The process through which children learn their native language is known as first language acquisition. Second language acquisition is the process of acquiring a language or languages other than one’s native tongue.
However, learning English for non-native speakers can be extremely challenging. Yet, education experts opine those parents and teachers can help in building a great foundation, especially in the pre-teen years.
According to the US Department of Education, about 10% of children in grades K-12 — or roughly 5 million pupils — are English language learners. The Every Student Succeeds Act, federal education legislation, mandates all states to provide reasonable adjustments to improve language acquisition achievement.
Specialized programs, skilled English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual instructors, and culturally appropriate multilingual resources and materials are all required in schools to promote learning.
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The Theories that Do Not Work in Acquisition
Imitation, reinforcement, and analogy, the three theories of language acquisition, do not adequately explain how children acquire language. Imitation fails when youngsters say things they’ve never heard before, like “cat stand up table.” Even when they strive to emulate adult speech, children’s weak grammar prevents them from producing the same phrases.
Reinforcement does not function since it is rarely used, and when it is, it is used to fix pronunciation or veracity rather than grammar. Language learning cannot be explained by analogy. The analogy is the process of creating sentences or phrases using samples of other utterances.
How Can Children Learn English?
When children have a strong foundation in their native tongue and instructors can draw connections to that language, they acquire a second language more quickly. ESL students frequently get English language instruction from one teacher and grade level or subject teaching from another. Thus, it is critical that all teachers collaborate and operate as a team. They will be able to provide seamless and relevant listening, speaking, reading, and writing training in this manner.
As per the experts, the teachers should also be aware of the academic strengths and needs of students. ESL students might have a greater vocabulary than English-only pupils if they are encouraged to continue studying in their native language.
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What Does the Innateness Hypothesis Propose?
Noam Chomsky presented the “Innateness Hypothesis” of juvenile language acquisition, which claims that the human race is pre-wired to learn language and that the kind of language learned is likewise decided.
The ease and quickness of language acquisition despite poor input, as well as the homogeneity of languages, have all contributed to this notion. For more information read My Assignment Help Review
All children will learn a language, and if they are exposed to many languages, they will learn more than one. Although the linguistic input varies greatly, children go through the same broad phases when learning a language.
What Are the Other Theories Associated with Language Acquisition?
Children appear to learn or know portions of grammar for which they receive no information due to the stimulus’s paucity. Furthermore, youngsters do not construct sentences that are not equivalent to sentences in a human language. It is the left hemisphere’s genetically defined capacity, and there is considerable doubt that the brain is uniquely adapted for the acquisition of human language.
The “Critical Age Hypothesis” proposes that language acquisition can occur at a certain age without the requirement for specific instruction or learning. Language acquisition is swift and easy at this important phase. After this time, learning grammar becomes tough, and some people never fully master it.
Language Acquisition Scenario Across Different Grades
Based on the “Critical Age Hypothesis” we take a look at the learning age spectrum of students in school.
Preschool and K-2: Because of their brain’s ability to grow and adapt, children in this age range can acquire second languages fast and seamlessly. At school, fundamental core literacy skills are taught for a large length of time.
Grades 3-5: Many bilingual learners will have literacy abilities in their first language by this age. As a result, individuals must not only learn to speak a second language, but also to read and write it while continuing to progress in other disciplines.
Grades 6-8: Other elements enter the learning process when children enter their early teens, and language may not come as effortlessly, particularly in areas like pronunciation. Anxiety, humiliation, and self-consciousness may all make learning a language difficult.
What Are Some of the Teaching Methods?
the student memorises words, inflected words, and syntactic rules and utilises them to translate from their mother language to the target language and vice versa; Because it does not require a proficient instructor, it is the most often utilised approach in schools.
the student’s original language is not spoken in the classroom at all, and he or she must acquire the new language without any formal teaching; based on ideas of first language acquisition.
significant use of dialogues and audio, based on the premise that language acquisition is primarily accomplished by imitation, repetition, and reinforcement; inspired by psychology.
Emphasis on vocabulary rather than grammar; emphasis on content rather than form; actual sources rather than textbooks.
Teachers remain silent spectators while pupils learn, which is a process of personal development; there is no grammatical explanation or modeling by the instructor.
Total Physical Response
Students take an active role as listeners and performers, and they must physically respond to urgent drills.
Although the aim is understanding, pupils always feel comfortable and relaxed while learning through memorising relevant passages.
Community Language Learning
resources are generated as the course develops and the instructor gains a better understanding of what students need and desire to learn; learning incorporates the entire person, and language is considered more than simply communication.
These are some of the ways by which teachers can help students grasp the essence of English language.
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