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Emilena, Julie, Erin, Alyssa Discusion 1

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Hi, Emilena, Erin, Alyssa,

How are you this week? It was a very nice discussion on Monday, I am very happy that I am in a great team. I believe our bilingual education project well be successful. I like to add one more question about the immersion school:"How big role the parents played in order to help students not only succeed in L2 but also exceed in L1?"

I just read the CH.6. I think the 6 proposals are suitable for different students and for different situations. For example, "Get it right from the beginning" fits for adults who need to take standard test. "Just listen ... and read" is good for beginner especially adults learner. They can learn basic language without fear to make mistakes. "Let's talk" is for young beginner. "Two for one" is in immersion school which we will spend more time on it. "Teach what is teachable" like "i+1" hypothesis. I think it is the very good way to do base on my own learning experiences. "Get it right in the end" may take longer time to acquire the same amount of knowledge compare to other proposals. I didn't have experience here. What did you think about these proposals?

Hi Julie!
I agree with adding that question- we discussed it a little bit in class, but I'm not sure w had it on our list. My hypothesis is that parents play a pretty big role in both, but especially L1 if students are learning primarily in L2.

Great summary of chapter 6! However, we aren't assigned chapter 6 until October 8. For Monday we are to read and discuss chapter 7 and the article by Collier & Thomas.

I tried to read the Collier & Thomas article but I couldn't find it on the library reserves web page. But, I did read chapter 7 in Lightbown and Spada. It was a nice little summary/discussion about the popular ideas about language learning we ranked on pages xvii and xviii. The authors do a good job of anticipating the reader's thoughts and covering multiple viewpoints while still focusing on a particular thesis. I thought the most interesting sections were the ones on errors (2, 12, 16). The comment I liked in part 2 was that most parents don't correct young children if the errors do not interfere with communication. Yet, an interesting point is made that 2nd language learners might need more corrective feedback or they might not "grow out of" a mistake. I initially (in the introduction survey) disagreed strongly wit the #12 belief that errors should be corrected to prevent bad habits, but the authors I feel like would not disagree as strongly... they of course say it depends on the circumstance. Another belief I think is very related is the idea that teachers should respond with a rephrasing of what students say instead of explicitly pointing out errors. I think this is very true, and that it is especially important for teachers to restructure the statement while commenting on the meaning of the learner's sentence (if communicative competence is the goal). However, the authors seem to think that "recasts" are too often interpreted as confirmation of meaning rather than as a correction of form... and that this is a bad thing. What do you all think?

Hello Julie, Erin and Alyssa.
I think that is a good question that we should include in our list. I was not able to find the article for Monday class either. I e-mailed the professor, if I know how to find it, I will let you know.
I also read Ch.7 Regards your comment on Recasts, I learned in a previous course, that students do benefit from recasts both for clarifying meaning as well as for corrective feedback. Since recasts are done right in the moment the student is having a miscommunication or communication breakdown. (similar to the concept of "here and know" as children get most of the Language input) The student has the chance to learn from that recast. Something that can be done to make it more explicit for grammar correction for example, could be using intonation to provide a clue of what is the mistake to the learner. Body language can also be used in the recast in that case that will help to clarify meaning.
What do you think about point 5? Sometimes I think that many Language Academies see language learning as a Business and design their curriculum without considering tha time that learning an L2 will take and advertise their programs saying learn English in 8 months? Could that be possible?

Hi Emilena, Alyssa, and Julie-
I agree with your thoughts about recasts as a positive form of feedback for errors. Lightbown and Spada said, "Excessive feedback on error can have a negative effect on motivation." (190) I believe that students can be discouraged and develop a fear of speaking if they are constantly bombarded with corrections. Rephrasing instead of explicitly pointing out the error gives them a chance to notice without feeling singled out and humiliated. There are definitely moments for positive corrective feedback. You need to know your students and limit the amount of times you choose to correct their language.

