Course outline_ENG609_Issues In Language Learning




Title:                    Issues In Language Learning

Course code:       ENG609

No. of credits:      3 credits



In this subject we will focus on opportunities for and processes of change in learning and teaching an additional language. We will pay close attention to the contexts in which (particularly) English is taught as an additional language (in Vietnam) in order to explore how those contexts constrain what is available to be learned. To help understand the different affordances and constraints of our contexts, we will consider different views of what learners should be learning and teachers teaching. We will then look closely at how learners develop their control of different aspects of an additional language and what that tells us about what learners do with the aspects of additional languages that teachers make available to them in their classrooms. We will try to answer two questions: ‘What is involved in learning an additional language?’ and ‘What are the implications of insights into additional language learning for additional language teaching?’ Having considered relationships between learning, the assessment of learning and teaching, we will then turn our attention to the opportunities that teachers have for change and what change might involve.


  • The course reviews different views of what learners should be learning and what teachers should be teaching;
  • The course analyzes various contexts in which English is taught as an additional language in Vietnam in order to explore how those contexts constrain what is available to be learned.
  • The course enables the graduate students in TESOL to reflect on what is involved in learning English and its the implications for English teaching.
  • The course empower the graduate students in TESOL to generate the opportunities for changing the current issues of learning;
  • The course helps raise the awareness of what the changes might involve.


  • Context and achievement in additional language learning
  • Goals of additional language learning
  • Understanding learner progress – small(er) bits of language
  • Understanding learner progress – larger combinations
  • Sequencing in additional language learning
  • Targeting assessment
  • Cultural and social perspectives on additional language curriculum
  • Defining possible changes in teaching and learning relationships



  • Atkinson, D. et al. (2018) Languageg learning great and small: Environmental support structures and learning opportunities in a sociocognitive approach to second language acquisition/teaching. The Modern Language Journal, 102(3), 471-493.
  • Barrot, J. (2018) English curriculum reform in the Philippines: Issues and challenges from a 21st Century learning perspective. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, doi: 10.1080/15348458.2018.1528547
  • Basturkmen, H. (2001) Descriptions of spoken language for higher level learners: The example of questioning. ELT Journal, 55(1), 4-13.
  • Becker, C. & Roos, J. (2016) An approach to creative speaking activities in the young learners’ classroom. Education Inquiry, 7(1), 9-26.
  • Bui, T. (2016) Critical literacy in an EFL classroom in Vietnam: Agentive empowerment, ideological and language transformations. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 13(4), 247-261.
  • Cao, P. T. H. (2018) Task-based language teaching: Affordances and challenges in TBLT implementation at the Vietnamese tertiary level. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 15(2), 510-515.
  • Davison, C. & Michell, M. (2014) EAL assessment: What do Australian teachers want? TESOL in Context, 24(2), 51-72.
  • Haneda, M. & Sherman, B. (2018) ESL teachers’ acting agentively through job crafting. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, doi: 10.1080/15348458.2018.1498340
  • Humphreys, G. & Wyatt, M. (2014) Helping Vietnamese university learners to become more autonomous. ELT Journal 68(1), 52-63.
  • Kramsch, C. & Whiteside, A. (2008) Language ecology in multilingual settings: Towards a theory of symbolic competence. Applied Linguistics, 29(4), 645-671.
  • Mai, H. T. N. (2017) Contextual factors affecting the implementation of communicative language teaching in Vietnam. EFL Journal, 2(2), 103-113.
  • Nguyen, N. T. (2017) Thirty years of English language and English education in Vietnam. English Today 33(1), 33-35.
  • Phan, N. L. H. (2018) Implications of the changing status of English for instructional models of English: A study of Vietnamese ELT teachers’ reflections. TESOL Journal, 9(2), 368-387.
  • Pienemann, M. (2010) A cognitive view of language acquisition: Processability Theory and beyond. In P. Seedhouse (ed.), Conceptualising learning in applied linguistics (pp. 69-88). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Spada, N.  & Lightbown, P. (2008) Form-focused instruction: Isolated or integrated? TESOL Quarterly, 42(2), 181-207.
  • Starks, D. & Nicholas, H. (2017) The Multiplicity framework: Potential applications for heritage language education and pedagogy. In P. P. Trifonas & T. Aravonossitas (eds.), Handbook of research and practice in heritage language education (pp. 227-244). Cham: Springer International.
  • Weissberg, B. (2000) Developmental relationships in the acquisition of English syntax: Writing vs. speech. Learning and Instruction 10(2000), 37-53
  • Websites/ Softwares:
  • Tools to enhance assessment literacy for teachers of English as an additional language (TEAL):


5.1     Midterm (30%)

  • Presentation

5.2     Final (70%)

  • Paper submited


  • Directed study:               45 periods
  • Independent Study:        135 periods