The term practice has been viewed positively and negatively within the field of SLA. In other fields of pursuit however, practice is considered a vital part of skill learning. Whether it involves learning to drive a car or play the piano, practice is deemed a necessary cognitive process that people have to participate in order to perform any skill of high level. Humans tend to develop skills by receiving knowledge and applying it through practice (Anderson, 2000). But to what extent does this apply to second language acquisition?
Given the degree to which practice is viewed within SLA, this presentation will explore some key cognitive theories that help to explain the effects of practice. The presentation will demonstrate that SLA research to date has produced different accounts on the role of practice, and as a result, a united view does not exist. Nevertheless, it is useful for teachers to be aware of some of the research in order to inform their own ideas.
Colin Thompson lectures at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka. His research interests are psycholinguistics and language pedagogy.