Tag Archives: theory

Lingoconomics – an Emerging Theory in Language Acquisition

This article explains an emerging theory in language acquisition. It is called Lingoconomics. Find out how this theory explains the rise in English language acquisition phenomenon in Asian countries.

Have you asked yourselves why many Filipinos would like to become proficient in English in order to work abroad? And why would many Koreans and Chinese study English in the Philippines? What are their reasons?

Lingoconomics is an emerging theory that attempts to describe and explain the recent phenomenon in language learning in Asian countries, particularly in the Philippines, Korea, and China.

I conceptualized this theory in November 2007, when my professor in the Psychology of Learning required us to come up with a personal theory. Since this is a major requirement in our doctorate program, my classmates and I talked about why people learn and study English.

I argued that nowadays, people want to learn English because they want to work or do business abroad. So, it has something to do with the economy – a kind of motivation to learn. I would admit that I was fascinated by the surge of Koreans and Chinese who would like to study English in the Philippines.

As I immersed with them, I found that their main reason is the relatively cheap but quality education we offer in the Philippines. Based on this observation, I used money as a determining factor in learning English. Thus, the word “lingoconomics” came into being. I coined the word from “language” and “economics.”

Lingoconomics was patterned from Lewin’s field theory. I incorporated the theories in language acquisition particularly the theories of acculturation (the process of becoming adapted to a new culture) and accommodation (the process on how intergroup uses of language reflect basic social and psychological attitudes in interethnic communication). But I would like to clarify that the “culture” being used in both theories refers to the culture of the native speakers of English. In my personal theory, the culture of the proficient non-native speakers of English like us, Filipinos, is used.

The Lingoconomics theory goes like this,

BELL = HM + SSG + A + SE/LCQE

In order to learn basic English (Basic English Language Learning or BELL), one must have a high motivation (HM) to learn plus have a strong support group (SSG) plus the adaptability (A) of acquiring the culture of the proficient non-native speakers of English (CPnNS) plus self efficacy (SE) divided by the low-cost quality education (LCQE).

I believe that the Koreans and the Chinese can learn English in their own country or even in America, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

But why do they prefer to study in the Philippines?

It’s because MONEY, or the low cost of learning English, plays a major role in learning. This is the reason why I included LCQE in my theory because for me, low cost quality education could be a variable in learning English.

Students only need a language environment where they can practice their English. Once they learned the language, they will go to other countries like the Middle East in order to work or do business there. The money that they invest for their education and the money they earn from work or business is their motivation in acquiring the language, hence the emergence of the “Alvior’s Lingoconomics Theory.

© 2014 May 24 M. G. Alvior

How is Human Psychology Related to Environmental Sustainability?

Is there a relationship between human thought processes and environmental sustainability? This article illustrates how people’s beliefs can help preserve the environment.

Taking off from the definition of psychology, there is a connection between psychology and environmental sustainability. The Free Dictionary defines psychology as the study of the thought processes and behavior of humans in their interaction with the environment. The way humans think or regard the environment, influences his behavior towards it and vice-versa.

How can human thought processes lead to environmental sustainability? Let me explain the connection by narrating a short story. This is about a supernatural occurrence that shaped a community’s behavior towards an island. This prevailing belief among the fisher folks helped preserve a coral reef for many years.

The Enchanted Island of Marangas

Several years ago, a fisherman docked on the rugged terrain of Marangas Island to take a brief rest from a busy morning doing his usual fishing routine. After pitching the small anchor into the shallow waters, he waded towards the shore while pulling his small boat along with him. He tied one end of the rope at the bow to a sturdy rock offshore to keep the boat from swaying wildly in the wavy, afternoon waters.

He looked for a place to rest in the narrow island. Despite the island’s rocky nature, he found a sandy spot under a tree. He took his late lunch and prepared to take a nap.

The fisherman was on the verge of sleep when, out of the corner of his eye, he figured something moving among the rocks. Something long and alive wriggles towards his direction. This was followed by another one, then another. Then he realized, it was a den of snakes! And the snakes are making their way towards him. All his life, he never saw such a multitude of snakes. island

The poor fisherman frantically snatched his belongings and ran towards the boat. He rowed with all his might without looking back. He was so frightened that he forgot to lift up his anchor until it dragged and get snagged in a massive growth of coral reef. After cutting the rope quickly, he rowed so hard that his boat seemed like a speedboat racing towards the mainland.

The story spread like wildfire in the small fishing village taking twists and turns that made the story even more dramatic. A farmer further fanned the flames of intrigue and awe when he recounted that once, he left a herd of goats in the island and lost them all without a trace.

The people thought the island is occupied by evil spirits. From that time on, the fishers avoid the island and regard it with fear in the belief that the island is enchanted.

A Healthy Coral Reef Environment

What has this enchanted island story have to do with environmental sustainability? Here’s the explanation.

