A new study has just been published identifying the ability to distinguish patterns as a key to learning a second language:
Some research suggests that learning a second language draws on capacities that are language-specific, while other research suggests that it reflects a more general capacity for learning patterns. According to psychological scientist and lead researcher Ram Frost of Hebrew University, the data from the new study clearly point to the latter.
In my books and articles, I’ve written a lot about how we use inductive learning — which is specifically designed to help learners identify patterns, in our ESL classes.
There’s plenty of research out there supporting that instructional strategy, but it’s always nice to get more.
Here are two articles where I describe the use of pattern-seeking in teaching English Language Learners: