Welcome to Language Acquisition Research, the third course in the series Diverse Learners.
The gradual change in demographics in our schools brings significant cultural change, necessitating adaptation and adjustment within the education system and society at large. This course focuses on three areas of language acquisition research aimed at helping educators meet the needs of today’s changing demographic populations. These three areas are statistics, factors affecting English Language Learners (ELLs), and ELL facts from contemporary research.
In early childhood, acquiring a language is an effortless achievement that occurs without explicit teaching for most children. It is based on what they hear under varying circumstances in a limited amount of time. The process occurs in identical ways across different languages. A child’s ability to understand language develops faster than his or her ability to speak it. However, this dynamic changes for a second language, particularly since it is typically learned at a later age and developmental stage.
Academic English proficiency, often referred to as cognitive academic language proficiency, is more difficult to acquire and takes much longer. In addition to learning vocabulary and language structures, academic English proficiency often involves learning new ways of thinking. This course examines the demands of academic language proficiency including hypothesizing, generalizing, comparing and contrasting, and describing properties or processes. Although beginners start by developing oral fluency and everyday English language proficiency, they need opportunities to immediately develop academic English language proficiency in learning content areas, such as subject-specific terminology and grammatical constructs that are rarely used in daily conversation.
This course requires 10 hours of study time to complete all assignments and the reflection questions as directed. There are three written assignments including the reflection questions at the end of the course.