade. International Educator, 28(2), 22-22.
Gardner, R., Clement, R., & Gliksman, L. (1976). Second-language learning: a social psychological perspective. Canadian Modern Language Review, 32 (3), 198-213.
Hernandez, T. A. (2010). The relationship among motivation, interaction, and the development of second language oral proficiency in a study-abroad context. Modern Language Journal, 94(4), 600-617.
Schinke-Llano, L., & Vicars, R. (1993). The affective filter and negotiated interaction: Do our language activities provide for both? Modern Language Journal, 77(3), 325.
Sharron Bassano. (1983). Unfamiliar instructional practice and its relationship to student emotional distress in the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 17(4), 682-683.
Young, D. J. (1991). Creating a low-anxiety classroom environment: What does language anxiety research suggest? Modern Language Journal, 75(4), 426.
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