Language Learning

Birkbeck, University of London (Fall 2015, Spring 2016)

Waseda University (2012-2013)
McGill Univresity (2010)

Course Objective

  This course provides an introduction to theory and research with a main focus on second and additional language acquisition. In order to help students understand the processes, developmental patterns and factors contributing to second language acquisition, the module first begins by exploring how individuals and groups learn a first language. Subsequently, we will review a range of topics including theories of language learning, both first and second; individual differences in second language learning (age, aptitude, motivation, etc.); interlanguage development; and the effects of instruction on second language learning. In the latter part of the course students will apply their knowledge of theoretical perspectives and research to evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches to second language teaching and learning as well as understand the state-of-the-art in various areas of second language acquisition research.

After this course, successful students will be able to:
  • explain what is currently known about language acquisition from research, how we have come to know it, and what still needs to be investigated
  • accurately evaluate popular ideas about language acquisition
  • develop informed expectations for language learning and teaching
  • answer their own questions about SLA, frame new questions in the light of current research, and move toward research projects of their own
Course Materials

Syllabus [Download]

Term 1
Class 1: Intro to Language Learning [Download]
Class 2: How do babies acquire L1? [Download]
Class 3: Explaining first language acquisition (theories) [Download]
Class 4: Theories in SLA (Behaviourism, SAT) [Download]
Class 5: Theories in SLA (Innatism, Input Model, Interactionist) [Download]
Class 6: Age in SLA [Download]
Class 7: Individual Differences (Language aptitude) [Coming soon!]
Class 8: Individual Differences (Motivation & Others) [Coming soon!
Class 9; Naturalistic L2 Learning [Coming soon!]

Term 2
Class 1: Second Language Learning in Classroom Settings [Coming soon!]
Class 2: Second Language Vocabulary Learning (comprehension) [Coming soon!]
Class 3: Second Language Vocabulary Learning (production) [Coming soon!]
Class 4: Second Language Speech Learning (comprehensibility, accentedness) [Coming soon!]
Class 5: Second Language Speech Learning (latest research) [Coming soon!]
Class 6: How to improve Second Language: Get it right from the beginning [Coming soon!]
Class 7: How to improve Second Language: Just listen & let’s talk [Coming soon!]
Class 8: How to improve Second Language: Get two for one [Coming soon!]
Class 9: How to improve Second Language: Get it right in the end [Coming soon!]
Class 10: Conclusion [Coming soon!]