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Teaching Young Language Learners, by Annamaria Pinter

Reading Guide

Chapter 1
How do children develop and learn?
Three theories: one describes how children develop similarly and two how they might vary.
I. Constructivismactive learning
Piagets theory emphasizes the _______________ basis of development and the
____________ progression from stage to stage in every child.
Explain the difference between assimilation and accommodation.
Complete the table.
Piagets Stages of Development
with help, children demonstrate
logical thinking earlier
think abstractly, achieve
formal logic
Piagets theory applied to teaching: _____________________________________________
II. Interactionismsocial constructivism
Vygotskys theory emphasizes the influence of the _______________ environment, the
_______________ context, and the influence of ______________________________ on
a childs development.
(1) Explain the ZPD. (2) Give an illustration from your own life of something that you
learned that was in your ZPD. (3) How were you able to learn it?
Jerome Bruner invented the term ____________________ for meaningful support
List five ways in which an adult can help the learner.
1. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________
2. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________
3. ________________________________
According to Vygotsky, _________________ learning happens in social interactions.
List three possible applications of social constructivism to language learning.
1. ____________________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________________

III. Uniqueness
A. Gardners frames of mind
In the first column, list the eight intelligences. In the second, describe an activity that
each frame of mind would prefer in an English-class unit on pets.
English-Class Activities Related to Pets
6 interpersonal

interview classmates to learn more about their personality and

assign them their ideal pet

B. Learning styles
For each style, list the name of someone you know who prefers that learning style.
Personality types
careful & reflective
impulsive & interactive
Cognitive categories
Perceptual differences aural
Application of learning styles to teaching: _____________________________________
C. Exceptional children, mixed ability classes
To help students with varied abilities learn at their own pace, have them work
________________________ and ____________________________.
List three reasons a teacher should continually monitor students progress.
1. _______________________________ 3. _________________________________
2. _______________________________

Chapter 2
Write A next to the advantages adults have and C next to the advantages of children.
___ can pick up a language naturally without studying it
___ have extensive knowledge of the world and different contexts
___ can analyze abstractly
___ know at least one language really well
___ have a good understanding of the rules of communication
___ know a variety of strategies for memorization
___ regularly reflect on their progress
Answer the questions.
1. Why would the natural acquisition order of English be interesting for second-language
teachers? ____________________________________________________________
2. Is the correct use of third-person s an appropriate learning goal for first-year students?
3. How could baby talk be potentially helpful in learning a language?
4. Define Chomskys Universal Grammar. Give one proof for its existence.
Complete the chart according to the natural development of childrens language. What teaching
activities capitalize on childrens abilities and interests at this age?
Implications for language teaching
1-2 yrs
4-5 yrs
8-9 yrs
What should a teacher NOT expect of her very young students? _______________________
List three activities at home that help prepare a student for the language used at school.
__________________________ ___________________________ ________________________
What is a rich linguistic interaction between parents and students?
__________________________ ___________________________ ________________________
Check () the difficulties students face when they continue learning their first language in
elementary school.
large amounts of vocabulary
standard version of language
more complex grammar
various spoken & written genres
simplified syntax
vocabulary for specific areas/situations
What is metacognitive ability? Write a question that requires using metacognitive skills.
List two skills that require students to analyze language.
______________________________________ _______________________________________
Name something mentioned at the end of Chapter 2 that helps childrens memory development.

Chapter 3
Name someone you know who has simultaneously acquired English and Spanish. ____________
List one advantage and one disadvantage of bilingualism.
______________________________________ _______________________________________
What is the critical period of the Critical Period Hypothesis? Why is this period critical?
______________________________________ _______________________________________
List the advantages of each group.
Younger Learners Older Learners

Conversational English can be acquired in two or three years. How long does it take to develop
academic language skills in the second language? __________________________________
Whats the best way to ensure students develop their second language? ____________________
List one advantage and one disadvantage to beginning English teaching in the first grade or
before. _______________________________________________________________________
Chapter 4: The teacher is key.
In order to implement primary foreign language learning programs well, the teacher must . . .
Understand the context
political influences: goals for language education
geographical location: the need it might create for language learning
educational frameworks: when students will study language or be promoted
status of English/attitudes to it
*importance of positive attitudes toward _______________ and ___________
Be in sync with their programs aims and expectations
Check the expectations in your contextgenerally and specifically.
Your country Eng. dept. Parents
Develop childrens basic communication
abilities in English
Encourage enjoyment and motivation
Promote learning about other cultures
Develop childrens cognitive skills
Develop childrens metalinguistic awareness
Encourage learning to learn
Describe your personal expectations for students, as you would explain them to parents.

Know how to motivate students



11-12 yrs

Stages of Motivation
Applied to my classroom

Evaluation &
Provide exposure to English (Which of the following would you most like to improve in
your classroom?)
Natural language
Interaction with classmates
Frequently (spread out throughout the weekbetter 30 min./day than 1 hr twice a week)
Integrate English into the curriculum
Where the countrys educational system permits it,
integration allows you to reinforce previously taught information,
sometimes systematically (Content and Language Integrated Learning1)
Possess certain characteristics: the ideal elementary-school teacher
delivers the rest of the curriculumcan integrate English easily and naturally
knows the children wellcan establish a safe and encouraging environment; make
activities fun, stimulating, and varied; and recycle content frequently
knows the language wellcan provide comprehensible input and natural exposure to
target language
Which of the above would you expect to be of most concern to teachers of EFL?
What the teacher cannot control is continuity and supplemental learning.
How can the transition from elementary school to junior high be demotivating for
students? _________________________________________________________
How can private schools help? _________________________________________

See Bentley, Kay. The TKT Course: CLIL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.