PTE-IG Book Club Reviews Second Language Acquisition Myths

May 17th, 2017 | By | Category: In the Classroom, Interest Groups, On the Bookshelf, PTE-IG
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author image of Corey Hanson Hegger

Corey Hegger


Does your classroom instruction need a boost? Do you ever wonder why some teaching techniques are preferred over others? Or do you just question if what you’re doing in the classroom is actually effective?shot of SLA myths book cover

At Glendale Community College, a group of adjunct instructors met over winter break to read, discuss, and critique Second Language Acquisition Myths by Steven Brown and Jenifer Larson-Hall (University of Michigan Press, 2012). We argued over the research, shared classroom experiences, and sharpened each other’s skills as we delved into the mystery of how and why our students learn—or don’t learn—what we try so hard to teach them.

Second Language Acquisition Myths consists of eight chapters, with each chapter addressing a “myth” about language acquisition that the authors either disprove or clarify based on the current research. The myths vary from error correction to acquisition age to grammar instruction, and on and on. As someone who’s been out of graduate school for 20 years, I chose this book because I felt a strong need to update my knowledge on SLA.

One chapter that I found especially interesting was Myth 3: You can acquire a language simply through listening or reading. I had always been quietly suspicious of Krashen’s input hypothesis—that language can be acquired through input alone and that output was not a key factor in learning a language. My classroom has never functioned that way. I have always emphasized output and especially interactive activities, believing that they were a vital component of language acquisition. After reading Chapter 3, I was affirmed in my belief; I found the current research supports my view.

Everyone in our GCC book club thought that reading this book and sharing our classroom experiences enhanced our classroom instruction. If you’d like to get up-to-date on the current research, Second Language Acquisition Myths is a good place to start.

Corey Hegger is a co-coordinator of the Part-Time Educators’ Interest Group.


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