The acquisition of second language (L2) is a detailed and a time-consuming process. It is illustrated in the differences between spontaneous and studied capabilities, where the former describes the ability to acquire language naturally and subconsciously and the latter one allows students to organize their thoughts and apply conscious efforts of attention all while engaging in work, which cannot be performed automatically (Palmer, 1921:48). Lennenberg (1967: 176), in the argument, which referred to L2 learning, suggested that after puberty, the learning of L2 requires a labored effort and that foreign accents cannot be overcome easily, due to the inability to continue to spontaneously acquire foreign languages. This is known as the Critical Period Hypothesis, which states that if a child’s second language acquisition starts in the period between the ages of two and twelve it is possible to fully master the learning process with a positive outcome, while learners who embark on a learning process after this period will face obstacles and incompletion of the process of language learning (Abello-Contesse, 2006:13).
Thus, the research focuses on young learners and their natural ability for a faster and efficient language acquisition. The primary concern of this research is the vocabulary acquisition of young, pre-adolescent, learners using TPR (Total Physical Response), in an online teaching setting. The research investigates whether pre-adolescent learners acquire vocabulary more naturally and effectively using TPR (thirty students as a part of the experimental group) than the learners who acquire vocabulary through a more traditional, Form-Meaning-Use (FMU), type of acquisition (thirty students as a part of the control group) in an online teaching setting.
Moreover, the author explores the students’ ability to acquire a larger set of twelve vocabulary items within one 25-minute class and whether TPR is indeed effective in this process. If so, the researcher will potentially conduct a follow up research on this topic to see how strongly these vocabulary items could be retained in the students’ memory. This paper investigates the efficiency of TPR on students with kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learning preferences. The entire research is conducted in an online teaching setting.
Keywords: Language Acquisition, ESL, Pedagogy, Education, Total Physical Response (TPR), Form-Meaning-Use, Online Teaching