Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Cognitive Factors in Learning Foreing Languages

Cognitive Factors in Learning Foreing Languages
4
13770
1
Second semester
OB
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish
If the student is enrolled for the English track then classes for that subject will be taught in the same language.

Teaching staff


Dr Noelia Navarro

nnavarrog@uic.es

Introduction

In the event that the health authorities announce a new period of confinement due to the evolution of the health crisis caused by COVID-19, the teaching staff will promptly communicate how this may effect the teaching methodologies and activities as well as the assessment.


This course aims to show how internal and external factors affect the acquisition and learning of a foreign language. First, the course will present how the age factor affects the learning of a foreign language, as well as analyse the methodologies used in language teaching in relation to different age groups and their cognitive maturation. Second, the course will present how individual differences, such as aptitude, also affect language acquisition. Finally, the course will present the role that the quality and quantity of the input plays in language learning and acquisition.

Pre-course requirements

To be familiar with studies carried out in the field of foreign language acquisition and teaching.

Objectives

- To become familiar with cognitive concepts in second language acquisition studies.

- To become familiar with terminology related to studies on age and individual differences.

- To understand the structure of a research study.

- To understand and interpret the results of research studies and relate them to the theoretical concepts presented in the course.

Competencies

BASIC AND GENERAL COMPETENCES

CB9, CB10, CG1, CG2, CG3, CG4, CG6

 

CB9

To know how to communicate one’s conclusions and the latest knowledge and the supporting arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous way.

CB10

To possess the learning skills that allow one to continue studying in a way that will be largely individual or autonomous.

 

CG1

To search for, obtain, process, summarise and communicate information (oral, printed, audiovisual, digital or multimedia-based), transform it into knowledge and apply it to teaching English as a foreign language.

CG2

To develop critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making or inquiry skills, and apply these to educational reality with the aim of promoting students’ autonomy, creativity, confidence and personal initiative.

CG3

To manage work time based on learning priorities and objectives, promoting self-learning.

CG4

To communicate decision-making in the field of teaching English as a foreign language based on solid arguments.

CG6

To be able to effectively work as a part of a team in multilingual, multicultural and interdisciplinary professional and/or academic environments.

TRANSVERSAL COMPETENCES

CT1, CT3, CT4, CT5

 

CT1

To apply pedagogically innovative models and educational research on the acquisition, teaching and use of English as a foreign language to specific cases, to a specific school context and/or contexts related to education, so that the theoretical knowledge acquired is suitably connected to the educational practice.

CT3

To incorporate information and communication technology (ICTs) into teaching and learning activities, teaching management and professional development.

CT4

To generate innovative and competitive proposals in professional or research activity.

CT5

To express oneself in public and give presentations with digital support adapted to the different interest groups in the school environment (teachers, families, students, etc.)

SPECIFIC COMPETENCES

CE1, CE2, CE7, CE10, CE11

 

CE1

To know and reflect on processes of the acquisition and learning of English as a foreign language and its literature and culture.

CE2

To know and reflect on the process of learning languages other than the mother tongue at different educational stages and throughout life.

CE7

To analyse and evaluate the development of students’ linguistic competence in English at different educational stages, based on the requirements of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

CE10

To use the English language for academic and professional purposes related to research in the areas of acquisition, teaching and learning English as a foreign language.

CE11

To use academic skills in English, both orally and in writing inside and outside the classroom as well as all the communication techniques typical of teachers of this language.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes that will be required of the students will be linked to the selected competences in each case. Among others, the following stand out:

  • Identify and analyse the different cognitive factors, processes or phenomena related to the teaching and learning/acquisition of English as a foreign language in bilingual and multilingual contexts.
  • Reflect on the process of learning languages other than the mother tongue at different educational stages and throughout life.
  • Analyse and evaluate the development of the students’ linguistic competence in English at different educational stages, based on the requirements of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
  • Use English for academic and professional purposes related to the acquisition, teaching and learning of English as a foreign language.

Syllabus

1. Introduction

1.1. Internal and external factors in foreign language learning

1.2. Cognitive factors and language acquisition

2. The age factor

2.1. Introduction

2.2. The critical period in L1 acquisition

2.3. The critical period in L2 acquisition

2.4. Development and maturity

2.5. Effects of age on foreign language acquisition and teaching

3. Individual differences

3.1. Introduction

3.2. Age and aptitude

3.3. How to measure aptitude

3.4. Effects of aptitude on foreign language acquisition and teaching

4. Input

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Input quantity and quality

4.3. Effects of input on foreign language acquisition and teaching

Teaching and learning activities

Online



CML – Online Lectures

CPL – Online Practical Classes

TI – Individual Autonomous Work

TG – Group Autonomous Work

TL- Online Tutorials

Evaluation systems and criteria

Online



1. Discussion and analysis of compulsory readings - 15%.

2. Performance of a research study in which students must examine the effects of age, individual differences or input when learning or teaching English - 35%.

The project will be done in groups, and the study will include:

- Brief literature review.

- Research question and hypothesis.

-Data collection and analysis and results.

- Written project, which will consist of the research methodology + results sections.

 3. Tasks: data analysis/analysis of individual differences - 25%.

4. Final exam - 25%.

Bibliography and resources

Flege, J. 2009. Give Input a Chance!. In T. Piskeand M. Young.Scholten (eds.) Input Matters in SLA (pp. 175-190). Clevedon: MultilingualMatters. 

Muñoz, C. (ed.) (2006). AgeandtheRate of Foreign Language Learning. Clevedon: MultilingualMatters. 

Ortega, L. (2009). UnderstandingSecond Language Acquisition. HodderEducation. (ch. 2, 7, 8, 9). 

Robinson, P. 2001. CognitionandSecond Language Instruction. Cambridge: CUP. 

Segalowitz, N. 1997. Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition. In A.M.B. de Groot& J.F. Kroll (eds.) Tutorials in Bilingualism. Psycholinguistic Perspectives. LawrenceErlbaum. 

Singleton, D. & Ryan, L. 2004. Language Acquisition: TheAge Factor. 2nd edn. Clevedon: MultilingualMatters. 

Skehan, P. 2002. Theorisingandupdatingaptitude. In P. Robinson (ed.) Individual DifferencesandInstructed Language Learning. (pp. 69-93). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.