Language Acquisition Principles

The recent professional Journal selected and read for this assignment is a Journal of staff development, written by Jon Nordmeyer and was last updated in April 2012. It is entitled “Delicate Balance: Managing the needs of ELL students”. At the beginning of the article, Nordmeyer draws the attention of the reader to a comment that was made by a middle school student. According to the student, it is tricky being an ESL student. The student explains that the main reason he could get poor grades in science and math classes was due to the pictures in the textbook. He clarifies that there is a noticeable difference between ESL learners and regular students (Nordmeyer, 2012).

Presently, ELL learners characterize a rapidly growing student population in the public learning institutions in the U.S. However, they are faced with a number of challenges and such a comment should call for immediate action in improving the classroom programs and teaching strategies.

According to the article, some of the present-day challenges in the modern public institutions include increase in diversity, strained school resources and greater accountability. The article explains that it is necessary to have a balance between content learning and language education to enable institutions to have a class program suited for the best outcome for everyone. Acquiring English knowledge is one of the greatest challenge facing ELL learners besides other problems related to adapting to new environment, cultural alterations, and individual challenges. According to studies, learners spend approximately 5 to 7 years to be able to communicate effectively in English, though social skills in English can be acquired much faster. Therefore, class teachers should understand the correct approach of working successfully with ELLs in their lessons by recognizing the appropriate principles of language acquisition.

In line with the article, the first essential step is encouraging learners with language diversity in understanding different terms. Nordmeyer states that referring to learners as ELLs is more all-inclusive and correct as opposed to referring to them as ESL learners. Aida Walqui explains several principles of language acquisition that can help teachers in enhancing English learning. According to him, principles of language acquisition can broadly be classified into the Language, the learner, and the learning process. He explains that there are some languages that could be more challenging to acquire based on individuals language distance to the language, proficiency in the native language, Learners language status, and language attitudes. ELL students can acquire a second language faster if they believe it is superior to their native language. However, it is important to note that the attitude of the learner plays a key role in language acquisition.

Similarly, personal factors of the learner are very important. These include the desire to acquire the second language, home support, his or her role models, peer groups, and his or her diverse needs. Different students can learn and acquire the second language in different ways due to the difference in their learning styles. Therefore, individual attributes are very significant in the learning process. Some of the principles that can accelerate the learning process include motivation, sound learning approaches, and student interaction in classrooms. The knowledge and understanding of these principles are necessary for educators as it will not only help in developing proper education curricula but also help in implementing appropriate strategies of language acquisition (Walqui, 2000).

References

Nordmeyer, J. (2012). Delicate Balance: Managing the Needs of ELL students. Journal of Staff Development State: Maine Department of Education, 1, 1-20. Web.

Walqui, A. (2000). Contextual factors in second Language acquisition. Web.