The Social Psychology of Language Learning

Universidad de Sevilla

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Social Psychology of Language Learning

  • Host University

    Universidad de Sevilla

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Education, Teacher Education, Teaching ESL

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

    45
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    Description
    This course is an introduction to second language acquisition, that is, a first
    acquaintance with how a non-native language (L2) is learned once a first language (L1)
    has already been developed. Second language acquisition is a dynamic process that
    millions of individuals worldwide are engaged in; it is also a growing interdisciplinary
    field of study within the megafield of applied linguistics.
    The focus of attention is on the L2 learners’ individual differences. These refer
    to personal variation in language learning as evidenced by a number of interrelated
    factors such as age, aptitude, personality traits, motivations, attitudes, social
    identities, gender, intelligence, learner beliefs, learning strategies, among others. Such
    differences tend to be psychological/affective, social/sociocultural,
    cognitive/biological in nature. SLA researchers have claimed that such differences
    enhance or inhibit both the process and the product of L2 acquisition. The claim is
    that individual differences partially determine how fast learners learn and how
    successful they become towards the end of their learning process.In the long term, the process of L2 acquisition may be related to individual bilingualism in that a growing expectation—yet not the automatic result of it—is that
    by the end of the L2 acquisition process—whenever that ‘end’ actually takes place for
    individual learners—the original L2 learner will hopefully have reached an advanced
    proficiency level and have become an autonomous L2 user (i.e., a bilingual individual).

    Aims
    The following are the main aims of this course: Students are expected to (i)
    develop an informed, reflective, and analytical attitude regarding the factors that play
    a role in the processes of acquiring and using of two (or more) languages; (ii)
    recognize the meanings of key terms and concepts used in the field of second
    language acquisition and bilingualism studies; and (iii) make connections between the
    descriptive contents covered and their own past and present experiences involving
    foreign/second language learning and use.

    Methodology and activities
    This course includes both descriptive as well as practical contents and the
    teaching methodology used is eclectic (informed eclecticism). In-class activities will
    include lecturing, guided discussions on selected issues, oral presentations prepared
    by the students on topics of their choice, and informal presentations by guest
    speakers (both L2 learners of English and Spanish-English bilinguals).

    Syllabus
    Unit 1: Introducing Second Language Acquisition
    - First vs. second language acquisition
    - Diversity in language learning and learners
    Cursos concertados con Universidades Extranjeras 2018-2019. Guía académica
    293
    - Second language learning contexts: Naturalistic, mixed, instructed
    context.
    Unit 2: The psychology of SLA
    - Languages and the brain: basic concepts of neurolinguistics / neuroscience
    - Language processing and its subprocesses: noticing, storing, integration,
    organization, retrieval.

    Unit 3: Social and psychological differences in L2 learners
    - Age
    - Intelligence
    - Aptitude
    - Personality
    - Learning and cognitive style
    - Learning strategies
    - Attitudes
    - Motivation
    - Gender
    - sociocultural identities
    - Socio-economic factors
    Unit 4: Individual bilingualism
    - Who is a bilingual?
    - Definitions of bilingualism; basic distinctions
    - Sequential bilingualism
    - Psycholinguistic aspects of individual bilingualism

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.