Module Details

IA901-7-AU-CO: Second Language Acquisition: Perspectives For Teachers

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2016/17
Department: International Academy
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Ritta Husted
Teaching Staff: Dr Ritta Husted
Contact details:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Why do children acquire their first language effortlessly? Why do adults tend to find it so much more difficult to learn a language than children? Why do some learners seem to be more successful at learning a second language? What is the role of the teacher in the learning process? These are some of the questions this module will try to answer.

This module is specifically concerned with work within the framework of Universal Grammar and will provide students with an overview of related theoretical issues. It is in particular concerned with how first language acquisition processes can help explain second language learning development. The module will also introduce topics on learner differences and student motivation and relate these theories to classroom practices.

Module aims

- to investigate similarities between first and second language acquisition;
- to consider the relationship between the conscious and sub-conscious processes available to second language learners;
- to familiarise students with theories of first and second language acquisition
- to consider the relationship between linguistic theory and teaching practise;
- to consider the relationship between language acquisition and individual differences;
- to examine aspects of motivational theory;
- to introduce students to current linguistic research;
- to familiarise students with linguistic concepts and terminology.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module participants will be able to demonstrate:

- a good understanding of the theoretical evidence of language acquisition;
- an appreciation of the relationship between second language acquisition and teaching practice;
- an awareness of individual learner's differences and linguistic theory;
- an ability to link motivational aspects to the second language classroom;
- an ability to critically evaluate linguistic research;


Child first language acquisition theories
Second language acquisition theories
Individual differences in second language acquisition
Perspectives of The Good Language Learner
Second language learning strategies
Motivational theories

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module will be delivered by a weekly two hour seminar. Students furthermore have the opportunity to have individual tutorials throughout the term where they can ask for advice regarding their assignments, or raise any other issues.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


One individual 3,000 word essay - Titles given out in week 3 of the module. Assignment handed in during week 11 (100%). Feedback provided in week 14.


  • Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. London: Longman
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). London: Routledge Falmer.
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Dörnyei, Z., & Skehan, P. (2003). Individual differences in second language learning. In C. J.
  • Doughty & M. H. Long (Eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Griffiths, C. (Ed.). (2008). Lessons from good language learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mitchell, R., & Myles, F. (2004). Second language learning theories. London: Arnold.
  • Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.
  • Reid, J. M. (Ed.). (1998). Understanding learning styles in the second language classroom. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.
  • Robinson, P. (Ed.). (2002). Individual differences and instructed language learning. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Towell, R. and Hawkins, R. (1994): Approaches to second language acquisition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  • VanPatten, B. and Williams, J. (2006). Theories in second language acquisition: an introduction. London: Routledge (paperback edition).
  • White, L. (2003): Second Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Further information