English Language Teaching classroom

Learning languages! Why some people fail to learn a second language?

Why most people fail and how you can succeed to learn a language?

Why do people fail to learn languages? This is a great slideshow that describes why most people fail to learn a language and how it is possible to learn it using specific strategies.

According to the author people fail to learn a new language because of:

  1. The methods:
    The methods that focus on accuracy and grammar at the expense of fluency and real communication are not helpful. Likewise, rote learning according to the author is useless. “It may work to temporarily memorize a set of facts or figures for tomorrow’s test, but this approach does not lead to long-term retention. Moreover, rote memory only works — if it works at all — for explicit information, not the tacit knowledge required to understand and speak a language.”
  2. The materials:
    The content must be motivating. “The Power of Choice The freedom to choose what you learn, why you learn, and how you learn significantly increases motivation, enjoyment, and retention. Most people develop a hatred for foreign languages in school because they have no control over any of these choices. It is very likely that both enjoyment and proficiency would significantly rise if language courses were optional.”
  3. The learners’ attitudes.
    Perhaps the greatest obstacle of all is one’s attitude toward the language learning process and the target language itself. Until you can move past the following 3 misconceptions, even the best methods and materials won’t get you very far…
    1. “Languages are Difficult”
    2. “I Suck at Languages”
    3. “I Don’t Have Time”

The presentation is interesting although there debatable ideas like the distinction between learning and acquisition. This distinction was first made by Stephen Krashen in his theory of language learning. Recently, his ideas have been descridited. Is it not possible that things we learn consciously may become acquired knowledge subsequently (i.e. when they become automatic through repeated practice)?

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you very much for sharing my presentation!

  1. July 19, 2010

    […] Learning Languages […]

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