Christina Isabelli-García, PhD
PO Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702
Office: Buck 014
| reading material
Ellis, R. (1997), Second Language AcquisitionCOURSE DESCRIPTION
This course is an introduction to the field of second language acquisition (SLA) with an emphasis on speaking. It has been designed for advanced undergraduate Foreign Language and advanced Spanish majors and minors. The course format will include readings, discussions in Spanish, and student presentations. It will examine speaking in a second language from several perspectives: theory, evaluation/testing, pedagogy, and materials.COMPONENTS OF THE COURSE
At the beginning of the semester, the emphasis will be on reading and group discussion in Spanish. We will start with an overview of the major topics of the course to help you decide on an area for your research projects. After this introductory period, a typical week will include reading, discussion, written analyses of the readings, and ongoing work on the research project. Each of these components of the course is discussed in more detail below. A highlight of the course will be to present your research in English at the John Wesley Powell Conference on Saturday, April 8th 2006.
Readings. Readings will be from the two texts and from articles and book chapters on e-reserve. Try to focus your attention while reading on these two areas: 1) What are the main points in this section/chapter? What information am I learning here? And 2) by what method(s) is the author coming up with the information? In the case of the textbooks, the authors have chosen topics to address, and discuss these topics by raising questions, synthesizing research by other people to respond to the questions, and then summarizing what is known and what is still under investigation or a subject of debate in the SLA field. In the case of research reports, the researchers usually follow a standard format of introducing a problem, surveying what is already known about it, explaining how they set up their study, and then reporting and interpreting results. You will use this same format in your research paper, so be aware from the beginning of how the writers make their research reports convincing.
Class Participation. Active participation in class discussions is an essential learning component of this class. Careful reading and synthesis of the assigned materials is reflected in your contributions. I will be looking for quality and quantity of participation (i.e., talking about the reading, asking questions, responding to presentations of others).
Research Project. The purpose of the research project is to give you a hands-on introduction to SLA research. This is not the kind of paper that you can knock off in a couple of weeks of intense efforts at the end of the semester; you will need to invest consistent time and effort in it over the course of the whole semester. To facilitate this process, I will have you turn in drafts on a fairly regular basis. With each draft, I will expect to see greater quantity and increased focus. Your project will have several parts: statement of the research problem, discussion and analysis of previous literature on the topic, data collection, and data analysis and discussion. SLA research takes time, particularly if you decide to do a longitudinal study (examinations of performance on the same subjects at different points in time), or if you have data that are time-consuming to transcribe.
I will help each of you find a research project that fits your interests and knowledge level, and will coach you closely throughout the semester. Here is a list of the types of projects that you might undertake (note that key phrases are underlined):
GRADING SYSTEMA replication study, in which you re-do a published study, but add touches of your own, like working with a different language, different level of learners, or incorporate an additional test.
The final grade will be based on student performance in the following:
I will make myself available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Before course accommodations will be made, students may be required to provide documentation to the Associate Provost, 211 Holmes Hall, 556-3107.
Liskin-Gasparro's course at
the University of Iowa