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WRITTEN COMMENTARY 2: INSTRUCTED SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING 1

Written Commentary 2: Instructed Second Language Learning

By Daniel Felipe Gutirrez lvarez

Since I became an English teacher there have been several issues that profoundly concern

me about my students language learning processes. One of the commonalities I have noticed

from teaching is that, in my classes, just a few students become proficient, whereas the rest are

left behind. I have gone through different phases trying to explain myself this phenomenon, in

which I have either blame my methodology or partially excuse my students for lacking the right

foundations due to previous meaningless learning experiences. Recently, I added one more to the

list and this one deals directly with the context, hinting that foreign language learners do not

receive enough exposure to input and they have little time to interact with other classmates in a

setting like ours (Gass and Selinker, 1994). However, I am aware that these are just some of the

many factors affecting the EFL classroom.

Since our students live in an EFL environment, they are expected to be exposed to the

language mostly during English classes. Gass and Selinker (1994) suggest that, in these classes,

students are exposed to three types of sources: (a) teacher, (b) materials, and (c) other learners.

If we examine these sources, it becomes clear that in Colombia we have many hindrances that

need to be tackled. To begin with, there is a great number of teachers that lack the aptitude and

the methodology as well. Additionally, the materials we use (usually booklets) may be somewhat

appealing and well-structured, but they are too universal and they do not engage our students.

Finally, thanks to different theories that support students interaction as Vygotskys zone of

proximal development, we know for sure that these interactions affect the students positively.

Nonetheless, students performances may be negatively affected by the mistakes they share with

their classmates if they do not receive feedback from their teachers. (Gass and Selinker, 1994).
WRITTEN COMMENTARY 2: INSTRUCTED SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING 2

References

Gass, M. and Selinker, L. (1994). Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. (pp.

368-394). Routledge.