Second language learning

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
16 May 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA QX31 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL),
BA QX41 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Foundation Year),
BA QX51 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Placement Year),
BA QXH1 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Year Abroad),
BA R8T8 Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RX91 Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language

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, such as how L2 learning differs from first language (L1) learning, the role of the learner's age, the influence of the L1 on the L2 (and vice versa), the cognitive processes underpinning language learning, the stages of development a learner goes through, the role of the learning context and social dimensions of learning.

Module aims

The module will familiarise you with the current state of knowledge in the field as well as questions still under debate and/or to be addressed in future research. 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, the L1, the learning environment and cognitive mechanisms. 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 issues and questions that are still under debate.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

2 hours per week. Confirmed details will be announced at the start of the academic year.


  • Lourdes Ortega. (2009) Understanding second language acquisition, London: Hodder Education. vol. Understanding language series

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 Weighting
Coursework   Assignment    75% 
Practical   Oral Presentation    25% 

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. Adela Ganem Gutierrez
Office: 3.306, Tel: 01206 872189, Email: kroehr@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Christopher Lucas
University of London
Senior Lecturer in Arabic Linguistics
Available via Moodle
Of 540 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
540 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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