Pusan University of Foreign Studies

TESOL Program


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SLA Quiz Questions

The weekly quiz questions below are a rough guide to the course, and a fair indication of what students should study for the final exam. Test yourself !

Quiz 1 15 June 2004

1.  What are two knowledge skills needed by an "educated person" in a complex profession?

2. Why is it no longer enough for a professional to just memorize a lot of information?

3. The field of SLA has greatly expanded recently. What is one negative effect of this on the quality of published research?

4. What is one lesson we can learn from 1500 years of mistaken belief in the Ptolemaic universe?

5. Direct experience is one source of knowledge. However, most people get most of their knowlege and beliefs from _________________ ?

6. Large socio-political units like empires are often maintained by repressive force. However, they are also often the 'nurseries' for new knowledge and ideas. Explain this paradox.

7. The development of 'scientific method' in Europe was a reaction against ______________ .

8. Give an example of an hypothesis statement.

9. Give an example of a null hypothesis statement.

10. Explain the problems with a survey question which asks "Do you believe South Korea is a free country?".

11. Give an example of a survey question with ambiguous underlying assumptions.

12.   What is a variable?

13. What is a contaminating variable?

14. In the social sciences, it is not possible to neutralize all contaminating variables. What is the compromise solution when stating results?

15.  Why does scientific method require a precise record of all procedures used by the researcher?

16. What does a researcher need to know in order to replicate someone elses experiment?

17. Give a modern example of some research which was corrupted. (Explain in full sentences please).

18. What have been two different focuses in SLA research?

19. What is the general aim of doing action research for teachers?

20. What is the Hawthorne Effect?

21. How can the Hawthorne Effect actually be an advantage in classroom action research?

22. How can action research help to overcome teacher burnout?

23. What happens if a researcher is convinced of a result before he/she begins the research?

24. Explain why a failed hypothesis and a confirmed hypothesis are both useful outcomes.

25. Why is it always necessary to explain the criteria for accepting and rejecting evidence?

26. Is it possible to scientifically investigate a question which is not falsifiable?

Quiz 2 30 June 2004

1. Name two important parts of brain cells.

2. What are two 'media' which may store memories in the human brain?

3. How many bits of information can we hold in short term memory?

4. What is an ancient philosophy which developed complex ideas about the concept of 'self' or 'I' ?

5. Describe a metaphor for the brain which explains the difference between conscious attention and and subconscious thought.

6. Describe a metaphor for the brain using the idea of cognitive agents.

7. Describe the complex problem which most occupies the minds of children younger than 5 years old.

8. Discuss the importance of the 'language agent' for human minds.

9. What are four translations which occur in the transfer of a message from one mind to another mind?

10. What can happen to a message pattern as it passes through the air?

11. What are two steps in message transfer within the human ear?

12. What effect can transmission media have on a message pattern?

13. How does a receiving mind decode a damaged message pattern?

14. Define the idea of 'a system'.

15. Why does a TESOL teacher need to be aware of the processes of language production?

16. What is a common delusion which teachers, other professionals, and even the members of a nation often have about themselves?

17. Explain the main proposition in Chomsky's model of Universal Grammar.

18. Expain how the metaphor of a switchboard can be used to talk about Universal Grammar.

19. Explain how the PRO-drop rule is supposed to support the idea of a Universal Grammar.

20. Give an argument to show that a Universal Grammar of some kind seems to be necessary.

21. What is the main proposition in McWhinney's Competition Model?

22. Give an argument against the Competition Model.

23. Give an argument supporting the Competition Model.

24. What are two common assumptions which Cook suggests are often found in language teaching?

25. Most modern Lx teaching method prefer the use of ______________ rather than isolated words.

26. Audiolingual theory claimed that there was a 'natural order' for learning the four basic language skills. What was that order?

27. What are two possible sources of authentic Lx input for L2 students?

28. What is a practical difference between memory in L2 and memory in L1?

29. Explain the difference between an L2 Learner and an L2 User.

30. Why do L2 learners produce L2 mistakes systematically, not randomly?

Quiz 3 13 July 2004

1. Why did Skinner's behaviourist method of research avoid any study of mental processes?

2. Why is it a mistake to call any research method which studies mental processes "behaviourist"?

3. Explain the difference between Anderson's 'declarative memory' and his 'procedural memory'.

4. Declarative memory is about consciously 'declaring' each step in a process. It is slow and unreliable. However, procedural memory is about ___________ . It is _____________

5. What does Buddhist philosophy mean by 'a hierarchy of habits'?

6. Connectionism sees learning as _________________________

7. Explain how connectionism uses the concept of neural pathways.

8. Describe some properties of linear processing.

9. Describe some properties of parallel processing.

10. What is an advantage that parallel processing has over linear processing for human languages?

11. Give an example of listener prediction in decoding a message.

12. Why is a listener never quite certain of a speaker's original message?

13. How might a language teacher help students to develop skills of prediction in L2?

14. Explain two ways the concepts of 'whole' and 'parts' have been used in teaching.

15. Explain what the concepts of 'whole' and 'parts' have to do with human learning.

16. Briefly describe Ausubel's theory of memory.

17. How does our memory economize instead of remembering thousands of detailed events?

18. Explain the idea of systematic forgetting.

19. How might a child develop a concept for the word 'hot'?

20. What is the difference between developing a long term memory of a single event, and long term memories of a complex system like language?

