Monday, May 18, 2015

Harnessing the Complicated Phenomenon of Language Acquisition: Theories and Aspects by Maria-Araxi Sachpazian - Report


Language acquisition is indeed quite a complicated phenomenon; Maria Araxi Sachpazian, however, managed to simplify the various theories with her comprehensive presentation of approaches to language acquisition, while inviting participants to reexamine their own practice.


The session began with a lively discussion, in an attempt to explain the complexity of the issue. Why are there so many different theories? Is learning conscious? What happens with second or foreign language acquisition? Does a form-focused approach work? Through the discussion, our presenter practically invited us to ‘’clean up our closet’’, analyse and pinpoint the elements of each theory that work and those that prove less effective. The participants were engulfed in dialogue while the presenter was showcasing the different approaches: Grammar Translation, Audio-lingual, Suggestopedia, Cognitivism,The Natural Approach,The Silent Way (as an example of Humanistic Approaches) and Communicative Language Teaching. The unparalleled variety of teaching practices kept unfolding and each participant had their own unique view and experience to share.

By the end of the talk, all participants had had the opportunity to express their opinion, their own approach and their worries on the subject of acquisition, as well as to listen to each other, offer suggestions and understand that the best each theory gives us can be used in our teaching.

What emerged from Maria-Araxi Sachpazian’s session was that socio-cultural theories definitely affect our approach to teaching and that, in fact, our teaching is determined by our learning and training. Shifting the emphasis on our students’ ability and firmly believing in our approach as teachers seemed to be the appropriate conclusion to this thought-provoking presentation.

In the short amount of time of the session, Maria-Araxi Sachpazian managed to clarify details on the varied learning theories and challenge participants to take an inquisitive view on their personal approach to teaching.

By Christina Chorianopoulou


video

Interviewed by Christina Chorianopoulou


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