Second language learning

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
09 October 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module offers an introduction to the field of second language (L2) learning from an applied linguistics perspective. It covers key topics and questions in the field, including how L2 learning differs from first language (L1) learning, the role of the learning context, stages of development of learner language, the role of the learner's age and other individual differences between learners. We will consider theories that have been put forward to explain L2 acquisition by looking at both historical perspectives and current approaches. The implications of L2 learning research for language instruction in the classroom will also be discussed.

Module aims

The module will familiarise you with the current state of knowledge in the field of L2 learning. While aiming to provide an overview with a focus on breadth rather than depth, the module aims to make you aware of the complexity characterising the key topics and questions in the field, and you will be encouraged to make connections across topics.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will have an understanding of key sources of influence in L2 learning such as the role of age and other individual learner factors and the learning environment. Furthermore, you will have a basic grasp of some of the main theoretical positions and the predominant research paradigms in the field, as well as of the key issues and questions that are currently being debated.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

One two-hour class per week for 10 weeks comprising a balance of lecture-style input and student-centred seminar activities including discussion and practical exercises.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Oral Presentation    25% 
Coursework   Assignment    75% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Karen Roehr-Brackin, email: kroehr@essex.ac.uk.
Dr. Karen Roehr-Brackin & Dr. Louise Rolland
Office: 3.306, Tel: 01206 872189, Email: kroehr@essex.ac.uk Louise - l.rolland@essex.ac.uk, Office 3.308, Number 2207



External examiner

Dr Sam Christian D'Elia
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

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