Fall 2000

Teaching English as a Second Language:

Principles and Theories (PK-9)



Theories and Principles in ESL


Mondays, 7-00 - 9:20 pm

Sullivan Building 202B

Instructor: Dr. John M. Green

  Office: Sullivan 207B

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m. (these are my "official" office hours but I am often in my office at times other than my posted hours, especially in the morning every day and in the late afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays)

Office Phone: (978) 542-6252


This is a combined section of EDU 791 and ENG 770, the first courses in the Education and English Departments' two-course sequences dealing with the theory and practice of teaching English as a Second Language. The primary emphasis of EDU 791 and ENG 770 is on theory, while the primary emphasis of the courses that follow them (EDU 792 and ENG 772) is on practice. But theory and practice are best understood in relationship to each other, and so this semester we will frequently be noting the practical applications of the theoretical ideas we discuss, just as next semester's courses will frequently mention the theoretical assumptions underlying the practical techniques that will be presented. It is hoped that both the "theory" courses and the "practice" courses will be useful as well as informative to practicing teachers.


Note: The Annual Editions volume and Richard-Amato's Making It Happen will also be used in ENG 772 in the spring semester, and possibly in EDU 792 as well.

Heath, Inez Avalos, and Cheryl J. Serrano, eds. Annual Editions: Teaching English as a Second Language 99/00. Second edition. Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill.

Lightbown, Patsy, and Nina Spada. 1999. How Languages Are Learned. Second edition (cover says "Revised Edition". Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Richard-Amato, Patricia A. 1996. Making It Happen: Interaction in the Second Language Classroom: From Theory to Practice. Second edition. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Additional readings (handouts) as assigned by the professor.


For each class meeting where the syllabus indicates a reading assignment, students must prepare a response journal. Your response journal should be sent to me by e-mail by 3 p.m. on the day that it is due, and you should also bring a printout of your journal with you to class. As a printout, the journal should be at least one page long if single spaced or two pages if double spaced.

A response journal is not the same thing as a synopsis or a précis. A response journal is an informal, personal reaction to the reading assignment, or some aspect of it. It need not be written in an "academic" style. The same tone you would use writing a personal letter is fine. The response journal should comment on an aspect or aspects of the reading assignment that you found particularly striking in some way. It can be something that seemed significant or thought-provoking, or something that struck you as absolutely right or dead wrong, or something you were not sure of but want to think about some more -- or something you found totally bewildering. Please be honest. This is my way of finding out what people think of the readings before we discuss them in class. The response journal is also a technique you may want to adopt in some form in your own classes. At the beginning of each class, I will usually ask class members to read or summarize what they have written in their response journals. Journals written after a reading assignment has been discussed will not be accepted.

A final exam is scheduled for the last class day (December 18) covering important concepts from readings and class discussions. The format of the exam, and the way in which it will be evaluated, will be determined jointly by the professor and students in the class. The format need not be traditional and might involve cooperation rather than competition among the members of the class. This will depend on what we decide as a group.

Second language learning narrative.You will write a language learning narrative, in which you reflect on your own experiences as a learner of other languages. Detailed guidelines for this assignment will be distributed early in the semester.

Final project.

Each student will be responsible for completing a final project which will apply or explore theoretical ideas and / or principles we have dealt with in the class.

If you are taking this class as EDU 791, your project will fulfill your pre-practicum requirement.

If you are taking this class as ENG 770, you will have a certain amount of leeway in how you approach your final project. The deadline for deciding what your final project will be is Monday, October 30. (But if you get an idea earlier in the semester for something you want to do, you don't have to wait until October 30 to tell me.)

Further information about the final project for all students will be distributed separately from this syllabus. Projects will be shared with other class members. I have set the last two meetings aside for this purpose.

Grades in the course will be based on fulfillment of the above requirements, and also on attendance and class participation.

Equal access policy (students with disabilities): "Salem State College is committed to providing equal access to the educational experience for all students in compliance with Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act and to providing all reasonable academic accommodations, aids and adjustments. Any student who has a documented disability requiring an accommodation, aid or adjustment should speak with the instructor immediately. Students with Disabilities who have not previously done so should provide documentation to and schedule an appointment with the Office for Students with Disabilities and obtain appropriate services." (Salem State College catalog.)

Week-by-week schedule of assignments, topics, and activities

L&S = Lightbown & Spada

R-A = Richard-Amato

AE = Annual Editions volume
Sep 11 L&S, Introduction (pp. xiii-xvi)
Sep 18 L&S, Ch. 1: "Learning a first language" (pp. 1-29) (25 pp.)

