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Key Individual Variables in Classroom SLA

age: the age of the learner is controversially linked to second language acquisition success, usually expressed as age of onset, i.e. the time when L2 learning started

analytic learners rely on grammatical sensitivity rather than memory

aptitude: the ability to learn the second lang­uage in an academic classroom

cognitive style is a person’s typical ways of thinking, seen as a continuum between field‑dependent (FD) and field-independent styles

even learners rely on both grammatical sensitivity and memory

extrovert and introvert: people’s personalities vary between those who relate to objects outside themselves (extroverts) and those who relate to the contents of their own minds (introverts)

field‑dependent (FD) cognitive style, in which relates to con­text

field-independent (FI) style, in which thinking is independent of context

instrumental motivation: learning the language for a career goal or other practical reason

integrative motivation: learning the language in order to take part in the culture of its people

Intelligence: this seems to go with success at school and with success at other school subjects

level of first language: how well you speak you first language is believed to go with how well you learn a second

memory-based learners rely on their memory rather than gram­matical sensitivity

motivation :‘the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in this activity’ (Gardner, 1985).

sex differences: when language teaching is voluntary, it is often seen as a ‘woman’s subject’

social class: motivation associated with class can affect second language learning