This is my response to your comment that many language academies advertise their programs saying that you can learn a particular language in a set amount of time.
I think it depends on the school and the administrations understanding of language learning. I can't speak for all schools, but I know that Lakes International Language Academy does not set a certain timeline for the students to become "fluent" in Spanish. It would be interesting for me to hear an argument from a school that claims such an idea. Do you know of any schools that actually set a certain age to learn a language?

Hi Emilena, Julie, and Alyssa-
I found point #6 to be interesting: Most of the mistakes that second language learners make are due to interferences from their first language. I agree that if the langauges are similar some of the patterns, alphabet knowledge, and vocabulary can assist you in your learning of L2. However, it seems to be that many times the language patterns are reversed or changed and interfere with learning L2. It was also interesting that they said sometimes you may not rely on known patterns because you expect the two languages to be different. You may have background knowledge to help, but you are unaware that it would be useful in another language. I know that I always had to think how to use adjectives in Spanish because they switch position around the noun they are describing. We revert back to the language we know and then have to place a knew structure in our minds when we speak the new language.

I thought point five was a very interesting and realistic discussion. I think many people assume that a program that starts earlier is better to learn L2 but I think the authors make a great point that there are many other factors that play a role in language learning. Also, they mentioned subtractive bilingualism in point five as a possibility for young learners who are in the language minority. I just barely started reading the article that was supposed to be available on the library page. Laurene sent it to me via e-mail since it wasn't on the site- if ya'll want it, e-mail me (you have my e-mail on the new roster). But the article discusses dual-immersion as a way to minimize subtractive bilingualism and reduce stigma and assumptions that are directed at English language learners by placing them in a position where their L1 is a desired L2 for peers in their school, like there's a give and take exchange between native English speakers and native speakers of the 2nd language at the school. So far so good, we'll see where else the article goes with that.

English in 8 months? Probably not according to Collier and Thomas article... they say 6-8 YEARS!

Hola Erin, Alyssa and Julie.
Erin regards your questions about language programs, in Costa Rica there are several academies that provime people to become fluent. An example is Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano, their program is supposed to last 8 months to learn English, as I said there are quite a few more. I am glad that here in U.S. that is not used as for attracting people to enroll in a program.
I agree with you Erin that interference from L1 is an interesting point discussed. I also agree that word order in English and Spanish is so different that can not be transfer from one language to the another. However, I do agree with the author in the sense that at early stages the learner uses the L1 word order because that is the one they know and it is part of the process of learning and L2 to acquire the new word order.

I can't believe that they would promote their programs by claiming that you could learn a language so quickly. I wonder if they get many complaints after the set amount of time when their students are not fluent in the language. That is very interesting!

I was out of town past weekend. So I couldn't participate our discussion.

For #12, I agree some of your opion. The students shouldn't be interrupted too often. But the students do need some recasting to help them correct their errors. It all depends on whether the students are adults L2 learner or young kids. Base on my own experiens of English learning, I hope the teacher can corret my error by recasting, so I could make less mistakes. But for kids, the teacher might like to encourage them to talk more, correct less.
For #6, I learned new concept from this book. i thought my English mistakes are all inhernt from L1, Chinese. But the book shows that the L1 kids learner make same errors. It is expained as language learning stages. Of cause some of the the errors came from my L1 because all the Chinese learners tend to make same mistakes which L1 leaners don't.

Hola, a friend of mine, Robyn told me that someone in her group found the article that was assigned for today's reading. If you go on the blog discussion in which Robyn is part of there is a link there for the article. I tried to copy it to paste it here, but it did not work.
Just want to let you know
See you today in class

sorry... I was the one that posted the "Anonymous" comments... forgot to put in my name...

Julie- I agree with the fact that #6 is kind of a new concept. I think that the authors are smart to take those common ideas and discuss them in this book. I tend to think that most errors are mistakes from L1 transfer--- but it's good to know that some errors are just language learning stages like you said in your post.

Hey- I found a dual Spanish immersion school's advertisement/listing in my neighborhood's newspaper... that might be an interesting resource for our project. (FYI).