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CONSTRUCTIVISM AND FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION // LANGUAGE

ACQUISITION

What I learned was that Piaget and Vygotsky’s different opinions about
constructivism. According to Piaget, it is important individual cognitive
development and he claimed that there are some stages of development ;
whereas Vygotsky claimed that we can not observe learning like a stage
paradigm. We also focused on how constructivism differs from other schools of
thought. I learned that constructivists put their emphasize on social practices,
colloborative groups, independent learning. According to constructivists , unlike
behaviourists and cognitivists, gives importance to each individual’s construction
of reality. However, how do we construct our own learning? The answer is to
create learning strategies. These strategies are unique and only special to us. For
instance, one can learn vocabulary by writing down on a piece of paper; however,
other one can learn them by memorizing. I also learned that the role of the
teacher here is to guide, to monitor and to encourage the students. This goal can
be achieved by the help of group works because students feel themselves secure
during these activities. That’s why the impact of psychology on teaching is highly
important. So, good teacher is the one who knows psychology. While assisting to
develope the students’ communicative competence, the teachers should try to
raise self-confident generations. It shouldn’t be forgotten that each person is
unique and they should be respected by individually. That’s why using plenty of
techniques in teaching does not quarantee to get satisfactory results. Even
“translation” technique as in GTM, unlike many negative comments, can be
invaluable in teaching. The purpose of the action determines which method we
can use. Therefore, there is no recipee to teach a language. Due to the fact that
there is no clear cut, our duty ,as teachers, is just to put the pieces together and
just to smell the classroom. The atmosphere of the classroom identifies what
teaching strategies to employ.

I also learned how children acquire a language. As small babies, children


babble and cry. As they reach the end of their first year , they utter their first
words. By about 18 months of age, they use two-word and three-word
“sentences.” By about age three, students can comprehend linguistic input. At
school age, especially when there is interaction with other peers or with their
parents, children can internalize complex sentences, expand their vocabulary
and develope communicative skills.

Moreover, I learned that there are some approaches explaining first


language acquisition. According to behaviouristic approach, children are born
with “a tabula rasa.” They are then shaped by their environment. One of the best
known behaviorists, Skinner supported learning by “operant conditioning”
According to Skinner, when children behaviours are reinforced, the child
understands that he/she is doing something good and that behaviour is
maintained; however, when there is a lack of reinforcement, the behaviour is
extinguished. According to cognitivists, children are borned with innate
knowledge and an ability to learn a language but they learn to function in a
language through interaction and discourse.
What I had difficulty in figuring out was “mediation theory.” I didn’t
understand how this theory explains first language acquisition.

I suppose I need to focus more on first language acquisition theories not to


forget and not to confuse them with other theories that we will learn in the
following lessons.

I believe I may put constructivism into practise when I become a teacher.


Especially, group activities are useful because I know that students feel
themselves secure when they are in cooperation with their friends. I believe
some truth can be found in every theory. So, I will try to make use of all
techniques whenever there is an appropriate situation while teaching.
Furthermore, I will reinforce my students when they do something good because
the more reinforcement the better acquisition according to behaviouristic
approach but of course without exaggerating!