Unit 1: Philosophy of Applied Linguistics

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Desired Results

Understanding: EFL learners will understand that having a historical grasp of AL from a research perspective will better prepare them to address real-world problems they will likely face in the EFL classroom.

Essential Questions:

  • How has AL emerged to the discipline it is today and how does this relate to your own personal experience as an EFL/ESL educator?
  • When researching topics related to AL, how does the worldview of the researcher influence the research design?


Assessments include informal discussions (f2f and online) and academic prompts taken from current research.

Learning Progression

Applied Linguistics Defined (Week 1)

Through-line Questions
  • What is the difference between applied linguistics and linguistics applied?
  • How have past developments of applied linguistics formed your current perspective as it relates to being both a teacher and a learner?
Evidence of Understanding (Assessment)
  • Theory and practice
  • Applied linguistics versus linguistics applied
  • Assumptions in teaching English as a foreign/second language over the last 120 years
  • Technique analysis checklist
  • Review notes and prior knowledge of psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition (SLA), syllabus design, discourse analysis, and assessment as this course will include these major areas of interests as they relate to local linguistic issues.
  • Second Language Learning and Language Teaching (Cook, 2001): Chapter 1, Background to second language acquisition research and language teaching
  • The Handbook of Applied Linguistics (Davies & Elder, 2010): Chapter 24, Fashions in language teaching methodology

Applied Linguistics in Practice and in Theory (Week 2)

Through-line Questions
  • What makes an applied linguist in principle and practice?
  • What is your theoretical stance with regard to a problem related to language teaching or learning?
  • How do common assumptions of language teaching lead to misunderstandings of how languages are taught or learned?
Evidence of Understanding (Assessment)
  • Overview of applied linguistics: problems related to approaches, methodology, methods, pedagogy, designs, and procedures (in TESOL)
  • Principle & Practice in Applied Linguistics (Cook & Seidlhoder, 1995): Chapter 1
  • An Introduction to Applied Linguistics (Schmitt, 2002): Chapter 1
  • Applied Linguistics (Cook, 2003): Chapter 2 & 3
  • Applied Linguistics (Cook, 2003): Chapter 8, Past, present, and future directions (pp. 69-79); Section 2 Readings, Chapter 8 (pp. 109-114)

Linking Theory to Practice (Week 3)

Through-line Questions
  • How does what we know about L2 acquisition research and teaching influence our current and future perspectives?
  • What is your theoretical stance with regard to a problem related to language teaching or learning?
Evidence of Understanding (Assessment)
  • Native speaker, non-native speaker, and interlanguage
  • L2 user vs. L2 learner
  • Second Language Learning and Language Teaching (Cook, 2001): Background ideas of SLA research, pp. 12-17
  • Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course (Gass & Selinker, 2008): Chapter 11
  • The Handbook of Applied Linguistics. (Davies & Elder, 2010): Chapter 16
  • The Handbook of Applied Linguistics (Davies & Elder, 2008): Chapter 19, Research Methods for Applied Linguistics

Action Research - In-progress Feedback Session (Week 4)

Through-line Questions

How will my current experiences with teaching EFL and my own curiosity about issues I recognize in the EFL classroom translate into a research topic that is interesting, feasible, relevant, and worthy?

Evidence of Understanding (Assessment)
    • Review basic concepts of action research.
    • Find an appropriate topic (e.g., teaching grammar, error correction, code-switching, the use of L1 in the classroom, fluency vs. accuracy, young vs. adult learners, discourse features in young learners, etc.).
    • APA formatting (Sixth edition): sections of a research paper, writing conventions, formatting, plagiarism, etc.
  • Determine problem statement, research questions, and EFL/ESL class to observe.
  • Find three primary research articles related to the problem and research questions. Email me one of your articles as an attachment, and include your problem statement and research question(s) - due August 30, 2011.
  • Determine what type of research design is most appropriate: quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.
  • Determine how data will be collected: observations, questionnaires, etc.
  • Design instruments.
  • Schedule when you will apply your treatment.
  • Upload the above information to your action research page (See video tutorial).