Spring 2021 Courses

Below are required courses and possible elective courses for SLA majors and will take place in Spring 2021 unless otherwise indicated. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) can count towards the SLA minor. Because course listings were made available quite late for Spring 2021, please double check with Course Search & Enroll for other courses not listed below, but listed in the SLA Student Handbook. The list below may not be exhaustive.

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Curriculum & Instruction 943: Language, Mobility and Education

Note this course may be considered as an elective for SLA majors.  Contact your academic advisor for consent.

Instructor: Margaret Hawkins

Day(s) and Time: Tuesdays, 10:15 am – 12:45 pm

Modality: Online, synchronous

Description: Designed to engage students in consideration of and deep dialog around cutting‐edge theoretical approaches and framings to languages, literacies, mobility, communication, learning and teaching globally, and to show what different perspectives may offer to understandings of language‐in‐use across varied global educational and life contexts.

*Curriculum & Instruction 975: Politics and History of Bilingualism in Education

Note this course may be considered as an elective for SLA minors.  Contact the SLA Minor Advisor  for consent.

Instructor: Mariana Pacheco

Day(s) and Time: Fridays, 10:15 am – 12:45 pm

Modality: Online, synchronous

Description: This course will focus on examining seminal texts that expand the political and historical dimensions of contemporary issues and “debates” in the study of bilingualism, particularly as it pertains to non-English languages and bilingual education in schools

Educational Leadership And Policy Analysis 886: Internationalization of Higher Education

Note this course may be considered as an elective for SLA majors.  Contact your academic advisor for consent.

Instructor: Weijia Li

Day(s) and Time: Mondays, 4:40 – 7:10 pm

Modality: Online, synchronous

Requisites: Graduate or professional standing, or consent of instructor. Please contact Weijia Li with any enrollment problems.

Description: This seminar offers a close look at contemporary issues pertaining to the impact of globalization on higher education and the internationalization of colleges and universities (in and outside of the U.S.) in a global context. Course participants will engage in focused discussions and inquiries in regard to institutional policies, programs, and practices of domestic and foreign universities in light of the global trends, opportunities, and challenges facing the internationalization of higher education. Delving into the latest discussion and debates on this subject from both researchers’ and practitioners’ points of view, this course will primarily serve as a venue for course participants to develop knowledge and expertise in developing and implementing policies, programs, and strategies for the internationalization of higher education. Students from all fields, especially in educational policy, international studies, and foreign languages are welcome to enroll and to contribute.

Required Reading and Access to Online Course Content
Wasserman, G. (2017). The Doha experiment: Arab kingdom, Catholic college, Jewish teacher. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.
Except the book listed above, the vast majority of required reading will be made accessible to you (free) through Canvas. You are expected to check the course website on Canvas frequently for course updates and announcements.

*English 320: Linguistic Theory and Child Language

Note this course may be considered as an elective for SLA minors, but will require preapproval by the SLA Steering Committee.  Contact the SLA Program Coordinator for more information.

Instructor: Jacee Cho

Day(s) and Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-3:45 pm

Modality: Online, synchronous

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing (This is a mixed graduate/undergraduate course.) Students who have taken English 420 Universal Grammar and Child Language Acquisition prior to Spring 2020 may not enroll in this course.

Description: This course provides an introduction to the linguistic study of child language within the generative theory. According to this theory, humans are born with genetically determined linguistic knowledge called Universal Grammar, which guides children in learning language. Students will learn the basic concepts of the generative theory and learn to apply them to the study of child language. Topics include universal linguistic principles that govern children’s acquisition of syntax and semantics and cross-linguistic influence in children acquiring more than one language from birth or early childhood. We will discuss empirical research studies testing the Universal Grammar theory of language acquisition. There is no required textbook. All reading materials will be available electronically on the course website

