A principled approach to incorporating second language acquisition research into a teacher education programme
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Second language acquisition (SLA) researchers have not been slow to assert the importance of SLA research for language pedagogy (LP). There is, however, no consensus on the nature of the relationship between SLA and LP. A number of sometimes conflicting positions can be identified, ranging from a supercautious “don’t apply” to a confident “go ahead and apply” while also claiming that the relationship should not be one-way but symbiotic. In this paper, the relationship in terms of a framework that links (1) SLA researchers, (2) classroom researchers, (3) teacher educators, and (4) language teachers is probed. Using this framework, I propose a set of general principles that can inform the SLA/LP relationship and serve as basis for designing a course as part of a graduate programme in TESOL or foreign language teaching. The principles concern both the “what” and the “how” of the relationship between SLA and LP, that is, what SLA topics are of relevance to teachers and how technical knowledge drawn from SLA can interface with the practical knowledge that informs actual teaching. These principles are then applied to examine one particular aspect of teaching—corrective feedback—and how this is informed by SLA.
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