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Comparing Selected Modern Methods of Teaching English to Young Learners

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Katarzyna Rokoszewska

The book presents the process of first and second language acquisition in children as well as the main principles of conventional and unconventional approaches and methods implemented in the general education as well as the language education of children. The long-term quantitative study described focused on the comparison of the results obtained by young learners taught English according to the Helen Doron Method in private courses and the results gained by young learners instructed according to the modern eclectic method at public primary school. The results were compared in such language areas and skills as vocabulary, grammar, language chunks, pronunciation, listening skill, speaking skill and a general level of language acquisition.

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Chapter I First and second language acquisition in children 13

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13 CHAPTER ONE FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN CHILDREN The aim of this chapter is to characterize the process of language learning by children as opposed to adolescents or adults. The chapter begins with an over- view of the main approaches to first and second language acquisition. It contin- ues with the descriptions of the theories explaining the child’s cognitive, emo- tional and social development. Next, the role of age in SLA is discussed in terms of empirical studies, and in terms of neurological, psychomotor, cognitive, af- fective and linguistic factors. The chapter finishes with some practical implica- tions for teaching children which stem from the way they learn the target lan- guage. 1.1 Theories explaining first and second language acquisition 1.1.1 The behaviourist view Behaviourism is a school in general psychology which became dominant in edu- cational psychology from 1940s to 1960s and was also applied to language learning. It was represented by Pavlov in Russia and by Watson, Thorndike and Skinner in the USA. The term behaviourism was coined by Watson (1913, 1924), who postulated that only observable human behaviour can be the subject of scientific enquiry. In the behaviourist view, all learning, including language learning, is construed as a process of habit formation. A learning habit is formed if a particular response is connected with a particular stimulus. In contrast to in- ner mental processes, habits are observable, automatic, and difficult to eradicate unless the stimuli with which they are associated are no longer provided. How-...

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