*English 715: Advanced Second Language Acquisition

Instructor: Jacee Cho

Day(s) and Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00-5:15 pm

Modality: Online, synchronous

Prerequisite: Eng 318 Second Language Acquisition or equivalent

Description: This course continues the introduction to Second Language Acquisition (Eng 318) by focusing on a number of critical issues in SLA from linguistic (generative) and psycholinguistic perspectives. In this course we will discuss findings of recent research in SLA that address questions such as: (1) what is the role of Universal Grammar in L2 acquisition? (2) how does L2 knowledge develop over time? (3) how does abstract linguistic knowledge interact with other cognitive and psychological factors in real-time language performance (production & comprehension)? We will learn how to design various linguistic and psycholinguistic experiments, and you will carry out a research project to investigate second language acquisition within the generative or psycholinguistic theories.  There is no required textbook. All reading materials will be available on the course website.

*French 821: Instructional & Assessment Strategies for Advanced Foreign Language Teaching

Instructor: Heather Allen

Day(s) and Time: Mondays, 5:00-7:00 pm

Modality: TBD

Description: This seminar provides participants a forum for developing expertise in teaching advanced-level foreign language (FL) courses. The primary instructional approach emphasized is literacy-based teaching (Kern, 2000; Cope & Kalantzis, 2015). Readings, in-class discussions, and assignments address how advanced-level FL courses can be designed to simultaneously develop language learners’ cultural and textual knowledge and linguistic capabilities. Instructional planning, including assessment practices that align with literacy-based instruction, is a focus throughout the seminar.

Specific topics addressed in the seminar include current collegiate language enrollment trends and challenges in the profession (MLA, 2018), reconceptualization of the notion of literacy and multiliteracies by New Literacy Studies scholars (Gee, 2012), the metaphor of meaning design (Cope & Kalantzis, 2015), implementing multiliteracies pedagogy in advanced FL courses (Byrnes, 2004), scaffolding advanced reading (Swaffar & Arens, 2005), integrating focus on form in literary-cultural courses (Polio & Zyzik, 2009) teaching writing through genre and textual borrowing (Maxim, 2009), rethinking the teaching of culture (Kearney, 2012; Kramsch, 2011), incorporating digital communication and resources in advanced literary-cultural courses (Blattner & Fiori, 2011), setting student learning outcomes and organizing course content (Graves, 2000), and assessing student learning in advanced collegiate FL courses (Kern, 2000; Paesani, Allen, & Dupuy, 2016).

All course readings and class discussions are in English; instructional and assessment examples relate to a variety of languages. Course assignments: weekly reading reaction blog, one small group in-class presentation, and a final project that includes creating a syllabus for an advanced undergraduate literature, cultural studies, or language course and sample materials for that course. Variable credit available.

Please contact hwallen@wisc.edu with questions about this course.

*German 727: Topics in German Applied Linguistics (Accuracy)

Instructor: Monika Chavez

Day(s) and Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:00-2:15 pm

Modality: Online, synchronous

Pre-requisites: Graduate standing in a relevant field. The language of instruction is English; no knowledge of German is required; expertise & interests in specific languages other than English can be accommodated in assignments.

Description: Ever since the widespread adoption of communicative language teaching as the ‘method of choice’ (i.e., for nearly half a century), the role of accuracy has been debated with varying degrees of fierceness. What is more, ‘accuracy’ has largely been constructed as an issue of cognition and measured against the yardstick of the prescribed or described language-use behavior of the proverbial ‘educated native speaker.’  In a similar vein, teachers (and also, textbooks) have been cast as ‘agents of accuracy’ and, conversely, ‘adversaries of not native-like language use.’

