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Teaching Strategies and Second Language Acquisition

Gagne (1987) is of the view that there is no one strategy adequate enough to fill the diversity of learning needs. The two main or notable teaching strategies are heuristic strategy and expository strategy. The former involves the students performing a task that the teacher has prepared. They do this independently and all the teacher does is monitor their progress. In the latter, the students perform the role of receiving information without much participation other than taking notes or listening.

The five strategies we discuss in this paper will fall under these two categories. For our purpose, we will use 8th-grade students some of whom are second language learners of the language used for instruction. Under the heuristic category with grammar as the content we may have the students acting out a story, they may use songs to help them understand a certain context for instance a poem. The teacher may ask them to prepare a presentation either individually or as a group in the form of oral sharing or peer tutoring where one student takes on the role of the teacher. Laturnau (2001) believes this builds confidence even in those learning a second language. Gagne (1987) is of the view that there is a continuum between the two strategies and balancing them provides the best results.

These strategies are mostly student-centered and the teacher is just but an observer who monitors the activities. When it comes to teacher-centered activities the teacher may use adjusted speech in which there is a change in the pattern of speech to enable comprehension by the students. Reinforcement via repetition is some of the theories proposed by Hull, Skinner, and Thorndike et al.

Once the various grammar exercises are repeated from time to time the students then memorize them easily. Anonymous-generated questions from the students after a lesson is another strategy that can be of use to the teacher of a second language. This enables students with inhibitions to ask a question to do so openly. This is important especially in a language class as some questions may seem obvious to some but complex to others. Killen (2007) is of the view that the thinking patterns of the students once understood by the instructor are of major benefit to better teaching strategies.

Teaching aid such as pictures, models, films via projectors to mention but a few are the best way to come about these patterns and in so doing the teacher is able to instruct the students from an enlightened standpoint.

Of the above strategies that fall under the two categories mentioned in the introduction, most of them are effective in teaching second language learners with the exception of anonymous student-generated questions in which the student is not given the chance to express him or herself. However, these strategies would provide the correct platform for learning grammar by second language learners of the English language. There are many more strategies however not mentioned here that would be applicable to other subjects.

Second Language Acquisition Difficulty

The nature of second language acquisition

The case study in question involves an eight-year-old who has a different entry behavior or level. The fact that she has suffered from trauma is not mentioned though we cannot assume this is the cause for the impediment in academic achievement. Brownhill (1983) is of the view that the entry-level of the students in each class should be uniform in order for them to take off from the same level. The main issue in Bianca’s case is that of individual intervention on the part of the instructor in which the following strategies may be used. Individual conferencing is whereby the student reads out to the teacher and is evaluated on this. The student uses visuals to make certain concepts be understood fully in the second language. Paraphrasing is another strategy in which the teacher may use in order to improve the student’s listening skills.

The nature with which education works is that achievement awareness is pertinent to better performance. Charts can be created by the teacher to show to Bianca the level of improvement. This encourages her all the more. The issue of specific learning disability tests should not be the way forward as the entry-level of this student is different from the others in the same class the period of time too is not adequate to conclude there is a learning disability. With the above strategies, the teacher should be able to get desired results.


Killen, Roy. (2007). Teaching Strategies For Outcome Based Education. Cape Town: Juta and Company Ltd.

Laturnau, J. (2001). Standards-based instruction for English language Learners: PREL Briefing Paper (PB0102). Honolulu: Pacific Resources for Education and Learning.

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