I really love this week reading material!
We discuss about affective and personality differences whether it will affect second language (L2 learning). I’m always interested in psychology, so when the topic is about character, I couldn’t be more excited!
In this post, the topic that I discuss is from classroom discussion and from Ortega’s book: Understanding Second Language Acquisition (chapter 9), which actually you could download for free at b-ok.xyz. But I would not discuss everything, I will only focus on the extrovert and introvert personality. *I adore that website, anyway, since they always provide a range of materials that I could download for my assignments.
Ortega (2009) describes people with the extraversion trait is energised by social activities, while individual activities stimulate individuals with introversion trait. So, it doesn’t mean that extroverts people are those who are always the loudest while introverts are the calmest. They have a different way to ‘charge’ themselves. But yes there is sometimes an introvert person could be quiet. I could tell because I’m an introverted-extrovert person.
Hence, students will act differently in classrooms because they have a different personality. Students with introversion personality might not be as active as the extroversion ones in the classroom for instance, but it is not because they are not as smart as the extroverts. Introvert people have a different strategy in learning L2.
What kind of strategy then?
Extrovert students might love performance-based activities such as discussion, speech, drama, reading a poem, etc. Whereas the introverts might hate those kinds of actions because they feel insecure to talk to in front of the public. They are good at individual-task activities and able to really focus on it. I don’t know how extroverts do individual tasks. But I have a friend who loves to have a discussion, and she said she could learn more with discussion than studying alone. Thus, teachers should provide various activities that can fit every student.
All of a sudden, I feel guilty because when I was a lecture assistant back then, I tend to judge quiet students not as intelligent as students who always responds to my questions or active in the discussion.
Anyway, regarding fluency, according to Dewaele & Furnham (1999, cited in Ortega, 2009), extroverts tend to speak fast since they are a risk taker, while introverts tend to speak carefully because they have to think first before speaking. Even in a stressful situation, extroverts able to cope up with the case since they have high confidence and less anxiety, while introverts reported that they have a higher level of stress (Ortega, 2009). Definitely, again, extroverts and introverts have a different strategy in speaking L2. Extroverts are monitor underuse, while introverts are monitor overuser. Monitor underuse means someone does not really watch what he or she is going to say. This individual will just speak what they want to talk. But individuals who monitor overuse will think carefully about what he or she is going to say. For instance, as an introvert, I will consider whether I use the correct grammar, pronunciation, and proper lexical items. Well, it does not mean that extroverts will not monitor what they are saying per se, but according to this book, it is not as much as introverts.
In that case, extroverts have an advantage in fluency, but introverts have an advantage in explicit language and lexical richness (Ortega, 2009).
How about you? Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or even both?
I define myself as introverted-extrovert. Some articles named it ‘ambivert’, but I like to call myself an ‘introverted-extrovert’ because my introvert side is dominant than the other one most of the time. But most of the people don’t believe I’m an introvert.
I also tried Myer-Briggs online quiz. Myer-Briggs is a mother and daughter who invented 16 types of personalities. You could try by click this link. I was categorized as INFJ [Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judgment (J)], but when I tried the test again in a couple of months, it turned out I’m ENFJ [Extroversion (E), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judgment (J). See?
Well, Carl Jung, who invented the concept of extraversion and introversion, said that we are not wholly an introvert or an extrovert, yet we might fit into one personality trait more than the other. I could not agree more with him because that explains what happened to me.
How’s my personality affect my L2 learning?
When I was in the bachelor degree, I still remember that I was pretty active in the classroom discussions. At that time, I feel my extrovert personality appear more than the introvert one. Also, I think it is because I feel comfortable and I definitely was in my comfort zone. Meanwhile, when I had a speaking test as a part of the IELTS test, I had severe anxiety which my speaking test just fell apart. That was not my comfort zone at all. I have to talk to someone who I do not know and explain a particular topic that was given to me. Like, ‘who are you, why I do have even to talk to you’ kind of thing.
Well, that could be because of my introvert side involved more than the extrovert one, or because I have what so-called ‘foreign language anxiety’.
Thus, besides teachers, I think students need to know what kind of personality they are in so that they can understand themselves better. I wish I knew this whole thing a couple of years ago so I can cope up with my anxiety. As in introvert, sometimes I feel reluctant to talk to people, but I realise that in learning L2, I have to perform the language. I have to speak, practice, and push out my output. As an extrovert too, sometimes I can be very active in class, but I feel like I talk nonsense because I just burst it out without thinking. It does not matter whether you are an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert, you should find strategies on how learning L2 that suit you. Each of you has your own strength and weakness. And for every kind of personalities, I also want to emphasise that making mistakes in L2 is fine because you could always learn something from it.
So, what do you reckon? 🙂