THE AFFECTIVE FACTOR : LEARNERS AS EMOTIONAL BEINGS
People think, but they have also have feeling. It is one one of paradoxe of human nature that, although we are all aware of our feeling and their effects on our actions,we invariably seek answers to our problem in rational terms. It is we belived that human beings always act in logical and sensible manner. This attitude effects the way we see learners more like machines to be programed than people with likes and dislike fears, weaknesses and prejudices. But learners is people.
They may be learning about michines and system, but they stiil as human beings. Learning particualary the learning of a language, is an emotional experience, and they feeling that the learning process avokes will have a crucial bearing on the succes or failure of the learning.
The importance of the emotional factor is easily seen if we consider the relationship between the cognitive and affective aspect of the learners. The cognitive theory tell us learners will learn when they learning. But the cognitive factor presupposes the affective factor of motivation. Before learners can actevely think about something, but must want to think about it.
The emotional reaction to the learning experiences is the essential foundation for the initiation of the cognitive process. We can represent the cognitive or affective interplay in the form of a learning cycle. This can either be a negative or a positive cycle. A good and appropriate course will engender the kind of positive learning cycle represented here :
The relationship between the cognitive and emotional aspects of learning is, therefore, one of vital importance to the success or otherwise of a language learning experiences. This bring us to a matter which has been one of the most important elements in the development of ESP motivation.
The most influential study of motivation in language learning has been Gardner and Lambert’s (1972) study of bilingualism in French speaking Canada. They identified two form of motivation :
1. Instumental motivation is the reflection of an external need. The learners are not learning a language because they want to although this does not imply that they do not want to, but rather because they need too. They need may derive from varying sources:
a. The need to sell things to speakers of the language
b. The need to pass an examination in the language
c. The need to read texts in in the language for work or study.
d. The need may vary, but the important factor is that the motivation is an external one.
2. Intregative motivation, on the other hand,derives from a desire on the part of the learners to be members of the speech community that uses a particular language. It is an internally generated want rather than an externally imposed need.
Gardner and Lambert’s conclusion was that both form of motivation are probably present in all learners but exercise a varying influence, depending on age, experience and changing occupational or social needs.
Motivation, it appears, is a complex and highly individual matter. ESP ,as much as any good teaching, need to be intrinsically motivating. It should satisfy their need as learners as well as their needs as potential target users of the language. In other words, they should get satisfaction from the actual experience of learning, not just from the prospect of eventually using what they have learnt.
Affect and cognition are two inseparable aspects in language learning, supplementing each other. In second language teaching, affect refers to emotions, feelings and motivation. Learners’affective state has a direct influence on the learning process and results. More and more attention has been paid to affect in language learning.
Many researchers have conducted a great number of studies on it from different perspectives. However, the present studies either concentrate on one single affective factor while ignoring other factors or view language as a whole while neglecting oral language research, which is the most important aspect in the process of language learning.
Under the current educational background of China, there are some questions that merit meditation of language learners: What is the affective state of non-English majors? Are there any differences of affective factors between male students and female students, between students with high oral English proficiency and low oral proficiency? What is the relationship between learners’affective factors and oral English proficiency? Which factor influences oral proficiency most? What strategies should oral English teachers take in the future teaching?In view of the above recognition, the present study is conducted to explore the relationship between three main affective factors and oral English proficiency, aiming to provide valuable suggestions for future oral English teaching.
The present study was conducted among 164 students in their fist year of university study through questionnaire and oral test. Major research findings are: most students suffer a high level of anxiety, which negatively correlates with oral English proficiency; most students have strong motivation to learn oral English, which is positively correlated to oral English proficiency; most learners show a high degree of self-esteem towards oral English learning. Self-esteem and learners’oral English proficiency are positively correlated though the correlation is not significant.
Anxiety is the most important factor that influences learners’oral English proficiency. Great differences exist between students with high oral proficiency and low proficiency, especially on anxiety. Male learners and female learners show great difference on anxiety and motivation. Male learners are more anxious towards oral English learning while female learners have stronger motivation and are more inclined to make effort in oral English learning. Male learners show a little higher self-esteem than female learners in oral English learning.
On the basis of the above results, the author puts forward her discussion and explanation, and provides her suggestions from the perspectives of oral English learners and teacher. Meanwhile, the limitations of the present study and recommendations for future research are also pointed out.
Affective strategies are learning strategies concerned with managing emotions, both negative and positive. The relationship between affective strategies and learning is not clear, but a positive affective environment helps learning in general. The Example is lowering anxiety levels with relaxation techniques is one kind of affective strategy.
In the classroom, the teacher can play an active role in developing and exploiting affective strategies by building a generally positive atmosphere in the class. This can happen by encouraging and counselling learners, by helping them identify achievable aims and work towards autonomous learning, through personalising activities, and through pair and group work.
Affective factors are emotional factors which influence learning. They can have a negative or positive effect. Negative affective factors are called affective filters and are an important idea in theories about second language acquisition.
For example learner's attitude to English, to the teacher, to other learners in the group and to herself are all affective factors and have impact on how well she learns.
Affective factors may be as important for successful language learning, if not more so, than ability to learn. Teachers can reduce negative factors and develop positive ones by doing activities to build a positive group dynamic, by including students in deciding aspects of the course and choosing activities that are motivating for the age and interests of the learners.
ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES
“THE AFFECTIVE FACTOR TO LEARNER
AS EMOTION BEING“
Lecturer : nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn