Professional TEFL

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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:

E.S. - Australia said:
First versus second language acquisitionLearning language is something all human beings have an innate ability to do. However, learning a second language (L2) can be somewhat more difficult. The acquisition of language seems deceptively simple. Young children learn their mother tongue rapidly and effortlessly, from babbling at 6 months of age to full sentences by the age of three years, this follows the same development path regardless of culture. Social interaction assists language learning, in both speech perception and speech production. The presence of a human being has a strong influence on learning (Kuhl, 2004). The outcome of first language (L1) acquisition is success, normal children acquire the grammar of their native language. Adult L2 acquisition on the other hand results in various degrees of success. In children language learning is implicit. Implicit learning is autonomous taking place whenever information is processed, be it intentionally and deliberately or unintentionally and accidentally. Implicit learning is not under conscious control. Once we have decided to listen, read, speak or write, we cannot choose not to encode and store information, or not to adjust the connection weights in our neural network (Hulstijn, 2002). Successful implicit L2 learning may take a long time perhaps even longer than implicit L1 learning, as the brain is already committed to L1. Many L2 learners do not have the time to expose themselves long enough for implicit learning to work. In many cases explicit learning is better. Successful L2 learning requires a combination of learning grammar rules and a lot of exposure to L2 through listening and reading activities. Explicit knowledge is especially helpful in situations allowing careful monitoring of the information to be understood or produced, for example situations of reading or writing without time pressure (Hulstijn, 2002). An important question about the nature of language acquisition is the extent that age of acquisition affects the outcome. This is otherwise known as sensitive or critical period (Bialystok & Hakuta, 1999). The existence of a critical period for language acquisition remains controversial. Two points are noted throughout definitions by Colombo (1982). First, that learning during the critical period is assured, similar across individuals and governed by endogenous factors. Second, that learning outside the critical period is different in both form and success. One difference in age of acquisition is the method in which languages are learnt. Universal Grammar (UG) is the mechanism of language acquisition. It is not learned but is required for language learning. It determines the range of grammatical hypotheses that children entertain during language learning and the procedure they use for evaluating input sentences. Children acquire their mental grammar spontaneously and without formal training. Children deduce the rules of their native language from sample sentences they receive from their parents and others (Nowak, Komarova & Niyogi, 2001). Language acquisition by adults involves general learning strategies, while principles specified by UG operate in L1 acquisition in addition to general learning principles. The child, rather than working with surface bound inductive strategies, is capable of formulating abstract hypotheses about the structure of the language it is confronted with (Clahsen & Muysken, 1986). In studies examining immigrant populations, age of arrival has been found to be an important determinant of overall degree of foreign accent in L2 (Flege, Munro & Mackay 1995). Learning our native language is an automatic and easy process. Learning a second language is most easily and successfully attained if learnt at the same time as L1 as in the case of bilinguals. The earlier the age of acquisition for L2 learning increases the overall success of attainment. However, L2 can be learnt later in life with varying degrees of success. If native like proficiency is gained it is likely that a foreign accent will still remain.