SLA-Speak Series: Affective Filter


SLA-Speak Series: Affective Filter

Continuing our series on “SLA-Speak”, we’ll now look at the “Affective Filter”.

Note: This is the fourth post in the series.

  • The first post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Second Language Acquisition Theory
  • The second post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Acquisition vs. Learning
  • The third post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Fluency vs. Accuracy”

What is the “Affective filter”?

The Affective Filter is a concept in language learning. It is like a mental gate that can either open or close while you’re learning a language. In other words, it refers to a mental barrier that can either be high or low, depending on the learner’s emotions and mindset during language learning.

When the filter is high:

  • Learners may feel nervous, anxious, or self-conscious about speaking or making mistakes.

  • This mental barrier blocks new language information from being effectively absorbed and understood.

  • Language learning becomes more challenging and less effective.

In short, when the Affective Filters is high, it acts as a barrier that blocks new language information from entering your mind effectively. As a result, it becomes more challenging to understand and remember what you’re learning.

On the other hand, when the filter is low:

  • Learners feel relaxed, confident, and motivated to learn.

  • This mental barrier is lowered, allowing language input to flow into the mind more easily.

  • Language learning becomes easier, more enjoyable, and more effective.

In other words, when he Affective Filter is low, it’s like the gate is open wide, and language input can flow into your mind more easily. In this state, you feel relaxed, confident, and motivated to learn. You are more receptive to new language input, which makes learning easier and more enjoyable.

Also, when the Affective Filter is low, language learners are more open to taking risks and using the language without fear of making mistakes. They can acquire the new language more naturally and fluently.

To summarize, the Affective Filter is a concept that explains how your emotions and mindset can impact your language learning experience. It is influenced by your emotions, attitudes, and motivation. Negative emotions like fear, stress, or embarrassment can raise the filter and hinder language learning. However, positive emotions, encouragement, and a supportive learning environment can lower the filter and enhance the learner’s ability to acquire and use the new language effectively.

You can read more about it here: What is the Affective Filter, and Why is it Important in the Classroom?

Note: We’ll look at more terms in coming blog posts including:

  • Comprehensible Input

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.

Mach’s gut!

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