English 715: Advanced Second Language Acquisition

Syllabus for Spring 2015

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., 4208 Helen C. White Hall


bullet Instructor bullet Assignments
bullet Required Texts bullet Assessment and Grading
bullet Aims of the Course bullet Course Outline


Portrait of Professor Young Professor Richard F Young
7163 Helen C White Hall
Office hours: Tuesdays, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m., or by appointment

E-mail: rfyoung at wisc dot edu
Home Page: www.wisc.edu/english/rfyoung

Class E-mail List

Use the class e-mail list as a public bulletin board for discussions about the class. You may send e-mail messages to me and to all students registered for this course through this e-mail list. Send your messages to engl715-1-s15 at lists dot wisc dot edu.  In order for you to receive messages from the e-mail list, your e-mail address must be in the Registrar's database.  You can update your preferred email address by accessing My UW-Madison, "Student Records" tab, "Preferred Address" module.

Back to topBack to top


Required Texts

bullet Lantolf, J. P., & Thorne, S. L. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development. Oxford University Press. College Library Reserve Collection, 1st Fl. Center. Call Number: P118 L368 2006
bullet Classroom talks. Special 2004 issue of The Modern Language Journal, vol. 88, no. 4.
  • Mondada, L., & Doehler, S. P. 'Second language acquisition as situated practice: Task accomplishment in the French second language classroom'
  • Young, R. F., & Miller, E. R. 'Learning as changing participation: Negotiating discourse roles in the ESL writing conference'
  • Mori, J. 'Negotiating sequential boundaries and learning opportunities: A case from a Japanese language classroom'
  • Kasper, G. 'Participant orientations in German conversation-for-learning'
  • He, A. W. 'CA for SLA: Arguments from the Chinese language classroom'
  • Markee, N. 'Zones of interactional transition in ESL classes'
These six studies are available for download from this Box link.
bullet Seedhouse, P. (2004). The interactional architecture of the language classroom: A conversation analysis perspective. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. College Library Reserve Collection, 1st Fl. Center. Call Number: P95.45 S44 2004.
bullet Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. College Library Reserve Collection, 1st Fl. Center. Call No. BF311 V93 1978.

Back to topBack to top


Aims of the Course

Designed for advanced students of second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy, this course focuses on the social and psychological processes of learning a second language in the classroom. The topic was introduced briefly in English 333, and in this advanced course we will ask and attempt to answer two basic questions: How is talk organized in a second language classroom? And how does the organization of classroom talk affect second language learning? Our approach to answering those questions will be within two contemporary theories: Conversation Analysis and Sociocultural Theory.

Students in this course will prepare seminar presentations from the readings, and will design and carry out a research project on the organization of talk in a second or foreign language classroom.

Back to topBack to top



Seminar Presentations

Either in groups or individually, you will be responsible for facilitating two seminar discussions based on the week's assigned readings. In preparing the seminar you should ...

bullet Read the assigned reading and any ancillary readings.
bullet Prepare an oral presentation that summarizes and critiques for the rest of us the authors' theoretical stance, the methods advocated, and applicability of the reading to your own research study or to the studies of other members of the class.
bullet Write up your presentation as a seminar paper and hand it to me within one week for comments and grading. Your seminar paper should be no longer than four pages (not including the title page and bibliography). If you present more than two seminars, your seminar grade will be calculated only from the best two presentation/papers. If you present together with another student, both students will receive the same grade for the seminar/paper.
bullet Guidelines for your oral presentation are available for download here.

Research Project

All students will design and carry out a project investigating some aspect of second language classroom discourse. The project should include:

bullet The development of a research question in consultation with me
bullet A literature survey of previous studies relevant to the research question
bullet The design of an appropriate methodology for collecting and analyzing data from learners in a second language class
bullet Data collection and analysis
bullet A written report on your project between 20 and 30 pages in length (not including title page, bibliography, and transcripts)

Research Project Proposal

A proposal outlining your research question and methodology, including a bibliography of relevant previous studies is due on Wednesday, March 4. The written report on your project is due on Monday, May 11.

Data Sessions

On four Tuesdays — March 10 (7191 HC White), 17 (6191 HC White), 24 (7191 HC White), and April 7 (7191 HC White) — there will be optional data sessions 4:00 - 5:30 pm. After you have collected the data for your research project, you may share your data and ideas for analysis with the rest of the class in these informal sessions. I will bring a laptop and projector to the data sessions. If you need any other equipment to show your data, please let me know ahead of time.


Some assignments in this course involve integrating information from published sources into your own writing. This means that you need to be careful not to plagiarize: "to steal or pass off (the ideas and words of another) as one's own" or to "present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source" (Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, p. 888). For advice on what sources you should document and how to document them, consult Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources on the Writing Center's web site, from which the preceding statement is taken.

Back to topBack to top


Assessment and Grading

Letter grades will be awarded for the seminar presentations and written papers (25% of final grade each), and for the research project (50% of final grade). The seminar presentations will be evaluated according to these guidelines.


The grade of "Incomplete" will only be used for a student who has carried the course with a passing grade until near the end of the semester and then, because of illness or other unusual and substantial cause beyond his/her control, is unable to complete the research project.

Back to topBack to top


Course Outline





January 21
Introduction to the course
January 26 & 28 Different Perspectives on Interaction in the Second Language Classroom Seedhouse
Chapter 2
February 2 & 4 Conversation Analysis Methodology Seedhouse
Chapter 1
February 9 & 11 Turn Taking and Sequence in Language Classrooms Seedhouse
Chapter 3
Li Xin and Wenzhong
February 16 & 18 Repair in Language Classrooms Seedhouse
Chapter 4
Cathy and Lynn
February 23 & 25 The Organization of Language Classroom Interaction Seedhouse
Chapter 5
Aleola, Jiahui, and Katie
March 2 Conversation Analysis, Applied Linguistics, and SLA Seedhouse
Chapter 6
Veronica and Lino
March 4 Introduction to Transana   David K Woods
March 9 & 11 Classroom Talks I

Mondada & Pekarek Doehler (2004)

Young & Miller (2004)

Mori (2004)


March 16 & 18 Classroom Talks II

Kasper (2004)

He (2004)

Markee (2004)

March 23 & 25 Introducing Sociocultural Theory Vygotsky (1978) Richard
Spring Picture of student relaxing on a beach Break
April 6 & 8

The Genetic Method

Mediation: Theoretical Framework

Lantolf & Thorne
Chapters 2 & 3
Jiahui & Katie
April 13 & 15

Symbolic Mediation and L2 Learners

Part 1. Inner Speech, Private Speech, and Gesture

Part 2. Metaphor, Lexis, and Narratives

Lantolf & Thorne
Chapters 4 & 5
Veronica & Lino
April 20 & 22


Part 1. Theoretical Framework

Part 2. L2 Development

Lantolf & Thorne
Chapters 6 & 7
Adeola & Xinli
April 27 & 29

Activity Theory:

Part 1. Theoretical Framework

Part 2. L2 Development

The Zone of Proximal Development

Lantolf & Thorne
Chapters 8, 9, & 10
May 4 & 6

L2 Pedagogy:

Part 1. Systemic-theoretical Instruction

Part 2. Dynamic Assessment

Lantolf & Thorne
Chapters 11 & 12
May 11

Back to topBack to top

This page was last revised on March 11, 2015 .