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SLA research and L2 pedagogy: Misapplications and questions of relevance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2013

Nina Spada*
Affiliation:
University of Torontonina.spada@utoronto.ca

Abstract

There has been considerable debate about the relevance and applicability of SLA theory and research for L2 pedagogy. There are those who maintain that SLA must be applicable to L2 pedagogy: a view based on the argument that because SLA is a subfield of applied linguistics, it should have direct relevance to L2 teaching. Others take the view that not all areas of SLA research need to be relevant to L2 pedagogy – only the more ‘applied’ areas. While I would agree that much of the work in SLA should be applicable to L2 pedagogy, particularly research on instructed SLA, my presentation takes a different perspective on the SLA/L2 pedagogy interface. It focuses on misapplications of SLA theory and research to L2 pedagogy. I argue that the applicability of SLA research for L2 instruction requires a careful consideration of context and that specific SLA constructs – even those considered to be important within instructed SLA – may not have direct relevance to L2 pedagogy. Three areas of SLA research that I will discuss with respect to misapplication and relevance are: the role of instruction in SLA, the role of age in SLA, and the nature of and distinction between implicit and explicit L2 knowledge.

Type
Plenary Speeches
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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