• Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 4 No 2 (2018)

    The present issue continues the topic from the previous one, which is that of language learning environment, broadly interpreted.  It opens with an article by Sarah Mercer, Tammy Gregersen, Peter MacIntyre and Kyle Talbot entitled “Positive Language Education: Combining Positive Education and Language Education”, which is written from a positive psychology perspective as applied to education and discusses the notion of  Positive Language Education (PLE). Here, the authors promote the idea that 21st century education should not only focus on developing linguistic skills but also those which are more fundamental to our lives, that is, the skills of well-being, a major area in positive psychology. The model presented integrates the aims and development of linguistic and non-linguistic skills in the educational context as “the foundation for effective learning and a good life more generally.” The article makes a considerable contribution to fast-growing research on positive psychology in SLA. The article is theoretical, but it makes a very strong claim for an empirically-based model of language education in different educational contexts. The following article by Katarzyna Budzińska “Positive Institutions: a Case Study” elaborates on a positive educational example in a  practical way by presenting a profile of a language school which can be viewed as an enabling institution ( a concept proposed by positive psychology). It follows the lines of Mercer et al.’s thinking on PLE presented in the earlier text. The author rightly emphasizes that out of the three major areas of interest in positive psychology studies: positive emotions, positive character traits and positive/enabling institutions, it is the final one that has attracted the least attention so far. Thus, in her article, the main focus is on the analysis of a representative language school as the best example of its kind. As the author puts it, it is an institution “enabling success and promoting positive language learning environments or student well-being”. In the next text, “The classroom learning environment and its influence on selected aspects of foreign language attainment. Insights from students”, Anna Michońska-Stadnik takes a different perspective on a foreign language learning context by focusing on students’ perceptions of their environment. Expressing the belief that a modern language classroom has a facilitative role in developing autonomy, learner self-regulation and cooperation-enhanced motivation, the author discusses their views on the influences of some aspects of the classroom environment on their language learning process (“motivation, ability to self-assess, self-confidence and attitudes to the target language and culture”) expressed by learners in guided interviews. She concludes, on the basis of the interview data, that it is still the teacher that plays the most fundamental role in the above. The next article by Ana Aldekoa, “Gure Ikastola en tres languages: the teaching and learning of trilingual oral expository skills by means of a didactic sequence”, takes the reader into the world of multilingual classrooms, where the development of trilingual oral expository skills in Spanish L1, Basque L2 and English L3 students is presented in a trilingual didactic sequence. The analysis clearly demonstrates that language alternation and integration during a lesson can result in the beneficial development of the three languages and thus, enhances students’ multilingual competence. The article by Beata Malczewska-Webb and Alicia Vallero entitled “Developing Learning Environments for Blended and Online learning” takes the reader to a modern language classroom where second language instruction makes use of modern technology by combining both the traditional face-to-face classroom teaching and possibilities online instruction offers. It presents the theoretical concepts, an innovative framework necessary for a successful implementation of language instruction at the university level as well as the students´ assessment of this type of pedagogy. The Authors demonstrate how such teaching is done at one of Australian universities, the leading centre for blended, online and distance learning. The last article in this issue by Sarah Mercer and Achilleas Kostoulas is entitled “Reflections on complexity: TESOL researchers reflect on their experiences”. It presents the Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST), a fairly new theoretical framework in applied linguistics and demonstrates how researchers implement it in their practice of language teaching. The authors not only discuss the tenets of the theory of CDST but, more importantly, point out the challenges and promises of this new approach, as expressed in the narrative texts of researchers, experienced in implementing CDST in their work. They are fully aware of its benefits as well as of the difficulties that still need to be overcome. Nevertheless, they generally express an optimistic view to this new framework. The issue concludes with two book reviews. One of them is the review of the monograph by Katarzyna Ożańska-Ponikwia “Personality and Emotional Intelligence in Second Language Learning (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), a must-read for all those interested in the affectivity dimension of language acquisition/learning processes (reviewed by Danuta Gabryś-Barker). The other review is of the book by Anna Borowska “Avialinguistics. The Study of Language for Aviation Purposes“ (Peter Lang 2017), which presents a fairly new area of English for specific purpose (ESP) (reviewed by Adam Wojtaszek).

