ESL 101: Bandura,Krashen, Vygotsky and Motivation- the basics

Classical theoretical approaches of second language learning agree that motivation lays at the foundation of the learning process. This is quite evident with the theories of Bandura, Vygotsky, and Krashen. These theorists argue that a variety of teaching approaches, and not just one, should be put together to achieve effective instruction. In all, the four tenets that stand out the most are: a) tasks should be developmentally appropriate, b) the learning traits of students should be individually addressed or recognized, c) the student should be at the center and focal point of the instruction and, d) the classroom should foster safety, support and security in order for learning to take place. All of these assumptions are some of the building blocks of motivation: the driving force that elicits a change in behavior.

The behaviors that L2 teachers wish to accomplish are code switching, language acquisition, and comprehension of the target language. Hence, only through relevance and considering the particular student traits will teachers ever be able to instill in their students the motivation that they need.

Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory (1977)

In his Social Learning theory, Bandura (1977) argues that there are four phases of language acquisition. The first is attention, which is to focus on something through observation. The second phase is retention, which is keeping data in the short term memory. With enough repetition and exposure, this data will be committed to long term memory. Reproduction, the third state, is the application of the information acquired through repetition, or free speech. Yet, the final step in Bandura’s process is motivation: the required amount of energy that the learner will voluntarily invest to bring himself into the learning process (Bandura, 1977 p. 43). The implication is that without the proper activities and without the relevance and context of an activity language acquisition opportunities will be missed and the new information will be forgotten.

Lev Vytogsky’s Zone of Proximal Development hypothesis (1978)

Similarly, Vygotsky solidified the view of learning as a process of scaffolding, or building upon prior knowledge. This also entails motivation. It means that scaffolding needs to secure biological reactions so that individuals can organize their thought processes correctly. Only by having appropriate factors in place will learning occur (Vygotsky, 1978 p. 64). While Bandura says motivation is needed as a phase for learning, Vygotsky supports the same assumption, adding the need for developmentally appropriate activities and learning environments in which individuals would help each other reach higher goals. This is done through cooperative learning, and having peers who know more, the More Knowledgeable Others “MKO”, pushing each other to move to the next, higher skill. Vygotsky’s Zones of Proximal Development (ZPDs) and his hypothesis of Scaffolding are behind this type of motivational learning.(Vygotsky, 1978) Concisely, the motivation that Vygotsky advocates for includes both cognitive and behavioral elements that are equally important for learning. The implications of Vygotsky’s theories in education tell that the learning process is an active, and not a passive one. Therefore, the teachers must touch on every sense to inspire the student to push harder to the next zone of development. In L2, this is done through activities that compel students to communicate verbally and in written forms, through art, through music, and through literature.


Stephen Krashen’s Natural and Monitor Language Hypotheses (1987)

Arguably Krashen’s theory of language acquisition also shows elements of Social Learning. According to Krashen, his theory proposes that there is a “natural language” that we all possess within but that needs to come out through input. It is input and output what elicits the communication process to occur. The agent that makes it take place, is also motivation, whether negative or positive. This is when his “affective filter” hypothesis comes into play: in theory, whenever our emotions are high, our affective filter “fills up” and we can no longer acquire new information due to blockage. The opposite would be to provide an environment of safety and acceptance, which lowers such affective filter, making the student more open to learn. Motivation would play a role in the process of decluttering the affective filter: with activities that are exciting, relevant, and in context with what the student already knows, L2 would become a more attainable process.


The most accepted and universally embraced theories of learning, particularly those of Bandura, Vygotsky, and Krashen, all point out in one way or another that motivation is the underlying factor that enables the learning process, and allows for information to end up committed to long term memory. Motivation is achieved through relevant academic activities, through challenging and engaging tasks, and through the provision of a safe and tolerant environment where all students feel as part of one big learning family.

Bandura, A. (1978). Reflections on self-efficacy. In S. Rachman (Ed.), Advances in
behavior research and therapy (Vol. 1., pp. 237-269). Oxford: Pergamon.

