SubjectsSubjects(version: 867)
Course, academic year 2019/2020
Language-Learning Theory and Practice for ELT - AAA130180
Title: Teorie a praxe jazykové akvizice pro učitele angličtiny (didaktická propedeutika)
Guaranteed by: Department of the English Language and ELT Methodology (21-UAJD)
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Actual: from 2019
Semester: winter
Points: 0
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:0/2 C [hours/week]
Capacity: unknown / 15 (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Additional information:
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D.
Annotation -
Last update: PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D. (29.09.2019)
The course provides an overview of language acquisition and language learning with emphasis on the applicability of the course contents in teaching English. The couse is thus an introduction to ELT and applied linguistics. The seminar will be taught in English. It is intended primarily for third-year BA students of the English and American Studies programme.
Course completion requirements -
Last update: PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D. (28.10.2019)

All of the credit requirements must be fulfilled by the end of the exam period in the academic year in which the student enrolled for the subject. 


Literature -
Last update: Bc. Andrea Mudrová (24.10.2019)

Essential literature:

Gass, Susan M., Jennifer Behney, and Luke Plonsky.Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. 5th ed. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Lightbown, Patsy, and Nina Margaret Spada. How Languages Are Learned. Fourth edition. Oxford Handbooks for Language Teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.


Supplementary literature:

Cook, Vivian. Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. London: Hodder Education, 2016.

Dörnyei, Zoltán, Ryan, Stephen. The Psychology of the Language Learner Revisited.Routledge, 2015.

Ellis, Rod. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ellis, Rod, ed. Exploring Language Pedagogy through Second Language Acquisition Research. Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics. London ; New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.

Fernández, Eva M. Fundamentals of Psycholinguistics. Fundamentals of Linguistics. Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Gass, Susan M, and Alison Mackey, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. London; New York, NY: Routledge, 2012.

Johnson, Keith. An Introduction to Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. 2nd ed. Learning about Language. Harlow, England; New York: Pearson Longman, 2008.

Mitchell, Rosamond, Florence Myles, and Emma Marsden. Second Language Learning Theories. London; New York: Routledge, 2013.

Ortega, Lourdes. Understanding Second Language Acquisition (2nd edition). London: Hodder education, 2020.

Saville-Troike, Muriel. Introducing Second Language Acquisition. 3rd ed. Cambridge Introductions to Language and Linguistics. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016.



Detailed list of the literature for each topic will be uploaded in the Moodle application during the course.

Requirements to the exam -
Last update: PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D. (28.10.2019)

Credit requirements:

- attendance (maximum of two absences) 

- a short ortographic transcription of a sample of advanced learner English 

- an oral presentation (topics to be announced and shared out in Seminar 1)

- a final test (questions based on an assigned study + knowledge test based on the fundamental concepts discussed in the course)

Syllabus -
Last update: PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D. (29.09.2019)

Syllabus for Language-learning theories and practice (PhDr. Tomáš Gráf, Ph.D.)

Week 1 – Introduction to SLA

The aim of the seminar is to introduce and define key terms for the course, especially: second language acquisition, first and second languages, foreign language, learning and/vs. acquisition, applied linguistics. Secondly, it introduces key research methods for the field of second language acquisition and key statistical concepts. It also briefly introduces the concept of L2 language identity.

Presentations: none (first week)


Week 2 – General learning theories

The aim of the seminar is to describe basic theories of learning (such as behaviourism, constructivism, cognitive theories etc.) whose understanding is essential for the discussion of second language acquisition. The students are expected to understand which components of learning are essential for successful learning and apply these to the theory of L2 teaching.

Presentation 1: English as Lingua Franca

Presentation 2: Summary of class survey: What are our language-learning beliefs?


Week 3 –Some trends in the history of language teaching. Methods and approaches.

The aim of the seminar is to facilitate the understanding of selected methods of language teaching (e.g. grammar-translation, direct, audio-lingual, alternative, communicative, task-based etc.) which have played a key role in the history of language teaching, and illustrate how these affect contemporary understanding and practice of language teaching.

Presentation 3: Teaching foreign languages way back in history

Presentation 4: What is communicative language teaching?


Week 4 –Transcription week

This week the students transcribe a passage of spontaneous learner speech of advanced Czech learners of English and while doing so focus on those aspects of language that characterize spontaneous spoken production.

Presentation: none


Week 5 – Learning spoken language

This seminar’s aim is to describe the transcription process from last week’s seminar and identify features characteristic of spontaneous spoken production. The students will also discuss the written language bias in linguistics. Research methods for analysing spoken learner language will be introduced. The students will learn to understand Levelet’s model of speech production.

Presentation 5: Levelt's model of speech production

Presentation 6: Summary of class survey. What could we study using these recordings and transcriptions of learner language?


Week 6 – First language acquisition: features of baby language, stages of production, developmental patterns

The aim of this seminar is to describe the stages and characteristic features of first language acquisition, as well as research methods used for studying it.

Presentation 7: Two languages at a time    


Week 7 – Explaining first language acquisition

The seminar aims to provide essential theories of first language acquisition and describe how they are related to the theories of learning introduced in Seminar 2.

Presentation 8: First language vocabulary acquisition


Week 8 – Second language acquisition theories

The seminar introduces basic approaches to studying second language acquisition and describes key theories of how second language acquisition is explained. Relevant research methods will also be introduced.

Presentation 9: Cognitive Linguistics of SLA       

Presentation 10: Automatization, skill acquisition and practice in SLA   


Week 9 – Learner variables 1

The aim of the seminar si to introduce the concept of individual learner characteristics and leads the students to design research methods for studying learner variables. A small set of learner variables and their role in language learning are discussed.

Presentation 11: Motivation           

Presentation 12: Personality in SLA          


Week 10 – Learner variables 2

The aim of this seminar is to continue the discussion of learner variables started in the previous seminar and focus especially on the key variables of age and aptitude. Various theories of the role of age in second language learning will be introduced and discussed with regard to their potential application to the Czech education system.

Presentation 13: Aptitude in Second Language Acquisition

Presentation 14: Learner beliefs in Second Language Acquisition


Week 11 –Successful language learning. Learning strategies. Learner autonomy.

The seminar introduces the concept of the good language learner and successful language learner. It focuses on learning strategies and learner autonomy and discusses research methods applicable to measuring the effectiveness of learning strategies.

Presentation 15: The Good Language Learner

Presentation 16: Summary of class survey: What are our favourite ways of learning a foreign language?


Week 12 – Interlanguage. Key topics in contemporary SLA research

In this seminar the students will learn to understand some of the key topics of contemporary second language acquisition research and the development of the field from the publication of Selinker’s interlanguage theory.

Presentation 17: Cross-linguistics influence in SLA

Presentation 18: Fossilization


Week 13 –Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Proficiency. The CAF model of language proficiency and production.

This seminar aims to discuss the various ways of defining language proficiency, especially the descriptor system of the Common European Framework of Reference, and the complexity-accuracy-fluency model. It also discusses the role of the Common European Framework of Reference in contemporary European education systems and its role in the development of European mobility. The last brief topic deals with second-language attrition and focuses on applying the practical introduced in the course to the prevention of attrition.

Presentation 19: CEFR

Presentation 20: Second Language Attrition


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