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ERIC Number: ED265957
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1986
Pages: 43
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
A Tale of Two Learners.
Piper, Terry
This paper describes accounts of two kindergarten-aged children learning English as a second language (ESL) to demonstrate that exposure is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for acquiring a second language. The 10-month histories of "L," a quick and highly successful learner, and "M," a less successful, much slower learner, illustrate how proficiency in the native language, the school environment, and personality factors interact in the acquisition of a second language by young children. These three determining factors are discussed in detail. Extensive within-subject and cross-subject comparisons of language comprehension, accuracy, and fluency are made with data obtained from responses to the 21 questions of the Bilingual Syntax Measure, a test sometimes used to assess the English language proficiency of primary school students. It is concluded that the majority of ESL children entering school are neither as proficient at language learning as "L" nor as slow as "M." While the different abilities and different backgrounds ESL students bring to the task of language learning are beyond the teacher's control, teachers can provide a school environment that is supportive, linguistically rich, and that encourages the use of language which serves the functions of basic interpersonal communication. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada