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APPL8250 – Second Language Acquisition

2020 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Peter Roger
Margaret Wood
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MAppLing or MAppLingTESOL or MTransInterMAppLingTESOL or MEd
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit explores a variety of approaches to the study of second and foreign language acquisition in both instructed and naturalistic settings. The unit focuses on the range of factors that influence the learning/acquisition of a second language, as well as ways of studying the characteristics of learner language. Throughout the unit, participants are encouraged to reflect on the relevance of second language acquisition research to their own experiences as both language learners and professionals working in educational contexts or other language-related areas.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Identify and explain current issues and research trends in the field of second language acquisition (SLA)
  • ULO2: Demonstrate in-depth familiarity with and the ability to critically evaluate three areas of SLA research
  • ULO4: Demonstrate an understanding of the range of internal and external factors that influence an individual’s learning of a second language
  • ULO3: Communicate knowledge of SLA research to a professional audience
  • ULO5: Apply knowledge of SLA research to personally relevant educational contexts

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

  1. All assessment due dates and times refer to local time in Sydney, Australia
  2. Full instructions for each assignment, together with marking criteria and instructions for submission, will be available on iLearn
  3. Extensions for assignments can be sought by applying for special consideration via ask.mq.edu.au - please advise the unit convenor as well if you have submitted a request for special consideration
  4. Assignments submitted late without an extension may be penalised at 5% of the total marks available for the assignment per day late

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status


Internal students: The unit will be delivered through a weekly lecture-workshop on Wednesdays from 11.00 - 13.00.  Supplementary resources will be available on the iLearn site for the unit, and participation in the online discussions will also take place through the iLearn site.  Internal students can also access the podcast mini-lectures that will be posted on iLearn to accompany the weekly topics.

External students: There are podcast mini-lectures for the modules covered in this unit, and external students can listen via ECHO to the weekly recorded lectures which as part of the internal offering of APPL8250. Reading and reflection activities can be completed individually, and students can interact with the convenor and other members of the group via the discussion board.

Unit Schedule

The unit is divided into thirteen sections. These match the thirteen teaching weeks that comprise the semester.  During the mid-semester break, you can consolidate your knowledge of the material covered in the first half of the semester, and work on your critical review assignment.  The unit schedule is provided in the section below.

Required and Recommended Texts and Materials

Unit readings: A selection of journal articles and book chapters is available through the Macquarie University Library, using the Leganto tool on iLearn  The lecturer will provide instructions for accessing the articles online through the Macquarie University Library collection.

Unit Webpage

The APPL8250 iLearn site has a range of resources, including course notes, tasks, and online discussions. To log in to the website, go to the URL below. Students have access to the website from the first day of the semester until the end of the examination period.

The URL is https://ilearn.mq.edu.au

Online Resources

As a postgraduate student, it is essential that you become skilled in accessing electronic resources.  There is a range of other resources available to Macquarie students, including free electronic access to a wide variety of journal articles.  

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status






26 Feb 2020

Approaches to studying second language acquisition: An overview

Peter Roger


4 Mar 2020

The role of age in second language acquisition 

Peter Roger


11 Mar 2020

The role of the first language in second language acquisition

Peter Roger


18 Mar 2020

Learner language, errors and error analysis

Peter Roger


25 Mar 2020

Developmental patterns in learner language

Peter Roger


1 Apr 2020

Motivation in second and foreign language learning        

Peter Roger


8 Apr 2020

Learning styles and language learning

Peter Roger


Mid-semester Break



29 Apr 2020

Language learning strategies

Peter Roger


 6 May 2020

Acquisition of the lexicon in a second language

Jill Murray


13 May 2020

Acquisition of second language pragmatics

Jill Murray


20 May 2020

Formal instruction and second language acquisition

Peter Roger


27 May 2020

Foreign language aptitude and anxiety

Peter Roger


3 June 2020

Unit Summary: SLA goes to Hollywood

Peter Roger

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.