Second Language Acquisition

Theories of Human Learning and Applications to SLA

Ausubel's Meaningful Learning Theory


Importance of meaningful learning (rather than rote) by anchoring new information to relevant background knowledge.

Requires: learning set (positive disposition - motivation - to be discussed later); learning task has some relationship to learner's prior knowledge. New items learned are subsumed under larger concepts.

Short term memory: magic 7, plus or minus 2.
   
Systematic forgetting of what is no longer necessary.
    In other words, as the language becomes more automatic, we can forget specific rules that we needed when language was more deliberate.

Also: language attrition(loss of L2 skills)
 and subtractive bilingualism. (Members of a minority group learn the language of a majority group, who in turn downgrade speakers of the minority language - leading to 'forgetting of the minority language')
Comparison of Ausubel's thoery with schema theory

Comparison of Ausubel's theory with constructivist (Bruner) theory


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