    (read more in the Preface)

  • Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 4 No 1 (2018)

    The present issue opens with a fascinating insight into the significance of the ‘love factor’ for late L2 proficiency development. In their paper “L2 Proficiency as a Function of Cultural Identity in Interlingual Couples” David Singleton and Simone Pfenninger offer a comprehensive review of a number of qualitative studies which demonstrate how significant the affective dimension can be both for the ultimate success in acquisition of L2 proficiency as well as for the adoption of cultural identity by one of the partners. The facilitative role of out-of-class immersion activities is presented by Jorge Pinto in the second article, entitled “Immersion Learning Activities: Developing Communicative Tasks in the Community.” The author argues for the extension of the learning environment to the beyond-the-classroom sphere which allows for a more extensive development of learners’ communicative skills in L2. Although the research results are based on an L2 Portuguese course taught at the University of Lisbon, the implications seem to be universally applicable. The third paper, “Social Constraints of Aspirations for Second Language Achievement” by Joanna Rokita-Jaśkow, seeks an explanation for the relatively unambitious and vague aspirations of Polish vocational school English philology students, adding another perspective to the discussion on the role of learning environments. The perspective is narrowed down to the classroom environment in the fourth paper, “New School, the Same Old Rut? Action Research of Unsuccessful First-Year Students in a High School” by Joanna Masoń-Budzyń. In order to formulate useful and experience-based suggestions, the author attempts to diagnose the sources of learners’ unsuccessful performance, looking at a number of potential contributing factors. The fifth article, “Rethink Your Old Teaching Methods: Designing a Pronunciation Course for Young Teenagers,” by Dorota Lipińska, also focuses on a FL classroom environment, but the author’s interest revolves around the issue of EFL pronunciation teaching to 11- to 13-year-olds. Lamenting the inefficiency of both the teaching resources and the primary school syllabi, the author proposes her own ideas about how pronunciation could be taught, providing some suggestive evidence from speech production and speech perception tests. The subject of pronunciation learning is also the topic of the last paper in the issue, “Pronunciation Learning Environment: EFL Students’ Cognitions of In-Class and Out-of-Class factors affecting pronunciation acquisition” by Magdalena Szyszka. The author attempts to identify the most significant contributors to the learners’ ultimate pronunciation learning achievement, looking not only at the classroom environment and at teachers’ pronunciation, but also at the patterns encountered by the learners in their daily exposure to entertainment media.

    (read more in the Preface)

  • Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 3 No 2 (2017)

    The present issue opens with an article by Ewa Piechurska-Kuciel “The Role of Social Support Systems in Adolescent Foreign Language Learning”, the main focus of which is on the role family, teachers and peers play in the academic success of adolescent FL learners. Research on social support, though not very extensive, unanimously demonstrates that social support influences learners’ resilience to the stress generated by FL learning situations. It contributes to the adolescent’s development of self-esteem, autonomy and building social competence among many other effects. The article overviews theoretical assumptions and selected studies on social support. Also Anna Bąk-Średnicka, in her text “Preservice teachers’ attitudes related to family involvement in light of their school placement experience”, focuses on social support issues in relation to partnership between teachers and parents. The author reports on an empirical study conducted among pre-service EFL teachers on the effects of their collaboration with parents of their learners and its visible effectiveness and impact on their learners’ success. The author stresses that despite the ministerial guidance for teacher training programmes, hardly any time is devoted to developing trainees’ awareness of this issue, thus more emphasis should be put on it in teacher training curricula. The main concern of the article by Małgorzata Szupica-Pyrzanowska and Katarzyna Malesa, entitled “Are they part of the equation? – foreign language teachers versus language attrition. A diagnostic study”, touches upon the problem of language competence deterioration in the case of foreign language teachers. The pilot study carried out in a group of M.A. students working as primary school EFL teachers revealed the plethora of factors contributing to the stagnation and even regression in their language competences. The authors, aware of the pilot nature of their study, suggest ways of researching the issue more thoroughly. The next article by Ewa Cieślicka and Arkadiusz Rojczyk, “Self-reported vs. self-rated pronunciation in a non-native language”, also focuses on non-native FL competence and more precisely on a non-native accent. In their empirical study, the authors observed that there were no visible differences between the way advanced students of English assessed their accent in English in general and, later on, how they rated it on the basis of their own recorded performance. The authors conclude that one’s self-image as expressed by the subjects of the study is a fairly stable characteristic. Konrad Szcześniak, in his article “Benefits of L1-L3 Similarities. The Case of the Dative Case”, discusses the influence of structural similarities between the Polish (L1) of a speaker and Portuguese (his/her L3). The author observes that the students are aware of similarities between L1 Polish and L3 Portuguese dative constructions and indeed positive transfer does occur in their performance. At the same time, it is not as frequent and widespread as might have been expected due to existing similarities in the dative case constructions of these two languages. The author discusses the reasons of this phenomenon.