A number of developments in theories of second language acquisition (SLA) and areas of focus in foreign language pedagogy have complicated discussions of accuracy: The gradual dismantling of the native speaker as a suitable role model for learners; the emphasis on learner over teacher agency; the so-called social turn in SLA that some have taken to stand in opposition to cognitive research; awareness of the significance of learner affect, self-visions, and individual differences in language learning; the gap between ideal and actual outcomes;  a focus on communication (which has not always been clearly defined and often limited to Grice’s maxims); the growing realization of the very limited effectiveness of corrective feedback; and unclear future language-use aspirations on part of the learners, have all contributed to the issue of accuracy fading from major strands of research, especially those to do with LOTEs (Languages Other Than English).

In this course, we will examine critically and in depth the issues (mentioned above) that have led to the dwindling of studies on accuracy in major LOTE research journals. Our discussions will include a fundamental examination of what ‘communication’ means; who makes it happen and how; and what visions of ‘native speakers’ – and their dispositions, abilities, and goals – persist implicitly in students’ (and perhaps teachers’) minds as we well as in approaches to teaching.  For example, some models of ‘communication’ rely on a ‘scaffolded negotiation of meaning’ between a learner and an interlocutor, the latter of which many learners continue to envision as a ‘native speaker’, specifically, a monolingual native speaker. Such a model pre-supposes certain qualities in the interlocutor (the native speaker). For example, the imagined interlocutor/NS needs to possess the necessary skills as well as motivation to ‘get the message at nearly all costs’ – and have no other linguistic resources (such as the learner’s L1) at their disposal. In other words, we will ask whether accuracy (or lack thereof) does not, after all, play an important social role, especially in societies in which multilingualism is becoming ever more common and in which the language of interaction itself may be subject to negotiation.

In addition, we will examine whether (and if so why) accuracy is considered more or less important in certain areas of language, such as syntax, lexicon, phonology, and pragmatics, as well as in certain modalities (e.g., written versus spoken language or language reception versus language production); and most fundamentally, what all ‘accuracy’ can come to mean once one assumes that communication – including communication in a second language – can and does go beyond Grice’s maxims of quantity, quality, relation, and manner (all of which appear fundamental to traditional descriptions of ‘communicative language learning’).

Last, we will examine how learners develop ideas about the need for accuracy in specific contexts and for specific purposes, about their current as well as long-term abilities to develop & deploy it, and how learners understand the connection between accuracy and their social positioning and participation in target-language societies.

Assignments include: Critical readings of research articles (approximately 5-6/week) with the use of reading guides (provided by the instructor); participation in class activities & discussions; drafting of pertinent research questions (2 sets); one collaborative (group) hands-on research project with reflection to gain practical research experience (early in the semester); the (collaborative) design of a research study with an accompanying presentation (end of semester); writing a conference abstract (ready for submission to a specific conference as designated by the student) based on the designed study; and (blind) reviewing of conference abstracts prepared by other students.

Contact Monika Chavez with questions.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will learn to engage critically with new theoretical & empirical developments in second language acquisition research.
  • learn to draw comparisons between research in second language acquisition; pedagogical practice; the student experience; and language use in real-life contexts.
  • gain practice in field-specific research conventions and professional best practices, including the identification & articulation of relevant research questions; the design & execution of research studies; the writing & submission & refereeing of conference abstracts; and academic debate.


*Spanish 630: Second Language Spanish Phonetics and Phonology

Instructor: Rajiv Rao

Day(s) and Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-10:45 am

Modality: Online, synchronous

Description: This course examines the second language (L2) acquisition of the Spanish sound system from a broad perspective. After contextualizing the field through a range of articulatory, acoustic, and auditory concepts, as well as an overview of speech learning models, we will focus on linguistic and extralinguistic variables that have been shown to influence specific subsets of Spanish sounds (e.g., vowels, stop consonants, rhotics, laterals, fricatives) in a variety of L2 learning contexts; for example, traditional university language classes, study abroad programs, and contact situations with indigenous languages of the Americas. While variation across the studies covered is expected due to the different first languages of speakers, we will see that the overarching principles discussed early in the course are applicable across the board. The course will be taught in English and all readings will be in English.