Temple University Japan:

Age-related Factors in Second Language Learning (in Tokyo)

Date: Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 Time: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Speaker: David Singleton (University of Pannonia, Hungary)

For most people the answer to the question of when it is best to begin learning a second language is self-evident. The cliche "the younger the better" would sum up the opinion delivered by the majority of respondents to such a question! We shall see in this course, however, that the facts of the matter are not so simple. The maturational perspective or Critical Period Hypothesis has had its original theoretical postulates swept away by more recent research. While it is true that in naturalistic contexts younger second language beginners tend in the long run to do better than older beginners, there are plenty of examples of people who start their second language experience in adolescence or adulthood and who end up native-like in the second language in question. It turns out that the key to success at any age relates to the quality of interaction and the affective dimensions of interaction with the second language and its users. With regard to the instructional context, the clear and consistent finding of more than forty years of research is that early schooling in a second language confers no lasting linguistic advantage over those whose second language exposure at school begins later. Recent findings suggest that in instructional settings too, quality of interaction, attitude and motivation are more important than starting age. These findings have unfortunately been ignored by governments and ministries of education around the world.

The course will explore all of these issues, and it will maintain a focus throughout on the educational implications of the research findings discussed. In particular, it will deliver the message that: whatever the age of the learners, it is very important to provide a lively and engaging experience of input and interaction in the target language, because; it is vital to maintain interest and motivation in regard to coming to grips with the target language, and; this seems to be more of a challenge with learners who begin L2 learning young and whose language-learning experience lasts longer.

Organization: Temple University Japan

Cost: free

Venue: TUJ Tokyo Center, Azabu Hall 2-8-12 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0047 (map)

Location: Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan


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Contact Temple University Japan

Website: www.tuj.ac.jp/tesol/seminars/

Temple University Japan
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Phone (work): 03-5441-9800