Second language learning

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
17 April 2019


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, 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 of learner language, 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 key issues and questions that are currently being debated.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

There will be one two-hour class per week for 10 weeks. Each class will comprise a mixture of lecture-style and seminar-style teaching and learning activities. In the lecture part, you will be introduced to key themes, concepts, theories and research findings in the field of L2 learning. The seminar part will focus on student-centred activities such as pair/group-work, discussion and exercises.


  • 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 30/03/2020
Practical Oral presentation

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr. Karen Roehr-Brackin & Dr. Adela Ganem Gutierrez
Office: 3.306, Tel: 01206 872189, Email: kroehr@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
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).


Further information

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