Krashen, Stephen D. 1987. Principles and practices in second language acquisition. New
York: Prentice-Hall.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Motivation and Learning theories for SLA through Chomsky, Bandura, Vygotsky, Krashen, and Gardner

Originally posted on :


   This analysis aims to analyze, compare, and contrast the classical theoretical perspectives of intelligence, learning, and motivation proposed by Chomsky, Bandura, Vygotsky, and the modern theories of Krashen and Gardner under the scope of second language acquisition (SLA).


Noam Chomsky



Chomsky’s theory has influenced the theoretical perspective of the philosophers that will be analyzed for the Breadth component.  It will be shown that, for example, Chomsky influenced Bandura’s Social Learning theory, in the role that they both assign to language as a process acquired through interaction and the use of certain cognitive skills (Bandura, 1977). Similarly, Chomsky’s Universal Grammar (UG) is seen in Vygotsky’s theory of Constructivism, as the product of scaffolding, that is, building new information upon prior knowledge (Chomsky, 1955; Vygotsky, 1978). Krashen (1987) will show in his “Natural language acquisition approach” a rejection to formal methodologies for vocabulary-teaching that coincides with…

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Spanish 101- How not to confuse “hermanos”

An adult student told me that he just couldn’t tell the A/O difference in spoken Spanish. So, I designed this kiddie template to teach him in a very simple way. Can you tell the difference after trying it? <<<Scroll down for answer



1. hermanito (little brother)   2. mamá (mom) 3. hermanas (sisters) 4. hermanos (brothers)   5. papá  6. hermana (sister)  7. hermano (brother)  8. hermanita (little sister)

See if you can match them  now: 


Not too bad after you get the hang of the O= male and A=female. ITA-LITTLE FEMALE….ITO-LITTLE MALE

Now try and make sentences telling how many of each you have…and the names of your parents (se lllama).


Not too bad at all! 




3 easy steps to teach L2, foreign language

This sample comes from a K-2 class, but can be exactly as effective for an older audience. Just follow the three steps and their schema (prior knowledge) will build faster.

STEP 1- Introduce 6 basic statements in the target language using pantomime, song, rhyme, or a game.  ALWAYS show the written version on the board. NOTE THAT THE SYMBOLS (tildes, question marks) are added separately to call student attention.

Teach at first with songs

Teach at first with songs


Model the answers and add illustrations. Ugly or pretty, read out the answers.

model answer


STEP 3: Transfer the lesson onto paper/pen/computer


Repeat the reading aloud. Tape it if needed and re-play. Do 3-6 basic questions statements at a time until they are mastered.

Enotes for teachers and students

Most asked college homework questions

Who was Heinz Hartmann, and what were his contributions to the field of psychology?

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Heinz Hartman is a Viennese psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from the Freudian school. He was born in 1894, and, as a Freudian, he based all or most of his theses on the foundations proposed by Sigmund Freud in terms of analysis of the inner psyche of all individuals.

Coming from a well-to-do family of aesthetics and scholars, Hartman had no problem finding the perfect pairings when it came to conducting his psychoanalysis studies. He was a student of Sandor Rado as well as an intern of Sigmund Freud himself.

The most significant influence that Heinz Hartman has bestowed upon the psychoanalytical field are his studies on what he later would become known as the father of: Ego Psychology.  The psychology of the ego, became a school of psychoanalysis based on the model of the Ego-Id-Superego proposed by Freud.

At the time Hartman proposed his theory, the accepted notion in psychoanalysis was that the work was that a strong ego can supersede any issues going on with the id, super-ego, etc. In other words, that the job of the therapist was so make egos strong. They assumed that the stronger the ego is, the least possible it is to become afflicted with mental conditions.

The big difference that Harman brought to the field was that the ego has separate functions that may or may not be affected by mental conditions; that sometimes mental conditions occur independently from the ego whether it is a strong one or not; what the therapist is supposed to do is to teach the patient how to enter conflict-free zones. In other words, the therapist should teach the client to problem solve and avoid conflicting situations as the best way to protect the ego.
The importance of this proposal by Hartman is the implication that personality traits, self-esteem (the ego), our inner drive (id) and our environment are consistently interacting and affecting each other. A strong ego has lots of benefits, but the best way to avoid trauma is by understanding consequences and avoiding unnecessary conflict. Adaptation, in other words, is the best cure.

Can you explain “acting out” in Freudian psychoanalytic terms? What would cause a patient to act out?