An integrative and interdisciplinary syllabus for second language acquisition sla
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An integrative (and interdisciplinary) syllabus for Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Joint Fellows Symposium 2013 Dominik Wolff (IIT Fellow) Second Language Studies Program. What is SLA?.

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An integrative (and interdisciplinary) syllabus for Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

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An integrative and interdisciplinary syllabus for second language acquisition sla

An integrative (and interdisciplinary) syllabus for Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

Joint Fellows Symposium 2013

Dominik Wolff (IIT Fellow)

Second Language Studies Program


What is sla

What is SLA?

  • Second language acquisition (SLA) is the study of how second languages are learned and the factors that influence the process.

  • Different approaches: e.g. cognitive, socio-cultural

  • SLA is not inherently interdisciplinary although that is sometimes the claim (taking professors from different department does not make it interdisciplinary)


The class

The class

  • Undergraduate students; mostly Education majors (some language or TESOL minors); mostly juniors/seniors

  • Future teachers: content or languages (K-12), some teachers want to teach English abroad


Syllabus before and after

Syllabus: before and after

Motivation for upgrading the syllabus:

  • Lack of value for the students (future teachers)

  • Although the topic is fundamentally ‘learning’, it makes SLA look abstract/unique/unrelatable

    Goal:

  • Integrate knowledge from disciplines and also from other sources, e.g. the students’ life experiences

  • Connect this knowledge with their future careers


How do we get there

How do we get there?

  • Backwards design (Wiggins and McTighe, 2006)

  • Usually used for curricular units and not entire classes or programs (but it works for me)


Syllabus old

Syllabus (OLD)

Materials: mostly SLA readings (articles)

Articles: mostly from a cognitive perspective on SLA (most TAs’ and professors’ preferred area of research)

Assignments: article presentations, quizzes, exams, (reflective) papers


Syllabus new

Syllabus (NEW)


Syllabus additions changes

Syllabus: Additions/Changes

Assignments:

  • Linguistic autobiography

  • Comparative case study / L2 learner biographies


Syllabus additions changes1

Syllabus: Additions/Changes

Materials:

  • More variety

  • Articles yes, but not only of the academic kind

  • Multiple disciplines represented: e.g. psychology, educational psychology, teacher education

  • Selected readings from:

    • Atkinson, D. (Ed.). (2011). Alternative approaches to second language acquisition. London: Routledge.

    • Gibbs, R. (1994). The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

    • Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers. New York: Little, Brown & Company.

    • Kramsch, C. (Ed.). (2002). Language acquisition and language socialization: Ecological perspectives. London: Continuum.

    • Pinker, S. (2007). The Language Instinct: How The Mind Creates Language. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.


An integrative and interdisciplinary syllabus for second language acquisition sla

Previous Syllabus [Schedule]


A work in progress what s next

A work in progress – what’s next?

  • Get feedback from my current group of students about both versions of the syllabus

  • Try it out and refine it

  • Could be adapted for variety of contexts and classes (e.g. grad level; undergrad intro to linguistics)


Special thanks

Special Thanks

Ann Chrapkiewicz

LamiFofana-Kamara

Michael Macaluso

Samantha Noll

Emily Riley

BaburhanUzum

Colleen Tremonte

Constance Hunt

Linda Racioppi

Louise Jezierski

Paula Winke


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