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ENGL 4013 Syllabus 1

Second Language Acquisition / ENGL 4013

Spring 2018
Dr. Aleksandra Kasztalska (Dr. K) Wednesdays 5:00-7:40pm Wilson 315
870-235-5230 F-to-F (0-24% online)
Office: Wilson 314 160 min per class, 15 meetings per term
Office Hours: M 12-2pm, TTh, 12:30-3pm, W 3:30- 4:30pm 3 credit hours

Credit Hour Description

For every course credit hour of a 15-17 week semester, the typical student should expect to spend
approximately 45 clock hours per term of concentrated attention on course-related work, including but
not limited to time engaged in class, as well as out-of-class time spent reading, reviewing, organizing
notes, preparing for upcoming quizzes/exams, problem solving, developing and completing projects, and
other activities that enhance learning.
University Mission Statement
The mission of Southern Arkansas University is to educate students for productive and fulfilling lives in a
global environment by providing opportunities for intellectual growth, individual enrichment, skill
development, and meaningful career preparation. The University believes in the worth of the individual
and accepts its responsibility for developing in its students those values and competencies essential for
effective citizenship in an ever-changing, free, and democratic society. Further, the University
encourages and supports excellence in teaching, scholarly, and creative endeavors, and service.

College Mission Statement

The mission of the College of Liberal and Performing Arts is to foster students’ ability to think critically,
become tolerant of diversity, adhere to ethical values, communicate effectively, cooperate successfully,
and become responsible citizens in a changing global society. In addition, the College seeks to instill in
each student an appreciation of literature, languages, history, politics, geography, music, theatre, and
art, and to provide the campus and region with opportunities for participation in these disciplines.

Department Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of English and Foreign Languages is to provide the portion of a liberal
arts education that employs language, literature, and written communication to develop the students’
ability to think critically, understand and appreciate diversity, adhere to ethical values, and
communicate effectively in a global environment.

Learning Goals and Course Content

University Learning Goal: Effective Communication, Critical Thinking, Content Knowledge

Department or Program Learning Goal: Students will understand the processes of language acquisition
for first and second language learners.
Course Description: Students will examine current theories in this rapidly changing field with the goal of
reaching an understanding of the linguistic, psychological, and cultural factors that influence the
language acquisition process. Students will first consider the principles of first-language acquisition and
how first-language acquisition differs from acquisition of other languages later in life.
Course Learning Goals: 1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of language as a system and
demonstrate a high level of competence in helping ESOL students acquire and use English in listening,
speaking, reading, and writing for social and academic purposes. 2. Students will understand and apply
concepts, theories, research, and practice to facilitate the acquisition of a primary and a new language in
and out of classroom settings.
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Required texts
Brown, H. D. (2014). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.
Schaller, S. (1995). A Man without Words. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Both texts are available on reserve at the Library. Other readings will be uploaded to Blackboard.

Course grades
Assignments will receive letter grades based on the percentage of all points a student receives for a
given assignment. Similarly, final grades will be assigned based on the percentage of all points possible
in this course (1000 pts) that the student has received during the semester. The percentages and
corresponding letter grades are:

A = 90-100% B = 80-89% C = 70-79% D = 60-69% F = < 60%

Dr. K will generally grade each assignment within one week. It is YOUR responsibility to check
Blackboard regularly to monitor your grades and notify Dr. K if you have any concerns. If you have any
questions or concerns about a given grade, you must contact Dr. K within 10 days of receiving the grade.

Points will be awarded in the following amounts, for a maximum of 1000 pts:
Quizzes 50 pts (10 x 5 pts)
Linguistic Autobiography 50 pts
A Man Without Words Report 100 pts
Textbook Critique 100 pts
Course Reflections 150 pts (3 x 50 pts)
Midterm Exam 200 pts
Research Paper & Presentation 250 pts
Attendance and Participation 100 pts

More details about assignments

You will take a total of 10 in-class Quizzes. The Quizzes are intended to serve as a brief
comprehension check to make sure that you’ve done the assigned readings for the day and that you
are prepared for class. You will be able to use the textbook and your notes when taking the Quizzes.
The Quizzes canNOT be made up.

