EDEM631 Foundations of Language Acquisition and Learning 

17 Jul 2017 - 19 Nov 2017
EDEM631-17S2(D) (distance) or EDEM631-17S2(C) (on campus)

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The course is designed to critically engage experienced educators with the current national and international research and literature in language acquisition and second language learning. This will enable them to respond appropriately to the language, learning and achievement needs of the diverse students in a range of educational contexts, particularly students for whom the language of instruction is an additional language. The course will extend educators’ understanding of the importance of a linguistically supportive learning context for learners, and how education personnel can work effectively within these contexts.

In the contemporary educational setting, effective and responsive educators must continually strive to enhance their ability to serve the diverse learning and achievement needs and aspirations of the students in their classroom. The course will support educators in extending their understanding of the importance of language policy at the national and local level and support them in developing the skills needed to work effectively with such policies.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this course will be able to:
1. articulate current theoretical underpinnings and relevant research in first/second language acquisition and the resulting methods and programme recommendations for teaching and learning languages;
2. describe the sociocultural foundations of language, and analyse the inter-relationship of language, culture and identity;
3. explain systems of languages;
4. identify the varied language needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students in mainstream classes;
5. critically analyse and critique current national and international issues, policies, and initiatives, including potential effects on practice, related to learning and teaching languages, including bicultural/bilingual education; language immersion programmes; indigenous language revitalization initiatives; heritage language maintenance; ESOL/TESOL, and multilingualism.

The course content will include lectures, seminar presentations, workshops, and on-line learning.  Course content will draw on the experience, background and expertise of the students as education professionals as appropriate. The course will make use of Learn to support and enhance student learning, and ensure on-going engagement with learning between sessions. The course content will include:

  • historical perspectives and contemporary theories and research in first and second language acquisition and learning, and the inter-relationship between the two processes;
  • linguistic, psychological and social processes that underlie language(s) learning and use; 
  • the interrelationship of language, culture and identity and different language learning;
  • cultural and linguistic diversity in Aotearoa/New Zealand as well as the wider global educational context;
  • description, assessment, and analysis of language acquisition and development; 
  • examination of current national and international social and policy issues and initiatives in learning and teaching languages, (e.g. including ESOL/TESOL, bilingual programs/bilingualism, 1st language/heritage language maintenance, indigenous language revitalization);
  • the role of policy in educational decision making, international, national and school policy e.g. why bilingual education? refugee and migrant programmes, community aspirations for their children, Ngai Tahu education aspirations, Treaty relations.

Required Textbooks

Ortega, Lourdes; Understanding second language acquisition.

Additional reading will be supplied by the lecturer via Learn.

Additional Course Outline Information

Available here