Individual Differences in Second Language Learning
Learners vary enormously in how successful they are in learning a language. This is true for both first language (L1) and second language (L2) acquisition, although there is an important difference. In the case of L1 acquisition, children vary in their rate of acquisition but all, except in cases of severe environmental deprivation, achieve full competence in their mother tongue ; in the case of L2 acquisition (SLA), learners vary not only in the speed of acquisition but also in their ultima te level of achievement , with a few achieving native-like competence and others stopping far short. Three different sets of factors explain these differences in achievement: social, cognitive, and affective. The cognitive and affective factors lie inside the learner.
Individual difference research has a considerable history in applied linguistics. In earlier periods, the primary concern was to provide a basis for selecting which learners should be chosen to receive forei gn language instruction. Therefore, the main purpose of individual difference research was to predict which learners would succeed.



Individual Difference Factors:
Abilities for Language L earning:
It refers to the innate cognitive abilities within the learner. There are three cognitive abilities hypothesized to be involved in L2 learning - intelligence , language aptitude قابلية - استعداد , and memory . These are clearly related. For example, all tests of language aptitude have included a measure of memory for words, normally in the form of a paired-associates test.
Carroll's early research into language aptitude identified four aspects of language aptitude:
P honemic coding ability (i.e., the ability to code foreign sounds in a way that they can be remembered later),
G rammatical sensitivity (i.e., the ability to recognize the grammatical functions of words in sentences),
I nductive استقرائي learning ability (i.e., the ability of the learner to know the relationships between form and meaning).
Example:
R ote استظهار من غير فهم learning ability (i.e., the ability to form and remember associations between stimuli)
Pr opensities for language learning
It means orientation for language learning. It includes: cognitive and affective qualities in the form of orientation or preparedness for language learning. It includes:
Learning style
Motivation
Personality
Anxiety
Willingness to communicate.
There are major differences between "abilities" and "propensities." Whereas the former are a matte r of innate endowment and relat ively fixed, the latter involve personal preference and consequently are more fluid مرن . Propensities are more flexible than abilities because they refer to individuals' preferred way of learning.
Learning Style:
Learning style has both a cognitive and an affective dimension . I t refers to an individual's preferred way of processing information and of dealing with other people. There are a large number of psychological models of learning style but the distinction that has attracted the greatest attention in SLA is that between field dependence and field independence.
A Field-dependent people see things "holistically" and thus have difficulty in identifying the parts that make up a whole. Those learners see things as a whole without looking at the details or the parts which constitute the whole. Those learners are sociable and they find communication with others pleasurable.
B Field-independent people, in contrast, see things more "analytically," by distinguishing the parts that make up a whole, but are less inclined to social interaction. The first is that field-dependent learners will do better in informal language learning because of their greater interpersonal skills. The second is that field-independent learners will be advantaged in more formal learning because of their enhanced analytic skills.
Teachers should match the instruction to meet the preferred learning style of learner.
Teachers should encourage learners to identify their own learning style.
Teachers can help students know the advantages of learning styles other than the ones they adopt.
2) Motivation :
It is very important in learning in general and it comes after la nguage ap titude. It is related to the learner's o rientation toward language. Orientation means the goals that the learners have about learning the second language. Motivation can be defined as the effect that the learner is prepared to make in order to learn the language and his persistence in learning.
T ypes of Orientation:
Integrative orientation →