Area One:

Theories and Principles of Language Instruction (foundations of language teaching, theories of language acquisition, development of communicative competence, literacy, etc.). Courses: 605, 621, 612, 698

1.      Define “communicative competence.” Discuss why it has become such an important focus of language teaching and how it can be developed in the classroom.

2.      H.D. Brown dedicates chapter 5 of “Principles of language learning and teaching” to Learning styles and strategies. How might we apply some of the insights about language learning he discusses to culture learning in the classroom? For example, what role is played by a person’s tolerance of ambiguity, their degree of impulsivity or reflectivity, their field dependence and independence and more? (from Kate in 612)

3.       State and support your position on the usefulness of a goal of “native speaker.” What are the pros and cons? Why is it not realistic? Why is it dangerous not to aim for this goal? What else could one aim for? (from Kate in 612)

4. Which model of “knowledge” do you prefer as a frame for thinking about what to “teach”: Byram’s saviors or Moran’s knowings? Or would you combine them? Analyze the commonalities and differences. (from Kate in 612)

5. What is language?  What are its characteristics?

6. How do personality factors affect language learners’ success?  What role does motivation play?

7.      How does the language teacher develop cultural literacy in language learners?

Area Two:

Foreign Language Methodology (methods and materials, curriculum development, assessment, integration of the teaching of culture and language, etc.). Courses: 611, 612, 614

1.      What are the different types of language syllabi and how are they used?

2.      Discuss the importance of context in language teaching.

3.      Discuss the impact of the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach?  What are some of its characteristics and implications?  Advantages?  Disadvantages?

4.      How are evaluation, adaptation and assessment utilized in the language classroom?  Give examples of each.

5.      Discuss the different language skills and how the language teacher might approach each skill.  What does an integrated approach look like?

6.      How is an intercultural approach different from communicative language teaching?  What is the role of the teacher in each approach?

7.      How do Cummins’ hypotheses about SLA relate to Corbett’s (and Byram’s) intercultural competence?

8.      A popular frame for many language textbooks is “task‐based” and “information gap” activities. Why and how is this insufficient in an intercultural competence approach?  (from Kate)

9.      What are two different theories of multiculturalism?  How does each theory approach language teaching?

10.  What is critical pedagogy and who are two of its proponents?

Area Three:

Linguistic Factors (psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors in language learning, general linguistic theory, first and second language acquisition issues and theories, etc.) Courses: 601, 621, 623, 625, 605

1.      Describe two major theories of first language acquisition. Choose the theory you consider most tenable and substantiate your response.

2.      How does age affect second language acquisition?  What does the critical period hypothesis argue about age and acquisition?

3.      What role does feedback and correction play in language teaching?  Discuss what type of feedback you consider to be most effective and why.

4.      What kind of information and knowledge does psycholinguistics provide? Specifically, how could this knowledge impact language teaching? Support your answer with examples and refer to the various readings we have done (Cook, VanPatten, and Mitchell & Myles)

5.      What is Interlanguage Theory (IL)? What are the main characteristics of IL? Provide one example. How can that theory affect your teaching practice? In what aspects? Be specific.

6.       What is the biological connection of language in the Brain and how do we know about it?  What are the main features of bilingual speech? Briefly present and analyze the perspectives regarding the development of language in the brain of Bilingual Children.

7.      How is L1 influence on L2 acquisition much more complex that what the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) predicted? Your presentation of CAH should be brief. Support your assertions with references to the current literature.

8.       Present and analyze Krashen’s Monitor Model. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses inherent in his hypotheses? Which part of his theory can be applicable to classroom practice? How?

9.      Discuss the role of input and interaction in second language acquisition. What kind of input is most helpful? How might interaction help language learning? What are the implications for teaching? Be specific.

10.  ZPD and i +1: Similar or different? Discuss their similarities and differences and how they offer differing explanations for second language learning. Support your discussion by referring to research studies in second language learning, and by giving examples.

11.  Provide an explanation of three (out of four) of the following language phenomena from a cognitive and an interactionist (NOT sociocultural) perspective: a) interlanguage variability; b) pace/rate of acquisition; c) fossilization; d) transfer. (You must explain the same three phenomena for each of the two theoretical perspectives. If a theory does not address one of the phenomena that you have chosen, state this and explain why the phenomenon is not addressed).

12.  Is there an order of acquisition that most language learners follow?  Cite research that supports/disproves this theory.

13.  What (dis)advantages do bilinguals have in third language acquisition (TLA)?

14.  What can pidgins and creoles (and their processes) tell us about the nature of language?  What role have they traditionally played in linguistic research?  How is this role changing today?

Area Four:

Socio-Cultural Factors (assimilation, cultural discontinuities, cross-cultural communication, culture shock, socio-cultural factors in language learning, literacy and culture, etc.) Courses: 623, 614, 612, 605, 621

1.      What cultural barriers must language learners overcome? How can language teachers help learners to overcome these barriers?

2.      Discuss Schumann’s Acculturation Hypothesis.  How does social distance affect language learners?

3.      What is the relationship between words and culture?  Do you agree or disagree with the Whorfian hypothesis?  Why?

4.      What are speech communities and how do they affect language learners?

5.      How do different dialects unite or divide speakers?

6.      What are affective variables that impact language learners?  Do you agree or disagree with Krashen’s hypothesis about the affective filter?

7.      What is ethnography and how is it used in language research?  How does (or might or can) ethnography (think of the interview) “map onto” critical pedagogy and/or Freire’s idea of problem-posing? (from Kate)

8.      What role does discourse play in language learning?  What is Critical Discourse Analysis and how is it used in language teaching?

9.      How can language teachers prevent the oppression of minority students in the language classroom?  When and how might such oppression occur?