Fall 2019 SLA Courses

Courses below are possible elective courses for SLA majors and will take place in Fall 2019 unless otherwise indicated. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) can count towards the SLA minor.

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Curric 604: Seminar on Literacy: Why is Writing Hard and Why does it Matter?

Kate Vieira
Wednesdays 4-6:30

Writing is hard for nearly everyone—for college students working on research papers, for literary authors, for professors, for young people in schools. This course provides an overview of theories of composition from perspectives grounded in writing studies, education, rhetoric, and second language acquisition. It does not promise to make writing easier. But it will help students understand our own and others’ writing processes and challenges, why writing matters, and how we might develop more informed pedagogical approaches.

Curric 673*: Learning Second Languages & LIteracies

Maggie Hawkins
T, 9:30am-12:15pm

Explores theoretical and practical aspects of second language and literacy development in schooling for English learners. Includes a fieldwork component. Informed by theories, students conduct and analyze data from classroom-based research, investigating implications for learning and teaching.

Curric 743 (Summer 2019): Multiliteracies and Technologies for Deep Language Learning

Francois Tochon
June 17th to Aug 11th (8-week session)
Tue & Fri 7:00pm- 8:30pm (online)

This course is part of the forthcoming graduate certification program for K-12 world language teachers. It develops critical understanding of recent developments in research related to educational technology and its implications for World Language Education and Second Language Acquisition, through feedback and support to conceptualizing, contextualizing, and solving language education-related problems.  See C&I743_EdTech&DL_Blurb_Summer2019 (1) for full description.

Curric 764: Globalization and Linguistic Human Rights in Education

François Victor Tochon
Tu 1:00-3:30pm

This seminar includes an introduction to Language Education Policy (LEP), language instructional policies and linguistic human rights in education. It examines teaching in a multilingual and global society. It explores the various dimensions of the language used in the schools for instruction in different countries during the globalization process: language policies, curricula and their ideologies, the manifestation of linguistic and cross-cultural discrimination, language wars and linguistic human rights: how the language of schooling gets politicized within the globalization process.

English 318*: Second Language Acquisition

Jacee Cho
Tu & Th 9.30-10.45
H.C. White 4208

[English Language and Linguistics] (Mixed Grad/Undergrad)

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

A central characteristic of human beings is LANGUAGE as man is the only animal capable of language (homo loquens). The ability to acquire and use language is uniquely human. Another distinctively human capacity is the ability to learn languages other than the mother tongue throughout the lifespan. Indeed, data show that there are more bi/multilinguals than monolinguals in the world (~60% in Europe, ~25% in the US, 99% in Luxembourg!). In this course, we will discuss some of the current theories on how people acquire/learn a non-native, or second language (L2). We will survey both quantitative and qualitative research on how a second language is acquired, represented and processed in the mind/brain and discuss theoretical and practical implications of the current L2 research. Topics to be discussed in this course include formal (linguistic) characteristics of interlanguage(learner’s L2), the role of Universal Grammar and native language in L2 acquisition, crosslinguistic influence (how L1 and L2 influence each other), and nonlanguage factors such as age of acquisition (whether and how much age of acquisition matters), verbal aptitude, and motivation.

There is no required textbook. All reading materials will be available on the course website.


Eng 420 (Topics in ELL)*: Experimental Syntax

Jacee Cho
Tu & Th 2.30-3.45
Van Vleck B231

This course provides an introduction to conducting linguistic experiments to address theoretical questions in the study of syntax. We will
discuss how to design linguistic experiments, collect and analyze data, and make generalizations beyond the data you have collected.
 This is a hands-on course which requires your active participation. Although the focus of this course is syntactic research, the fundamentals of research design and data analysis methods should carry over to research in other areas of language study such as semantics, pragmatics, or language acquisition. By the end of this course, you will have the knowledge and skills necessary to do your own linguistic experiments to explore theoretical issues in linguistics.

