Issues in Second Language Education


May 5, 2020 NEW YORK—World language teachers often suspect that language publishers still do not quite get how languages are actually acquired, and this week’s prime time nationwide telecast was no help in allaying those fears. On this week’s special language educators’ episode of Wheel of Fortune, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, editors from major world language publishers were invited to strut their stuff and show off how much they understood about their field. Only one letter remained covered by the end of round #1. The category was How Language is Acquired. The audience, which consisted mostly of publishing [...]

Leading Sociologist: Public Shaming is the Best Way to Change Minds

March 10, 2019 SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA ─ An astounding 89.3% of professionals change their minds as the direct result of public shaming and derogatory remarks by colleagues, a report in Innovation Diffusion Quarterly confirmed Monday. “Our research supports what many have long suspected,” an innovator told reporters. “Accusing, blaming and condescending remarks are far more effective than outdated methods such as kindness, listening and trying to understand concerns, or simply explaining the implications of research.” According to the study, the persuasive effect is the most pronounced when the debater uses harsh language and continually puts down the doubter on social [...]

District Replaces Teacher with iPad

HAPLESS, VA—The local school district has replaced Michelle Rangel with an iPad after it was discovered that the device had done more to instruct students this school year than the Spanish teacher. The iPad had complained to school district officials after the human teacher had gone several weeks without teaching the students anything or engaging them in meaningful conversation. The tablet claimed it talked to the students far more than Rangel, instructing them daily with funny YouTube videos, repetitive activities with blinking lights, and Netflix shows that vaguely relate to course content. "Whenever students want to know the definition of [...]


What is the role of explicit grammatical knowledge in second language acquisition? "Input cannot be equated with the staple of much traditional language teaching: explanation about grammar, presentation of vocabulary lists, practice, fill-in-the-blanks, and so on. For mental representation to develop, learners have to hear and see language as it is used to express meaning. There are no shortcuts; representation cannot be taught in the traditional sense of teaching." —Bill VanPatten, PhD, in ACTFL's The Language Educator, Oct/Nov 2014 "Conscious learning has an extremely limited function in adult second language performance, it can only be used as a monitor, or editor." [...]


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Federal authorities confirmed yesterday that a nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed to sue school districts across the USA for financial compensation to generations of dissatisfied world language students. If the case is successful, thousands of teachers, administrators and school district officials will be held liable for failing to deliver quality instruction and ordered to pay multiple billions of dollars to students that did not acquire language they could use in the real world. Legal experts believe that school districts may be ordered to pay up to $130,000.57 for each affected student. Lawyers seek to prove beyond a [...]


I just marked the passages I wanted to memorize, quote and use.This is a book every world language teacher needs to read: The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction, by Meghan Cox Gurdon. The author is a children's book reviewer, not a world language teacher, but she gets it. Her insights into why reading aloud is important are wise and timely in our digitally distracted age. It is a is a worthy successor to The Read-Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease and Reading Magic, by Mem Fox. If you teach with novels, C.I., TPRS or other [...]