Since fishers dare not approach the island to do their usual fishing activities, the coral reef surrounding that island remained untouched for many years. As result, a healthy coral reef environment thrived. The area was preserved from the rampant illegal fishing activities that plagued many islands dotting the bay.

I witnessed such amazing underwater environment when I prodded a reluctant fisher guide to bring my team of SCUBA divers to the island so we can have a glimpse of the corals underneath. At right is a picture of one section of the reef showing a large tabulate coral with sergeant majors swimming above fragile branching corals. The whole reef was virtually intact despite its closeness to the mainland. coralreef

The Environmental Perspective

The environment is defined as the tangible and intangible things around us. Tangible things are those that we normally perceive with our five senses. Intangible things include people’s norms, values, and beliefs that exist and influence people’s behavior.

Based on this definition, the belief that supernatural beings exist in the enchanted island dictated how the fisher folks regard the island. They avoided the island thinking that they might displease the evil spirits. This kept the island’s surrounding coral reef intact. Hence, environmental sustainability is assured as the healthy coral reefs provide a viable, productive habitat for marine life dependent on it for sustenance.

This story is similar to the Balete tree story. Respecting people’s beliefs by keeping it that way despite its ridiculous, irrational or illogical nature can have some positive benefits. Superstitious beliefs help preserve the environment.

© 2013 August 30 P. A. Regoniel

Five Effective Reading Tips for Graduate Students

Graduate students need to do a lot of reading to familiarize themselves with theories and ideas along their field of specialization. This activity will help them develop their critical thinking skills to effectively engage in research work. If you are one of those tasked to do so, here are five effective reading tips that will help you reduce stress associated with the need to read an endless queue of reading assignments.

Once you commit yourself to graduate school work, you will face more academic responsibilities than you were in your undergraduate years. One of those responsibilities is to read more than you used to do. This is with the end in view of enriching your knowledge on theories or ideas that will help you build the conceptual framework of your thesis or research later on.

But how much reading should you really make? Does reading all those stuff really matter? Are there ways on how to read more effectively?

Of course, your reading assignment is not the kind of reading that you make for pure pleasure, but to get something out of it. And many of the assigned readings are not just a few pages of nonsense but thick pages of something to ponder upon. Usually, graduate students have to digest three to five books a semester. This is a challenge for those who are not used to reading books with thick pages such as novels.

It is to your best interest and advantage if you follow a set of reading guidelines before doing any reading. This is not only to help you finish the required readings on time and actively participate in class discussion on the topic, but also to help you get the most of your reading without necessarily giving you a nervous breakdown.

Here are five tips on how to make the most of your reading:

1. Find out why that reading material was assigned

Figure out first what you intend to get out of that article, handout, journal or book before embarking on that long journey across words devoid of refreshing graphics. Unless you fully understand  why that reading was given, it will be difficult to comprehend it.

Ask yourself the two most important questions: “What am I looking for in this reading material?” and “Where can I find it?” These questions will help you avoid wandering on not-so-important sections of your reading material.

2. If you are reading a book, browse the table of contents to give you an overview of the book

This is common sense but many students fail to do this, i.e., making full use of the table of contents (TOC). If you really are hard pressed due to the limited time given to read a thick book, skimming through the TOC will be an effective strategy. Just read those items that you are not thoroughly familiar with or those that are relevant to the questions posed in #1.

This works better than any speed reading technique ever devised. Why in the first place will you read something that you don’t need to? Just focus on those that align with your interest and get on with life.

reading

Image Source

3. Write short notes on a record book as you go along reading

If you cannot make marginal notes right there on the reading material, you may just write notes and questions on a record book as you go along. Write the main topic on top and all your notes below. Notes remind you of the critical points you need to consciously store in your brain.

Why use a record book and not a notebook or a plain sheet of paper? This apparently unimportant suggestion is very important for the very reason that the record book allows filing and labeling for easy retrieval. You will, therefore, avoid that common mistake of losing your notes.

How should your notes be written? Make it as short as possible, noting only the important keywords. You need not rewrite the sentence, just make bullet marks for every important phrase and draw a star on those very important points made.

4. Read the summary if present

Reading the summary of a section, if present, can save you a lot of time. The summary serves to “warm up” your brain and gives you an idea of what to expect upon reading the composition. Thus, it will be easy to digest the contents.

5. Read only the lead sentence using the TSPU principle

Last but definitely not the least, use the TSPU principle in your reading venture. TSPU stands for Topic Sentence Paragraph Unity. Almost always, for a well-written composition, the topic sentence or lead sentence serves as the summary of the paragraph. A good book adheres to this principle.

If the lead sentence appears vague, you may read the supporting sentences after it. The main purpose of sentences after the lead sentence is to enable the reader to understand what it means by expounding more on it. If the first sentence is quite clear to you, then there’s no need for you to read the rest of the paragraph.

At this point, you will have a better idea on how to go about your reading assignments in the graduate school. Happy reading!

© 2013 August 5 P. A. Regoniel