Linguistic Autobiography
In this informal essay, you will identify events, experiences, and/or individuals who have impacted
your linguistic growth and your linguistic identity. Next, you will formulate your own definitions of
“first language acquisition” and “second language acquisition.”

A Man Without Words Report

You will discuss Susan Schaller’s book A Man Without Words in light of what you have learned in this
class so far about first language acquisition. You will also have to make explicit use of the terms,
concepts, and theories you encountered in this class.

Textbook Critique
You will write a critical review of a textbook for English language learners. You will describe and
discuss the book’s layout, structure, content, and other features. In addition, you will evaluate and
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critique the book’s usefulness and appropriateness, given what you have learned about second
language acquisition and teaching.

Course Reflections
You will submit three Course Reflections this semester (on 1/31, 2/28, and 4/18). A Reflection is an
analytical and reflective response to the readings and ideas we have been discussing in class (any
readings/ideas discussed up to that point; not just those scheduled for a given day). A Course
Reflection is NOT a summary of the readings! Instead, it is a text that demonstrates your critical
thinking about the ideas encountered in this course—for example, by extending key concepts and
applying them to new situations, analyzing the ideas and providing novel examples, synthesizing the
information in novel ways and connecting them to your own life, evaluating the ideas, theories, and
concepts, or creating/proposing new frameworks, interpretations and applications. Each Reflection
should be 400-500 words, typed on a computer, and submitted as a Word file to Blackboard by
midnight. In evaluating Reflections, Dr. K will consider the following criteria:
 The text has a clearly stated thesis or central idea early in the text.
 The text shows the author has thought carefully about the issues raised in the readings and
class discussions.
 The author supports his or her own argument/opinion with relevant, detailed evidence,
examples and sound logic (try to avoid generalizations).
 The text clearly and directly references the ideas from the readings or class discussions
(make sure to specify the source or author of the idea).
 The author considers alternative viewpoints to his or her own.
 The text is well organized (uses multiple paragraphs or sections to make distinct points;
stays focused and effectively moves from one idea to another; has a clear thesis/central idea
and conclusion).
 The writing is clear and uses appropriate academic vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.

Midterm Exam
You will take an in-class midterm exam that covers the first half of the course.

Research Paper & Presentation

You will conduct research on some theoretical and/or practice-based issue related to SLA and
teaching and discuss your findings in a 5-8-page paper. You will also discuss your findings in class, on
4/18 or 4/25, in a 15-minute presentation. Further instructions will be provided later.

Attendance and Participation

You are expected to come to every class on time. Arriving late may result in a lowered attendance
and participation score at the end of the semester. Moreover, you are expected to attend ALL class
meeting, but you are allowed one unexcused absence—no questions asked. An absence counts as
unexcused if it is due to your own error or forgetfulness (e.g., if you oversleep or forget we are
meeting), or due to everyday mishaps that are not really your fault but that you can reasonably
expect to happen once or twice a semester (e.g., if your car breaks down or if you have to help a
friend/relative with an errand). An absence is also unexcused if you fail to contact Dr. K and explain
your absence in a timely manner. For each unexcused absence over the allowed one, 50 points will
be deducted from your final grade in this class at the end of the semester. Moreover, as stated in
the Student Handbook:
“If a student is absent from a class more than the equivalent of one week of instruction . . .
those absences will be reported to the dean of students. The dean will then send the student a
notice of pending action. The student is advised to contact the instructor as soon as this notice
has been received. Ten calendar days after the report is submitted by the instructor during a
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regular semester or after seven calendar days during a summer session, a student may be
dropped from the class for excessive unexcused absences at the request of the instructor. If this
occurs, a grade of WF (withdrawal with failure) will be given for the course.”
In this course, if you miss more than one class meeting, you may be dropped!
If at any point during the semester you become seriously ill or are facing other serious, unavoidable
circumstances (personal, financial, or other) that prevent you from coming to class, submitting
assignments on time, or turning in your best work, you must contact Dr. K as soon as possible. Some
absences may count as excused and some deadlines may be extended, but you have to let Dr. K
know in a timely manner!

