An Evaluation of the Role of Consciousness in Second Language Learning

Jie Jin

Abstract


The role of conscious and unconscious processes in second language learning is one of the problems under dispute in applied linguistics. Richard Schmidt argues, in his article: The Role of Consciousness in Second Language Learning (1990), that the notion of consciousness is both useful and possibly necessary in second language learning. Conscious processes are important in second language learning, but unconscious processes should not be neglected in language comprehension and production, both of which contribute to second language learning. He concludes that much more research is needed on learners’ noticing, which becomes intake when combined with input, on incidental learning, on implicit learning, and on what learners are conscious of as they learn a second language. This paper presents how Schmidt’s theory of the Noticing Hypothesis and L2 conscious processes have influenced other research and aroused many advocates and criticisms. The argument on the role of conscious and unconscious processes in SLL will last and needs more research. This theory lays a new theoretical foundation for constructing the theories of foreign language learning, and provides the theoretical support for renewing teaching ideas, improving teaching methods and learning strategies in English teaching and learning of China. However, whether and how the Noticing Hypothesis and L2 conscious processes are appropriate for English language education in China deserves more discussion and research.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ijel.v1n1p126

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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