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Numer: 519
Dział: Języki obce

Consciousness raising and second language

Szkoła ponadgimnazjalna

Adult second language learners are perceived to have a conscious intention to learn the language contrary to young children learning their first language, who may only intend to express their thoughts and feelings. Therefore, it may be assumed that conscious processes will play a very important role in adult second language learning. Some researchers claim that some form of grammatical consciousness raising may be useful in improving grammatical accuracy in second language.

The importance of conscious and unconscious processes is viewed differently by different researchers. There are many who believe that conscious understanding of the target language is essential if learners are to produce correct forms and use them appropriately. Despite the fact that there is hardly any theoretical support for this extreme point of view, and no present theory suggests that conscious processes are essential in second language learning, some researchers claim that consciousness is a real help in second language study.
Other researchers are convinced that language learning is essentialy unconscious. The concept of consciousness is probably helpful in defining many different problems in second language learning.

Young children are completely unconscious while learning their first language whereas adult second language learners are undoubtely aware of learning the language. Different processes underlie child and adult acquisition. It is based on an assumption concerning common lack of succeess in adults contrary to regular success in children. Succeess in adult foreign language is not guaranteed, complete succeess is extremely rare, or perhaps not existent. Success in child language learning appears to be unchanged by personality,
motivation, or attitude, but these factors are crucial in foreign language learning.
There is a significant difference in degree of succeess and failure among adults, even if age, exposure, or instruction are kept unchanged.

If first language learning is completely unconscious and children are able to achieve high levels of competence contrary to adult learners who often fail to learn second language while learning it in the natural context thus a greater role should be attributed to conscious processess in adult second language acquisition.

Consciousness raising is related to the growth of learner awareness. Once the consciousness of specific feature has been raised, learners will become conscious of this feature and will notice it in the following communicative input. Language teaching should have as one of its components the need to raise in some way the learner’s consciousness of aspects of grammatical structure of the language the learner is learning. Consciousness raising is regarded as help or the means of language learning.

Fundamental problem in language teaching concerns the extent to which one must tell a learner about the language, the degree to which only practice will invoke the proper learning mechanisms, and what to do with the language.

It is hard to deny adult learners explicit information about the target language because of the fact that their intellectual maturity and previous contact with teaching and learning forces them to demand explanations.Explanations
which are addressed to younger children are not so common, which is caused by the lack of intellectual maturity in children. Learning languages intuitively may come naturally to all learners.

Equipped with explicit information about specific tasks, second language learners are able to use conscious application of rules in order to perform in and out of the class and to communicate in the target language. This conscious
application of rules appears to be without the speed and spontaneity which
are connected with fluency. Fluency occurs later as a consequence of practicing target language structures in formal and informal ways.

Even if learners learn the rules and later they are able use them appropriately, it is not proof that learned knowledge has been transferred to acquired knowlwdge. Because of this fact, there are rules which learners are able to learn consciously and the ones which are acquired.There are second language learners who are able to have access of learned knowledge only if given time and required focus on form; and there are learners who are not able to use their learned knowledge. Consciousness raising can be achieved without requiring of learners to talk about their awareness, the ability to study language is perceived as a kind of skill and help.

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