王蔷教学法笔记

Unit One Language and learning

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1. How do we learn language? How do we learn our own language? foreign language? Much of human behavior is influenced by personal experience. The way language teachers teach in the classroom is influenced by the way they learned languages. This is especially true in foreign language teaching.

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Research into L1 shows that the most important factor for L1 development is when children are interacting with people around them and when they are experimenting with the language for communication. Therefore, Language learning is a socializing process, and interaction and experimenting with the language in communication are very important factors for language development.

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II. View on language.

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1. What is language?

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2. Different views on language.

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In the past century, language teaching and learning practices have been influenced by three different views of language, namely, the structural view, the functional view and the interactional view. Different views on language generate different teaching methodologies. Structural View: It sees language as a linguistic system made up of various subsystem: from phonological, morphological, lexical, etc. to sentence. Each language has a finite number of such structural items. To learn a language means to learn these structural items so as to be able to understand and produce language.

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Functional View: It sees language as a linguistic system but also as a means for doing things. Most of our day-to-day language use involves functional activities: offering, suggesting, advising, apologizing, etc. Therefore, learners learn a language in order to do things with it. To perform functions, learners need to know how to combine the grammatical rules and the vocabulary to express notions that perform the functions. Interactional view: It considers language as a communicative tool, whose main use is to build up and maintain social relations between people. Therefore, learners not only need to know the grammar and vocabulary of the language, but also need to know the rules for using them in a whole range of communicative context.

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The understanding of the nature of language may provide the basis for a particular teaching method, and it is also closely related to the understanding of language learning. If language is considered to have a finite number of structural items, learning the language means learning these items. If language is more than just a system of structure, it is more importantly a tool, then to learn the language means to use it, rather than just to study what it is and how it is formed.

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III. Views on language learning.

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The language learning theory underlying an approach or method usually answers two questions:

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1) What are the psycholinguistic and cognitive process involved in language learning?

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2) What are the conditions that need to be met in order for these learning processes to be activated?

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