Affective Factors

Affective Factors
in SLA
Junghwa Woo
Overview of Affective Factors in SLA
 What are affects?
 Why affective factors?
 How are affects and cognition related?
 Krashen’s Affective filters
 Elements of Affective factors
 Affective activities
1. What are affects?
 The emotional side of human behaviors
 Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Affective domains
1) Receiving
2) Responding
3) Valuing
4) Organization of values into a system of beliefs
5) Value System that becomes consistent with a person’s behavior
2. Why affective factors?
 Cognitive consideration of second language acquisition cannot provide
the most fundamental side of human behavior.
 Language belongs to a person’s whole social being. It is part of one’s
identity. (Williams 1944)
3. How are affects and cognition
 Neorobiological research indicates that reason and emotion are
distinguishable but inseparable.(Damasio 1994; LeDoux 1996)
 Reason and emotion complement each other.
1) Reason : set a goal
2) Emotion : get us involved enough to act and to work towards the goal
 Attention and creation of meaning are made through emotional responses
because the brain cannot process all the stimuli.
 Affect and cognition are both part of the learner’s whole-person
development. (Arnold, Jane 2011)
4. Krashen’s Affective filters
 The filter controls how much input the learner comes into contact with, and
how much input is converted into intake.
 It is ‘affective’ because the factors which determine its strength have to do
with the learner’s motivation, self-confidence, or anxiety state.
 The affective factors influences the rate of development, but it does not
affect the route.
5. Elements of Affective Factors
 Self-esteem
 Inhibition
 Anxiety
 Empathy
 Extroversion
 Risk-taking
 Attitude
 Motivation
 A personal judgment of worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes that
individuals hold towards themselves (Coopersmith 1967)
 Three levels of self-esteem
1) global self-esteem : general assessment one makes of one’s own worth
over time
2) specific self-esteem : one’s self-appraisal in particular life situations
3) task self-esteem : one’s self-appraisal in particular tasks within specific
 Significance in L2 learning : important roles in determining one’s willingness
to communicate
 Sets of defenses all human beings build to protect the ego
 Language ego : very personal, egoistic nature of L2 acquisition
Meaningful L2 acquisition involves some degree of identity conflict.
 “thin” and “think” ego boundaries : the openness, vulnerability, and
ambiguity tolerance of those with thin ego boundaries
 How to deal with mistakes : unavoidable in L2 learning, but can be viewed
as threats to one’s ego
 Influence to language teaching : approaches to make students feel free to
take risks, to orally try out hypotheses
 Learners have to gamble a bit, to be willing to try out hunches about the
language and take the risk of being wrong.
 A climate of acceptance will encourage students to experiment the target
language and take risks without feeling embarrassed.
 Calculate and willing guesses > meaningless verbal guesses
 Self-esteem and risk-taking: a person with high global self-esteem is not
daunted by the possible consequences of being laughed at.
 Fossilization: could be due to a lack of willingness to take risks
 Feelings associated with uneasiness, frustration, self-doubt, apprehension or
 Different levels of anxiety
1) global or trait anxiety: a more permanent predisposition to be anxious
2) situational or state anxiety: experienced in relation to some particular event
 Debilitative vs Facilitative anxiety
1) debilitative anxiety: anxiety as a negative factor
2) facilitative anxiety: some concern over a task to be accomplished is a
positive factor.
Level of anxiety
Optimal level of anxiety
 The Empathic Civilization
 The process of reaching beyond the self to understand what another
person is feeling.
 Empathy – possibility of detachment
 Sympathy – an agreement or harmony between individuals
 Communication requires a sophisticated degree of empathy.
The reason that autistic children have difficulty in communicating with
others – they tend to view life in terms of their own needs and desires.
 Extroversion – the extent to which a person has a deep-seated need to
receive ego enhancement, self-esteem, and a sense of wholeness from
other people
 Introversion – the extent to which a person derives a sense of wholeness
and fulfillment apart from a reflection of this self from other people.
 Myth 1 – extroversion with better social adjustment and higher oral
participation (cross-cultural norms)
 Myth 2 – extroversion with higher empathy
 It may work for face-to-face interaction of language learning , but not for
listening, reading or writing.
 Attitude toward self: related to self-esteem, ‘Do I have an adequate mind,
and am I the kind of person that other people are willing to spend time
with?’ → affirmative answer: better able to engage in L2 learning
 Attitude toward the Target Language and the people who speak it;
Negative stereotypes: undermine attempts at language acquisition
affect the self-esteem of the group’s members
encourage negative attitudes toward the TL and
culture, especially if the teacher and peers fail to show respect for the L1
culture and language
 Attitudes toward the Teacher and the Classroom Environment
 How to cope with the communication breakdowns in the classroom
(Scarcella, 1990)
1) Encourage the development of friendship
2) Emphasize commonalities
3) Create a place in which the experiences, capacities, interests, and
goals of every classroom member are simultaneously utilized for the benefit of
4) Teach all students how their communications styles can be
6. Affective Activities
 To create an environment that fosters an appreciation of differences so
that it encourages individual growth and decrease hostility.
 Useful and important in ESL classes in which many different value systems
are brought together
 Teachers and students are to remain objective throughout the activity, to
listen thoughtfully and nonjudgmentally.
6. Affective Activities
 Open-ended sentences
If I were older, I would…
One thing I do well is ….
My brother (sister) makes me feel ….
People seem to respect me when I ….
When people tease me, I ….
If I could have one wish come true, I would wish for …
6. Affective Activities
 Value Survey: Students are asked questions and are given 3 or 4 choices.
When giving the instructions, stress that there are no right or wrong answers.
 Value Voting
 My favorite possession
 A Helping Hand
 Brown, H. Douglas, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (2000)
Fourth Edition, Longman
 Richard-Amato, Patricia A., Making It Happen(1996) Second Edition,
 ARNOLD, Jane 2011, Attention to Affect in Language Learning,
International Journal of English Studies, 22/1, 11-22
 Hui Ni 2012, The Effects of Affective Factors in SLA and Pedagogical
Implications, Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol 2

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