Bar­ri­ers to learn­ing a lan­guage

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - INSIGHT -

REAMS of ink are spilled over “how to learn English suc­cess­fully” in high school year books peren­ni­ally.

But the sug­ges­tions given unan­i­mously fall short of bring­ing one piv­otal pre­req­ui­site to light – over­com­ing the many psy­cho­log­i­cal and so­ci­etal fac­tors in­volved, namely the learner’s at­ti­tude to­wards the tar­get lan­guage, con­text, and the learner’s gender, among oth­ers.

Given the pres­ence of the afore­said ar­ti­cles writ­ten by lin­guis­ti­cally com­pe­tent English teach­ers with their in­di­vid­ual fea­si­ble learn­ing strate­gies, they are in prac­tice in­tan­gi­ble and vir­tu­ally non­ap­pli­ca­ble to most learn­ers when they over­look the fore­go­ing pre­req­ui­site.

At this junc­ture, sit­u­a­tional in­spired teach­ing strate­gies em­ployed by teach­ers to help over­come the af­fec­tive en­ti­ties of learn­ers can be a rem­edy, if any.

It is ev­i­dent that all the men­tioned af­fec­tive fac­tors will, in all ways and al­ways, af­fect the learner’s learn­ing progress.

Take at­ti­tude for in­stance: if a learner has neg­a­tive atti- tude to­wards English, she/he is not likely to learn the lan­guage suc­cess­fully. If a learner re­sides in a non-english­s­peak­ing con­text, lack of re­al­life prac­tice will be the bone of scarce im­prove­ment.

As for gender, ac­cord­ing to re­search done glob­ally in di­verse com­mu­ni­ties, fe­males tend to learn the dom­i­nant tar­get lan­guage whole­heart­edly and suc­cess­fully as they see it as a life-and-death mat­ter to­wards higher po­si­tion and es­teem in pre­vail­ing male-dom­i­nated so­ci­eties.

English learn­ing strate­gies abound, in­formed by lin­guists and lan­guage teach­ers all over the world.

These strate­gies in­clude com­pre­hen­sive dis­cus­sion, lis­ten­ing to ra­dio/tv/youtube broad­casts, role-play­ing and read­ing for plea­sure.

But with the ex­is­tence of the af­fec­tive fac­tors, those rec­om­mended strate­gies are not go­ing to work ef­fec­tively and fruit­fully as the said pre­req­ui­site is in­ex­tri­ca­bly cen­tral in suc­cess­ful sec­ond lan­guage learn­ing. –Kheiyok­man

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