English of small groups, after school clubs,

English language acquisition is an involved and complex process. This lesson provides teachers with an overview of how to identify and relate to the patterns and stages of language acquisition.

English Language Acquisition

This lesson gives a brief description of each of the factors that affect a student’s English language acquisition. It offers teachers key take-away points designed to aid student progress.

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Cognitive Learning Styles

Each student absorbs knowledge and learns new skills differently. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to accommodate the learning style of every student, particularly in larger classes. To mitigate this problem, it’s important to provide students with a variety of learning activities and methods that incorporate different content delivery styles and approaches.

One effective strategy is to create ample opportunities for students to voice both their recommendations and concerns. Who knows better how they learns than the students themselves? Basically, an open mind and flexible lesson plans can go a long way in helping to adapt to various academic environments.In addition, there are students that have a natural aptitude for languages, just as others may have innate abilities in sciences or the arts. An environment in which they are not challenged or feel that progress is coming to slowly can hamper the development of exceptional students. To avoid this, it’s vital to identify the learners who are progressing quickly and provide them with additional learning opportunities.

This can be accomplished with the use of small groups, after school clubs, or optional activities during free time.

Cultural Background

A student’s cultural background can impact many aspects of their English language acquisition. Some students may find that the language they speak at home is not the same language they use at school.

Due of this, they may not have sufficient time to improve their listening comprehension skills or to practice speaking outside of the school setting. In order to increase exposure to English, it’s important to provide students with ample opportunities to share their cultural backgrounds, differences and similarities with each other.

Prior Experience

Many English language students have never had a native English-speaking teacher. Because of this, their previous English training may have focused primarily on memorizing vocabulary words and standard grammatical forms.

While this approach can be initially helpful to a students’ learning, it does little to improve their conversational skills and or real life English applications of the language. Regardless of a students’ language proficiency, giving them ample opportunity to speak aloud and share ideas is the most effective way to mitigate any prior deficiencies.A student’s level of literacy in their prior language depends heavily on his or her native language. If a student is coming from a language that uses a Romanized alphabet, it may be easier. If the student’s native language uses a non-phonetic writing or pronunciation method, it may be more difficult for them to acquire reading and writing skills.While outstanding ability in a first language may aid a student as they learn English, it’s no guarantee that such ability will allow them to progress at a greater rate than others.

Classroom Influences

The assumption that teaching adults is easier is not always correct. No matter the age or education level of a student, the key ingredients to successful language acquisition are a strong desire to learn and a willingness to allow the process to happen. Not everyone learns at the same speed, so previous academic accomplishments, particularly if those accomplishments were achieved in a language other than English, are not always a good indication of a students’ ability to acquire English skills.Obviously, it’s vital to adjust your teaching style and lesson plans to fit the level and needs of your students. If the prior educational experience of a student can be utilized, it should be. However, don’t be overly concerned if their previous experience is not applicable to the content you are currently teaching.Expectations can be a useful guide to gauge a students’ progress, but meeting expectations should not be the primary driving force of the learning process.

Teachers should focus expectations on successful comprehension and usage of English, rather than grades or the results of test scores.The dynamic of the people inside the classroom is more important than the physical environment of the classroom. Colorful posters, interactive media and comfortable chairs can enhance the learning process, but the primary focus should be on how the classroom environment enables teacher and students to interact.

Lesson Summary

There are a variety of factors that affect English language acquisition. The more that you identify these factors, the more likely your students are to be successful. In addition to adapting to the learning style of your students, try to keep cultural background and previous level of education in mind.

Teacher expectations, as well as a welcoming and encouraging classroom environment, are also vital for student growth and development.


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