There is no required textbook. All course readings will be available on the course website.

French 820: College Teaching of French

Heather Allen
Fridays 10-1230
Van Hise 720
Language of instruction: English; open to all graduate students

Intended for instructors of elementary- and intermediate-level collegiate foreign language courses, the goal of FRE 820 is to help participants understand key concepts of communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching and related techniques for classroom instruction. Learning objectives for this seminar include:

  1. Understanding of key concepts of communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching
  2. Understanding of classroom techniques for communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching
  3. Ability to apply key concepts related to communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching to designing instructional materials, lessons, and assessment tools
  4. Increasing engagement in pedagogical discourse on collegiate foreign language teaching and learning


German 727 (Topics in Applied Linguistics)*: The Foreign Language Teacher

Monika Chavez
Tue & Thur, 11-12:15
Van Hise 495
Language of instruction: English

Please contact mmchavez@wisc.edu with questions.

The ‘foreign language teacher’ is the conceptual counterpart to the ‘foreign language student’ both in research and in common thinking.  In the context of pedagogy, the two have been linked in a putative cause (‘teacher’s teaching’) – effect (‘student’s learning’) pairing. In this course, we will explore critically the assumptions that follow.
We will begin with the notion of ‘expertise’ – what it is (or imagined to be) constituted of – relative to the often poorly or contradictorily conceived ‘objectives of teaching’; how it is thought to be delivered, gained, and demonstrated; how it presents in actual individuals; and how it is perceived by students. We will examine what it really is – or can be – that teachers ‘effect’ in their students and, conversely and just as importantly, what students ‘effect’ in their teachers.  What is more, we will compare how research has approached the ‘student’ and the ‘teacher’, respectively, as objects of study.  For example, the idea that students deserve attention as social individuals and beyond their cognitive processes, is firmly established in contemporary research. In contrast, research has focused on teachers as ‘cognition machines’ that gain, digest, and deliver ‘information’ or ‘skills’; to be trained and placed into professional hierarchies; and among whom individual variation may be perceived as professional deviance. In short, teachers are embedded into normative processes in which they participate willingly or with some degree of resistance; with varying outcomes; and in which their personal and social attributes matter – like it or not – to different stakeholders, including teacher trainers, supervisors, language programs, university structures, professional organizations, and students. In fact, it is not clear what exactly teachers are expected – and capable – of ‘teaching.’ Is it ‘language’ as an abstract concept; ‘communicative skills’ as a rather diffuse idea; ‘mindsets’ – with the goal of ‘producing’ broad-minded trans-/inter-cultural learners; or ‘attitudes’ and ‘motivations’ that induce learners to continue their language studies?

We will explore these questions & concerns via a survey of available research; the identification of gaps in research & professional debates; the design of research studies that contribute toward filling the gap; and an assessment of assumptions and ideologies that inform how ‘the language teacher’ is constructed in pedagogical training, the curriculum, and in broader social contexts.  Assignments include regular readings & class discussions; a pilot research study to outline future research agenda; a conference abstract; a basic design of a future research study; and future graduate course proposals. The class will be conducted in English and students with expertise in all languages are welcome.

Spanish 630 (Topics in Hispanic Linguistics)*: Measuring Language

Cathy Stafford
TR, 4:00-5:15

It seems a fairly simple (even simplistic) question to ask, “What is language?” However, linguists and applied linguists answer this question in diverse and multiplex ways. The diversity of lenses through which scholars view language explains in part the dizzying array of ways that language is measured for research purposes. In this course, we will examine some of the more common ways that language and related constructs (e.g., processing, proficiency, attitudes) are theorized for linguistic and applied linguistic research, and how theory informs the design of instruments that are used to measure language for empirical research. Additionally, we will become familiar with open access resources for measuring language, and students will have the opportunity to gather language data related to their own interests using publicly available measures such as questionnaires, surveys, and language tasks and tests of various types.