Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Far Transfer and Second Language Acquistion

This quarter I took a great class: "Structure of ASL" taught by Kim Kurz. Kim is a great teacher, and I found the class really fascinating. Kim used the book by Clayton Valli, Ceil Lucas, and Kristin J. Mulrooney as the basis for her instruction. One of the points she made in class was that there is a difference between a user's competence in a languague and a user's performance in a language. In other words, there is a difference between how a what a person knows about a language and how the person uses the language.

This is definitely true in my case.

Several of my ASL teachers have taught these four general rules of ASL:
1. Time goes first in the sentence.
2. General goes before specifics.
3. Concrete before abstract
4. Describe the location in space from the signer's perspective.

I KNOW all these rules. I UNDERSTAND these rules. But do I APPLY these rules? Not consistently. When I'm in the middle of a conversation, I flip back to English rules. This seems to be especially true if the person I am conversing with is using sim com, or is a hearing person who voices (even in whispers) when she signs. If the person is a native ASL signer, it is easier for me to maintain closer adherence with ASL rules. But I still make mistakes.

So I know what the problem is, but I don't have any idea on how to fix it. The advice I commonly get here at NTID is to spend more time with ASL signers. That would be nice, but my work here is more about me spending time at my desk, in front of a computer, than it is chatting up ASL signers. And I will admit to a reluctance to using my colleagues and work friends as unpaid tutors.

I've spent some time trying to find any research that discusses how to increase far transfer skills in seccond language acquision.  So far, I haven't found much of anything. So if you are aware of any research that might be useful for me, please point me in that direction!


Post a Comment