A Study of English Service Learning under the Theory of Second Language Acquisition

By Guo, Dan | International Forum of Teaching and Studies, April 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

A Study of English Service Learning under the Theory of Second Language Acquisition


Guo, Dan, International Forum of Teaching and Studies


Introduction

Second language acquisition (SLA) can take place in either a naturalistic or an instructional setting but may not necessarily differ according to the setting. The goal of SLA is the description and explanation of learners' linguistic or communicative competencies. To this end, the researcher must examine aspects of the learner's usage or use of the L2 in actual performance by collecting and analyzing either samples of learners' languages, reports of learners' introspections, or records of learners' intuitions regarding what is correct or appropriate L2 behavior. The acquisition of an L2 feature may be considered to have taken place either when it is used for the first time or only when it can be used to a high level of accuracy (Ellis, 1994, p.15)

Service learning offers students immediate opportunities to apply classroom learning to support or enhance the work of local agencies that often exist to effect positive change in the community (Knapp, 2010, p.208-224). The National Youth Leadership Council defines service learning as "a philosophy, pedagogy, and model for community development that is used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards."

One of the best-known theories of second language acquisition was American linguist Krashen's Monitor Theory. It is a comprehensive, influential, and controversial theory, and it has greatly influenced the second-language teaching method named the Natural Approach. It consists of five hypotheses: The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis, the Natural Order Hypothesis, the Monitor Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, and the Affective Filter Hypothesis (Krashen, 1978, p. 283-300). For English teachers, it is important to master some rules of second language acquisition and apply them in practical teaching; this can not only improve their professional level but can also help them grasp students' characteristics better in the process of language learning and realize the strategies of English teaching and integration.

The Significance of Second Language Acquisition and Its Theory in Foreign Language Learning

American linguist S.D. Krashen (Krashen) in the early 1980s, put forward the famous second language acquisition model, the "monitoring mode," which includes the following: (1) the Acquisition and Learning Hypothesis; (2) the Natural Order Hypothesis; (3) the Monitoring Hypothesis; (4) the Input Hypothesis; and (5) the Affective Filter Hypothesis. Krashen summed up his five major hypotheses and made a detailed description and argument; he also affirmed the important position of the input hypothesis. He believed that the input hypothesis "may be today's second language acquisition theory, the only one of the most important concept" (Krashen, 1982, p. 9). I It addresses a key question in language learning, namely how to acquire a language, especially a foreign language. Second language acquisition theory systematically studies the process of second language acquisition, including psychological processes, cognitive processes, and linguistic processes. The second language acquisition theory is also used in other areas of research, such as linguistics, neurology, sociolinguistics, pedagogy, statistics, and so on.

In recent years, the second language acquisition study of this subject has made rapid development. This area focuses on the characteristics of learners and their roles in the acquisition process, and it focuses on two major issues: the first explores the common features of the learners in the learning process; the second explores the individual differences of learners. Specifically, these studies mainly focus on the following topics: mother tongue and second language acquisition, language input and second language acquisition, cognitive theory and second language acquisition, universal grammar theory and second language acquisition research, individual differences and second language acquisition and classroom teaching and second language acquisition. …

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