Chomsky interview, reprinted in Richard-Amato (hereafter referred to as "R-A"), pp. 381-389 (9 pp.)

R-A, Ch. 1: "From grammatical to communicative approaches" (pp. 9-20) (10 pp.)

Sep 25 L&S, Ch. 2: "Theoretical approaches to explaining second language learning" (pp. 31-48) (16 pp.)

R-A, Ch. 2: "The classroom as an environment for language acquisition" (pp. 21-35) (13 pp.)

Possible additional reading (handout) about Krashen and Terrell's Natural Approach 

Tape (to be played in class) of Krashen’s "Power of reading" address at TESOL ‘94

Oct 2 No reading assignment; class will focus on learning styles and personality factors in language learning. 
Oct 9 HOLIDAY (Columbus Day)
Oct 16 (Major topics for this week include learning strategies and the sociocultural context of learning.)

R-A, Ch. 3: "Toward an interactional approach" (pp. 37-60) (21 pp.)

Vygotsky reading in R-A (pp. 418-428) (11 pp.)

Collier, "Acquiring a second language for school" (AE, article 2, pp. 16-21) (4.5 pp.)

Watch for possible announcement of room change for this class meeting only

Oct 23 R-A, Ch. 4: "Literacy development and skills interaction" (pp. 61-76) (13 pp.)

NAEYC Position Statement (AE, article 3, pp. 22-29) (7 pp.)

Boseker, "The disappearance of American Indian languages" (AE, article 5, pp. 40-47) (7 pp.)

Ranard, "Between two worlds: Refugee youth" (AE, article 6, pp. 48-52) (4.5 pp.)

Lake, "An Indian Father's Plea" (AE, article 7, pp. 53-55) (3 pp.)

Trueba, "Mexican Immigrants from El Rincón: A Case Study of Resiliance and Empowerment" (AE, article 8, pp. 56-61) (5.5 pp.)

Flood, Lapp, Villamil Tinajero, and Rollins Hurley, "Literacy Instruction for Students Acquiring English: Moving beyond the Immersion Debate," AE article 12, pp. 81-83 (3 pp.)

Krashen, "Bilingual education: Arguments for and (bogus) arguments against." Available on-line at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jwcrawford/Krashen3.htm.

Possible additional reading (handout) about Fluency First theory and practice.


L&S, Ch. 3: "Factors affecting second language learning" (pp. 49-70) (20 pp.)

R-A, Ch. 5: "The affective domain" (pp. 77-92) (15 pp.)

Tijerina Revilla and De La Gorza Sweeney, " Low Income Does Not Cause Low School Achievement" (AE, article 23, pp. 144-147) (3.5 pp.)

Garcia, "The Education of Hispanics in Early Childhood: Of Roots and Wings" (AE, article 25, pp. 153-162) (8.5 pp.)

Nov 6 Chapters 3 and 4 from Rardin, et. al., Education in a New Dimension (handout, about 50 pages)

Possible other readings (handouts) by M. Ehrman and by J. Green

Nov 13 L&S, Ch. 4: "Learner language" (pp. 71-90) (17 pp.)

L&S, Ch. 5: "Observing second language teaching" (pp. 91-116) (25 pp.)

Nov 20 L&S, Ch. 6: "Second language learning in the classroom" (pp. 117-159) (37 pp.)

L&S, Ch. 7: "Popular ideas about language learning: Facts and opinions" (pp. 161-170) (9 pp.)

Nov 27 R-A, Ch. 6: "Language Assessment" (pp. 93-111) (15 pp.)

Cummins reading in R-A, pp. 429-442 (13 pp.)

Fueyo, "Below the Tip of the Iceberg" (AE, article 15, pp. 94-98) (4 pp.)

Huerta-Macías, "Alternative Assessment" (AE, article 19, pp. 116-118) (2.5 pp.)

O'Malley and Pierce, "Moving toward authentic assessment" (AE, article 20, pp. 119-124) (5.5 pp.)

Dec 4 R-A, Ch. 17: "ESL Programs" (pp. 313-355) (42 pp.)

Cummins, "Beyond Adversarial Discourse" (AE, article 35, pp. 204-224 (16.5 pp.)

Dec 11 Final projects
Dec 18 "Final exam"

Copyright 2000 John M. Green

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