Language Learning Theories: An Overview
Learning theories can best be described as conceptual or philosophical orientations about ways that human beings learn. These include behaviorist, cognitive, and socio cultural perspectives. Behavioral learning theory views learning as a response to stimuli in the environment; the learner is a “creature of habit” that can be manipulated, observed, and described. Behaviorist influences in second language teaching can be observed in methods such as the audio-lingual approach and situational language teaching. Language teaching is influenced by the fields of linguistics and psychology and, by extension, second language teaching methods are closely related to concepts and theories about the ways in which humans learn in general, along with the ways in which linguists define language. The following sections briefly review theories of language, followed by theories of learning.
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