Debates in Second Language Education  book cover
1st Edition

Debates in Second Language Education

ISBN 9780367442132
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
312 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Debates in Second Language Education provides an up-to-date account of the key debates and areas of controversy in the field of second language learning and teaching. Adopting a broad and comparative perspective and emphasising the importance of considering a variety of learning contexts, it encourages students and practising teachers to engage with contemporary issues and developments in learning and teaching.

Chapters are designed to stimulate thinking and understanding in relation to theory and practice, and help language educators to make informed judgements by arguing from a position based on theoretical knowledge and understanding. Bringing together leading contributors in the field, the book discusses a wide range of issues relating to second language learning and teaching including:

  • the relationship between age and success in language learning
  • aptitude versus motivation as predictors of successful language learning
  • linguistic diversity and plurilingualism
  • the teaching of grammar and vocabulary
  • the value of phonics
  • learning pronunciation
  • the second language only versus the multilingual debate

With reflective points in every chapter, Debates in Second Language Education will be a valuable resource for any student or practising teacher, as well as for those engaged in initial teacher education, continuing professional development or Master's level study. It will also be of interest to second language acquisition researchers and those studying applied linguistics.

Table of Contents



INTRODUCTION: Ernesto Macaro and Robert Woore

PART 1: Framing the Debates

Chapter 1: Identifying key debates in second language teaching and learning. Robert Woore and Ernesto Macaro

Chapter 2: Learning English and learning languages other than English in Asia and Europe: Current scenarios and debates. Bruna Di Sabato and Andy Kirkpatrick

Chapter 3: Is there a best age for second language learning? Evidence from across the lifespan. Simone Pfenninger and David Singleton

Chapter 4: Multilingual Learners, linguistic pluralism and implications for education and research. Hamish Chalmers and Victoria Murphy

Chapter 5: Learning Language by Studying Content. David Lasagabaster

Chapter 6: Aptitude or motivation: Which is the better predictor of successful language learning? Suzanne Graham

Chapter 7: Key Issues in Pre-Service Language Teacher Education. Laura Molway

Chapter 8: Systemic In-Service Language Teacher Education. Simon Borg




PART 2: Applying the debates to second language learning contexts

Chapter 9: Implicit versus explicit grammar learning and teaching. Mirosław Pawlak

Chapter 10: Vocabulary Learning in Theory and Practice: Implicit and explicit mechanisms. Ron Martinez

Chapter 11: The L2-Only Versus the Multilingual Debate. Ernesto Macaro

Chapter 12: Teaching Phonics in a Second Language. Robert Woore.

Chapter 13: What Kind of Pronunciation Learning Should Teachers Expect of Their Learners? Sara Kennedy and Pavel Trofimovich

Chapter 14: Teaching the Language or Teaching the Process. Peter Yongqi Gu

Reflections: Ernesto Macaro and Robert Woore


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Ernesto Macaro is Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Oxford. Before becoming a teacher trainer and researcher, he was a language teacher for 16 years. His current research focuses on second language learning strategies and on the interaction in second language classrooms or in classrooms where English is the Medium of Instruction.

Robert Woore is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. He teaches and supervises on Master’s courses (including the MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition), PGCE (initial teacher education) and doctoral programmes. Formerly a secondary school teacher of French and German, his research interests include the learning and teaching of second languages in instructed classroom settings, with a particular emphasis on phonology and reading. He is interested in the interface between research and classroom practice, and has undertaken various research and professional development projects in this area.