    (read more in the Preface)

  • Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 3 No 1 (2017)

    [...] The present issue consists of articles in various areas of second/third language acquisition, but has a strong focus on foreign language instruction and materials used for this purpose in a variety of contexts and for different age groups. The issue starts with a presentation of a  fairly new context of foreign language teaching – a professional environment -  in the text by Dorota Lipińska “The Influence of Age and L2 on Third Language Acquisition in a Corporate Environment”. It focuses mainly on two important variables, of age and the influence of a formerly acquired foreign language on the current learning practices of adult learners who are professionally active. Katarzyna Bańka in the article “An Analysis of the Higher Education Systems of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language in Poland and China” presents a comparison of educational practices in teaching Chinese as a foreign language (ChFL) in China and in a non-native context of Poland. The author puts forward some ideas to improve ChFL instruction. Elżbieta Gajek looks at more innovative language sources in her article “ICT as Material Culture in CALL”, which treats information and communication technologies (ICT) as representing digital culture artefacts, a significant part of material culture. The author demonstrates their role in teaching foreign languages and aims to find relations between language teachers’ access to digital devices, their perceptions of the usefulness of ICT in foreign language learning and teaching, and the actual use of digital materials in their own language teaching, and beyond the classroom for non-professional uses. The next text introduces the theme of authentic and non-authentic foreign language teaching materials as Salama Embark Shihiba in “Some Libya EFL University Students’ Attitudes towards Using Authentic Materials for Reading Classes” investigates the attitudes of Libyan English foreign language (EFL) university students towards authentic materials used in FL instruction. The author believes that authentic materials not only present an invaluable source as language input, but first and foremost constitute a strong motivator for learners in their endeavour to become fluent FL users. An interesting and infrequently researched issue of teachers´ foreign language attrition is presented in the text by Teresa Maria  Włosowicz “English Language Attrition in Teachers: Questions of Language Proficiency, Language Maintenance and Language Attitudes.” The author discusses the occurrence of foreign language attrition in non-native English language teachers and presents the results of an empirical study of its manifestation at the level of advanced vocabulary and structures. It also comments on the participants’ attitudes to linguistic correctness and their autonomous strategies of language maintenance. Finally, Maria Stec’s article “Multimodality of Cultural Content in ELT Materials for Young Learners” deals with English non-authentic didactic materials but this time from the perspective of their value as cultural artefacts that can be used successfully in early language education. She identifies the most important aspects related to teaching elements of English culture as represented in English coursebooks for young learners. [...]

    (read more in the Preface)

  • Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 2 No 2 (2016)
    [...] The present issue consists of articles in various areas of SLA and also research in multilingualism, supplemented with two papers strictly related to aspects of foreign language teaching. In the incessant quest for recognition of the true role of motivation in foreign language learning, Mirosław Pawlak offers another interesting perspective, viewing the motivational system as encompassing a vital component of integrativeness, which is analyzed relative to three dimensions: an ideal self, an ought-to self, and L2 learning experiences. This intriguing insight, which results from a qualitative study, reveals a number of additional factors which take part in the shaping of motivational background. Ingrid Bello-Rodzeń recognizes the role of new technologies and the development of the blogosphere as increasingly important factors in promoting and shaping multilingualism, not just in the bloggers themselves, but in their children, whose multilingual development often becomes the main theme of their narratives. The theme of modern technologies used in communication is also addressed in the paper by Anna Turula, who focuses on the application of IT devices to the teaching of a foreign language. As the text reveals, a new realm of opportunities, but also problems, emerges at the meeting point between the digital and the real worlds. In a world of massive migrations, problems encountered by migrant children deserve special attention. One such problem is selective mutism, which affects a much bigger proportion of immigrant children than was initially assumed. The longitudinal case study by Lindsey R. Leacox, Margarita Meza, and Tammy Gregersen demonstrates the positive outcomes of pet-assisted therapy, against the background of music therapy and laughter therapy, offering some interesting implications and conclusions. In the context of changing views on the significance of the native-speaker as a language model, influenced by English as a lingua franca methodology, the study by Aleksandra Szymańska-Tworek confronts the recent methodological trends with the opinions of pre-service teachers of English. It turns out that while they are ready to embrace multicultural diversity, they are quite reluctant to accept too much linguistic variability in the teaching materials. We can never predict exactly where our second language skills are going to prove useful. Sometimes a unique ability or proficiency in a rarely practiced genre can boost our value as a much sought-after employee. Several interesting hints on how to develop the uncommon skill of composing obituaries in English are offered by Grzegorz Cebrat, who decided to translate the results of his indepth discourse analytic study into a practical teaching procedure. [...]
    (read more in the "Preface")
  • Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 2 No 1 (2016)
    The present issue consists of articles in various areas of SLA and also research in multilingualism. The thematic spread starts with the text related to the sociolinguistic variable of age: "The Age Factor in the Foreign Language Class: What Do Learners Think?" by Simone E. Pfenninger and David Singleton, followed by a study of non-native speaker e-mail communication (Jan Pikhart) and another paper addressing a sociolinguistic variable: "Do Girls Have All the Fun? Anxiety and Enjoyment in the Foreign Language Classroom by Jean-Marc Dewaele et al. The second group of articles begins with the text addressing the issues of multilingualism: "Multilingual Processing Phenomena in Learners of Portuguese as a Third or Additional Language" by Teresa M. Włosowicz, followed by a study of code-switching practices among immigrants in the UK by Katarzyna Ożańska-Ponikwia. The final paper by Beata Grymska represents a more theoretically-oriented perspective delving into the theoretical conceptualizations of language aptitude.
  • Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
    Vol 1 No 1 (2015)

    The present inaugural issue consists of articles in various areas of SLA and also research in multilingualism. The thematic spread of this issue ranges from the texts relating purely to linguistic aspects of second language acquisition/learning in different contexts and at different levels to issues of the identity of those involved in the process of foreign language learning, teachers and learners. Jolanta Latkowska reconsiders the validity of linguistic relativity proposal as a reference frame for modern research (How relevant is the Sapir-Whorf -Hypothesis to contemporary psycholinguistic research?), while Larisa Aronin and Vasilis Politis propose to view the concept of multilingualism from a philosophical perspective (Multilingualism as an edge). The construct of language self is applied in the study by Dorota Owczarek (Advanced FL students’ self-perception of their language identity), which signals a theme developed in the final paper by Tammy Gregersen (Aligning Who I Am with What I Do: Pursuing Language Teacher Authenticity), who characterizes language teacher identity and authenticity from both philosophical and pedagogical perspective. Two papers focusing on syntactic issues present the problem from the point of view of language learners (Xinyue Cécilia Yu - The acquisition at the interface of ditransitive constructions in Mandarin Chinese by French adult learners) and the teachers (Arzu Ünel, Meryem Mirioğlu – Syntactical Modifications in Teacher Talk of Native and non-Native Speakers in EFL Classrooms). Last but not least, Priya Ananth and Masaaki Kamiya demonstrate language-specific idiosyncrasies pertaining to the sensitivity of prosodic cues in disambiguating sentences (Effect of Prosody on Disambiguation: A Case of Universal Quantifier and Negation). As can be seen, the scope of the topics raised by the authors and the application of both theoretical and practical perspective harmonize very well with the title of our new journal.