21. Explain the role of 'peaks of experience/emotion' in complex learning.

22. Explain Krashen's acquisition/learning hypothesis.

23. Explain Krashen's affective block hypothesis.

24. Explain Krashen's input hypothesis.

25. Explain Krashen's natural order hypothesis.

26. Explain Krashen's monitor hypothesis.

27. What are two things which might weaken the affective block for acquisition?

28. What are two things which might strengthen the affective block for acquisition?

29. Suggest a criticism which could be made of Krashen's model.

Quiz 4 27 July 2004

1. Comprehensible input may be necessary for language acquisition, but not sufficient. What other input quality may be needed for acquisition to take place ?

2. Gardiner's Socio-educational model (1985) said that motivation was influence by two kinds of social factors. What were those two kinds of social factors?

3. What outcome did Gardiner predict for language acquisition where there is a conflict between a) the local atitude to L2 learning (in the learner's environment) and b) the wider community attitude to L2 learning and use ?

4. Cook talks about a "multi-competence model" for L2 acquisition. What is his basic argument?

5. What level of L2 competence would it be realistic for most adult learners of English in Korea to aim for?

6. Give an example of how becoming fluent in English might influence a Korean' s use of his or her mother tongue.

7. SLA researchers have traditionally claimed the acquisition of native-like pronunciation in L2 is impossible for most speakers after puberty. Give an example of a current commercial situation which seems to contradict this claim.

8. Name four components of non-segmental phonology.

9. Explain the difference between syllable-timed languages and stress-timed languages.

10. Define 'stress' as it is used in phonology.

11. Describe the steps needed to set up a shadow talking program for yourself in order to master English intonation and rhythm.

12. Why is shadow talking superior to fragmented examples for mastering supra-segmental phonology?

13. Classroom teachers worldwide tend to teach segmental and non-segmental phonology badly. However, there are people who have taught these skills to individuals for centuries. Who are these 'hidden professionals'?

14. What is a practical problem with teaching minimal pair phoneme distinctions to students in the classroom ?

15. Why are tape recorders rather poor tools for teaching supra-segmental phonology in classrooms ?

16. Why is it mostly impractical to teach supra-segmental phonology in an analytic way in classrooms?

17. What are two productive ways to teach supra-segmental phonology?

18. Explain the idea of Voice Onset Time, and how it varies across languages.

19. Discuss the advantages of various kinds of classroom drama practice in developing L2 speaking skills.

20. What have been two extremes in vocabulary learning methods ?

21. What is a problem with simply learning lists of words in L2?

22. What is a word?

23. How is a lexicalized phrase different from a word on the one hand, yet also different from a constructed sentence on the other hand.

24. Explain what you understand about Eleanor Roche's Prototype Theory for words.

25. How does life experience (e.g. social class) affect L1 acquisition for infants after about three years of age?

26. Discuss how the early language learning experience of a typical child in old Chosun society might have differed from the early language learning experience of a South Korean child today.

27. What has the study of brain-damaged individuals taught us about how words are stored in the human brain?

28. When an L2 learner says that she 'knows' a word of English, how might her knowledge of that word differ from a native English speaker's knowledge of the same word?

29. Why do frequency lists of words become less and less useful guides as a learner acquires more of L2?

30. Describe a common problem with the choice of words to learn in standardized tests like TOEIC and TOEFL.

31. What is a frequent problem in translating closed sets of words (e.g. prepositions or colour words) between languages?


SLA Quiz 5, 3 August 2004

1. What are (at least) four different kinds of information that our brains must store about any word?

2. Concordances seem to be a good way to learn about the collocations of a word, but they might not be easy to use as a teaching tool. Why?

3. Why are there probably more lexicalized phrases in spoken language than in written language?

4. What is a processing advantage of using lexicalized phrases in speech?

5. Suggest a social advantage in having very predictable phrases for common tasks like greetings, compliments, insults, excuses, .. and so on.

6. What is a problem of just learning lists of words without a context?

7. Parry (1991) found an unexpected learning result with people who were good at guessing meanings from context. What was this result?

8. Explain why coming to really "know" a word is a slow process.

9. How do L1 speakers and L2 speakers usually differ in their knowledge of the same word?

10. How does the storage and recall of smells and tastes usually differ from the storage and recall of sights and sounds in humans?

11. What two kinds of input are found in the creation of all memories?

12. Give an example of how preconception or prejudice can lead to the creation of a false memory.

13. Explain how revision soon after learning can assist long term memory.

14. Why is it NOT a good idea to miss sleep and study all night before an exam?

15. What part does the hippocampus play in memory formation?

16. What are (at least) two factors which can upset memory recall?

17 What are three factors which can contribute to an effective memory?

18. What is an effect of rehearsing the memories of bad experiences?

19. Recall involves memory reconstruction. Why is the outcome always different from what caused the memory to be first made?

20. What kind of emotion can inhibit memory recall?

21. What is an effect of cortison on memory recall?

22. Draw a matrix of memory functions and memory modes to show where the weak or strong points of memory can occur.

23. Teachers can't do much about the inherited memory abilities of their students, but they can influence some other factors. Discuss how teachers CAN help the memory abilities and skills of students.

24. Explain how (at least) one chemical has an effect on memory.

25. What do we mean by 'memory mode dominance'?

26. Give an example of multi-sensory input to assist memory formation.

27. Discuss and give and example of the use of one mnemonic technique.

28. What part does short term memory play in understanding speech?

29. What is meant by the 'articulatory loop'?

30. Explain how dictation can have some effect on the development of L2 memory.

Material on this site has been prepared by Thor May for the PUFS TESOL Program 2003-2004