"SLA for the 21st Century: Disciplinary Progress, Transdisciplinary Relevance, and the Bi/Multilingual Turn"
Dr. Lourdes Ortega
In this presentation I appraise recent disciplinary progress witnessed in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) and reflect on transdisciplinary relevance as SLA moves forward into the 21st century. I first identify four trends that demonstrate vibrant disciplinary progress n SLA. I then turn to the notion of transdisciplinarity, or the proclivity to pursue and generate SLA knowledge that can be of use outside the confines of the field and contribute to overall knowledge about the human capacity for language. I propose an understanding of transdisciplinary relevance for SLA that results from the ability: (a) to place one's field in a wider landscape of disciplines that share an overarching common goal and (b) to develop critical awareness of one's disciplinary framings of object of inquiry and goals and others' likely reception of them. Finally, I argue that it is by reframing SLA as the study of late bi/multilingualism that the remarkable progress witnessed in recent years will help the field reach new levels of transdisciplinary relevance as a contributor to the study of the ontogeny of human language and a source of knowledge in support of language education in the 21st century.
"Innovative Technologies and Language Learning: Friend or Foe?"
Dr. Orlando R. Kelm
Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics
Associate Director of Business Language Education for UT CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research)
University of Texas, Austin
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In this presentation we review a number of recent applications and online programs that are designed and disseminated for foreign language learning. As we review them, we look at how they affect the role of a foreign language learner and a foreign language teacher. We also look at aspects of foreign language acquisition that are found (or not found) in the various sites, programs, and applications. The premise behind my argument is that when learners take a more active role in their own language learning, teachers take on a newer, broader role to guide students through the maze and mass of language learning materials. Teachers help add structure, direction, and realistic expectations for those who are learning a new language.