Some Factors of Individual Variation in L2 Learning
Why do you
think some people are good at learning other languages?
Do you think the same people learn a language well in the classroom as learn in a natural setting, or do these demand different qualities?
What do you think is the best age for learning a new language? Why?
How would your teaching of, say, the present tense, differ according to whether you were teaching children or adults?
Other individual factors:
Do you think that girls are better than boys at second language learning?
What personality would be best in the language classroom?
— most aptitude tests predict success in L2 academic classrooms
—aptitude breaks down into different factors such as memory and grammatical sensitivity
Cognitive style: a person's typical ways of thinking, seen as a continuum between field-dependent (FD) cognitive style in which thinking relates to context and field-independent (FI) style in which it is independent of context
Extrovert and introvert: people’s personalities vary between those who relate to objects outside themselves (extroverts) and those who relate to the contents of their own minds (introverts)
Intelligence: between intelligence and aptitude in classrooms
Sex differences: English girls better at French than English boys
Level of first language (Cummins)
Motivation and L2 learning
— both integrative and instrumental motivations may lead to
lack of either causes problems
— motivation in this sense has great inertia
— short-term motivation towards the day-to-day activities in the
and general motivations for classroom learning are also important
Links: Attitudes Motivation in SLA Motivation Test
Dornyei, Z. (1994). Motivation and motivating in the foreign language classroom. Modern Language Journal, 78, 273-284.
Gardner, R. (1985), Social Psychology and Second Language Learning, Arnold, London
Skehan, P. (1989). Individual Differences in Second-Language Learning
Griffiths, R., and Sheen, R. (1992), ‘Disembedded figures in the landscape: a reappraisal of L2 research on Field Dependence/Independence’, Applied Linguistics, 13, 2, 133-147
Naiman, N, Fröhlich, M, Stern, H & Todesco, A 1978 The good language learner. Research in Education Series No. 7, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto. Reprinted Multilingual Matters, (1995)
Tremblay, P. F. & Gardner, R. C. (1995). Expanding the motivation construct in language learning. Modern Language Journal 79, 505-520.