All major assignments and deadlines are listed in the course schedule, but during the semester Dr. K
may change some assignments or deadlines, or create new assignments. It is YOUR responsibility to
stay informed about what is due and when. You should attend all classes and check your SAU e-mail
and Blackboard regularly.

Technical difficulties
Technical difficulties—including broken computers, problems with
Internet connectivity, etc.—are NEVER an excuse for late or
missed work! You should always plan ahead to ensure that you
will can submit your work before the due date and you should
regularly back up all your work. Consider using a free
cloud/storage service, like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Emergencies and university functions

If an assignment is submitted late due to an emergency or other special circumstances, you must notify
Dr. K as soon as you can to ask for an extension. If you know in advance that you will have to miss a class
due to university-mandated activities (e.g., sports events, club trips, etc.) you must notify Dr. K in
advance and make advance arrangements to complete the missed work. If you do not make
arrangements in advance, you will NOT be given an extension or excused absences after you’ve missed
the due date or class.

Contacting Dr. K
To contact Dr. K, please use the information listed on the first page of
this syllabus. When e-mailing Dr. K, use proper email etiquette:
Include an informative subject line, begin with an appropriate
greeting, use appropriate grammar and spelling, and sign with your
full name, class number or title, and class meeting time. Moreover,
you should allow at least 24 hours for Dr. K to respond to e-mails
during the week and longer during weekends and holidays. Finally,
please keep in mind that Dr. K will NOT discuss your grades in an e-
mail. If you wish to discuss your grade, you must set up an
appointment with Dr. K.

Additional course policies:

 While class is taking place, please refrain from using your cell phone or browsing non-SAU
websites (unless Dr. K gives you explicit permission to browse other websites). Violation of this
policy will result in a lowered Attendance and Participation grade at the end of the semester.
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 While class is taking place, you may NOT wear headphones in your ears or chew gum or tobacco.
 You are expected to participate cooperatively, constructively, and to the best of your ability in
all class activities, while respecting the different experiences, beliefs and values expressed by
everyone in this course. Any behavior that could be distracting to Dr. K or your classmates—
including but not limited to off-topic conversations, use of cell phones, or chewing/spitting
tobacco—is considered disrespectful and should be avoided. If you fail to behave in an engaged
and respectful manner, you may be asked to leave a class meeting and will receive an unexcused
absence. In both your in-class and online interactions with classmates, you are expected to
avoid any language that may be construed as hate speech—in other words, any words or
phrases that could be understood as threatening, insulting, or degrading to a person or group
based on characteristics such as race, gender or gender identity, or sexual orientation.
 It is the policy of SAU to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal law, state
law, and the University's commitment to equal education opportunities. Any student with a
disability who needs accommodation should inform the instructor at the beginning of the
course. Students with disabilities are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disabilities
Support Services, 216 Reynolds Center, 870-235-4154.
 Academic integrity at SAU is an organizational and individual responsibility to honesty in all
learning experiences. Any act of dishonesty in academic work constitutes academic misconduct
and is subject to disciplinary action. Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
A. Plagiarism—the act of taking and/or using the ideas, work, and/or writings of another
person as one’s own.
B. Cheating—an act of dishonesty with the intention of obtaining and/or using information in
a fraudulent manner.
C. Fabrication—faking or forging a document, signature or findings of a research project.
D. Resubmission—submitting a work you have submitted for credit in a previous class.
If you are caught committing plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty, you will
automatically receive a grade of 0 on the assignment and be required to meet with the dean of
the College of Liberal and Performing Arts; other penalties may be assessed at the instructor’s
discretion, depending on the severity of the offense.

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