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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

T.H. - Costa Rica said:
Neurological considerations
In 1960, issues of language acquisition were addressed. Paul Broca, a French neurologist and Karl Wernicke, a German neurologist, developed theories of brain lateralization. They proved that there are major areas in the left hemisphere of the brain responsible for language. Humans have a natural foundation to acquire language, a genetically determined capacity. In 1969 there was a critical period in the assumption that there is a biologically determined time in which humans are able to acquire language more easily. Researchers determined that after the age of 12 the critical time for acquiring language ends, while others believe it is at the much younger age of 5. Evidence in neurological research that as the human brain matures, certain functions are assigned or lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain, such as logical, intellectual and analytical functions. Language function appears to be largely controlled in the left hemisphere as well. Questions for second language researchers have been centered on when lateralization occurs and how the process affects language acquisition. During the time the child is neurologically assigning functions to one side of the brain or the other, it has been found that children up to the age of puberty who have suffered brain injury to the left hemisphere are able to relocalize linguistic functions to the right hemisphere. It is possible for them to relearn their language. In 1969 Thomas Scovel extended these findings to suggest a relationship between lateralization and second language acquisition. He suggests that the plasticity of the brain before puberty allows children to acquire not only their own language but also a second language. It is also suggested that it is the completion of lateralization that makes it difficult for people past puberty to be able to easily acquire fluent control of a second language with authentic pronunciation. There has been much research and debate on when and how language is lateralized in the brain. Some say that second language acquisition is successful when the person learning learns as if they were a little child. The motivation and willingness of the learner to return to the openness and unashamed eagerness of a child can make a huge difference. The role of age in language acquisition is very disputed. Some adults have been able to do everything a child does; pronounce words with a native accent and learn language in context. Knowing one language and how it works can sometimes create impediments through its influence on a learners expectations of how another language will work. A good grasp of the systems behind one?s native language can also provide the learner with basic linguistic categories that are useful in learning a second language. Often, too, the learning is faster because of the cognitive advantage in adults. The human brain is very complex and the way in which it preforms its various functions is only partly understood. Research is still ongoing and continues to produce more evidence that these researchers are correct in their findings, while opinions on the subject still differ considerably between teachers, researchers and even learners.


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