EDEM631-21S1 (D) Semester One 2021 (Distance)

Foundations of Language Acquisition and Learning

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


This course extends the professional knowledge-base of educational professionals through the examination of the main theories of first and second language acquisition, examining the linguistic, psychological and social processes that underlie language(s) learning and use.

The course is designed to critically engage experienced students with the current national and international research and literature in language acquisition and second language learning. This will enable them to respond appropriately to the language, learning and achievement needs of the diverse students in a range of educational contexts, particularly students for whom the language of instruction is an additional language. The course will extend educators’ understanding of the importance of a linguistically supportive learning context for learners, and how education personnel can work effectively within these contexts.

In the contemporary educational setting, effective and responsive educators must continually strive to enhance their ability to serve the diverse learning and achievement needs and aspirations of the students in their classroom. The course will support educators in extending their understanding of the importance of language policy at the national and local level and support them in developing the skills needed to work effectively with such policies.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students completing this course will be able to:
    1. Articulate current theoretical underpinnings and relevant research in first/second language acquisition and the resulting methods and programme recommendations for teaching and learning languages;
    2. Describe the socio-cultural foundations of language, and analyse the inter-relationship of language, culture and identity;
    3. Explain systems of languages;
    4. Identify the varied language needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students in mainstream classes;
    5. Critically analyse and critique current national and international issues, policies, and initiatives, including potential effects on practice, related to learning and teaching languages, including bicultural/bilingual education; language immersion programmes; indigenous language revitalization initiatives; heritage language maintenance; ESOL/TESOL, and multilingualism.

    The course content will include lectures and on-line learning.  Course content will draw on the experience, background and expertise of the students as education professionals where appropriate. The course will make use of Learn to support and enhance student learning, and ensure on-going engagement with learning between sessions. The course content will include:
  • Historical perspectives and contemporary theories and research in first and second language acquisition and learning, and the inter-relationship between the two processes;
  • Linguistic, psychological and social processes that underlie language(s) learning and use;
  • The interrelationship of language, culture and identity and different language learning;
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity in Aotearoa/New Zealand as well as the wider global educational context;
  • Description, assessment, and analysis of language acquisition and development;
  • Examination of current national and international social and policy issues and initiatives in learning and teaching languages, (e.g. including ESOL/TESOL, bilingual programs/bilingualism, 1st language/heritage language maintenance, indigenous language revitalization);
  • The role of policy in educational decision making, international, national and school policy e.g. why bilingual education? refugee and migrant programmes, community aspirations for their children.


Subject to approval by the Head of School.

Timetable Note

Note that these are online webinars, as well as On Campus lecturers.  They are recorded for those who cannot attend in real time. You do not have to come to campus unless you are an international student.

Course Coordinator

Tracey Millin

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Lightbown, Patsy. , Spada, Nina Margaret; How languages are learned ; Fourth edition; Oxford University Press, 2013.

Additional reading will be supplied by the lecturer via Learn.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

All forms of cheating and dishonest practice are taken seriously and penalties will result. Students should refer to Regulation J of the General Course and Examination Regulations.

Assessment and grading system

Assessment procedures will follow the policies of the UC College of Education, Health and Human Development Assessment Guidelines for Students.

Students must refer to the relevant sections of the course Learn site for full instructions regarding requirements for each assignment. There are three elements of assessment for this course and each element is weighted as stated above. Students must receive a passing mark (50% or over) for all three assessment elements to be eligible to pass the course. The scores for all assessment elements will be aggregated for the final grade. Final grades will be determined at an examiners’ meeting at the end of the course and reported using the UC Common Grading Scale.

Grading Scale
Grade    GPA Value        Marks

A+              9            90 – 100
A                8            85 – 89.99
A-               7            80 – 84.99
B+              6            75 – 79.99
B                5            70 – 74.99
B-               4            65 – 69.99
C+              3            60 – 64.99
C                2            55 – 59.99
C-               1            50 – 54.99
D                0            40 – 49.99
E               -1             0 – 39.99


As this course is based on a collaborative learning and teaching model, prepared participation by the student will be essential to meet the requirements of the course. Students will normally be expected to participate in online seminars in real time. Students who are unable to participate online in the real time classes will be asked to view recordings of the online seminars and complete engagement tasks.

Grade moderation

The course assessments will be subject to the usual moderation processes as per section 6 of the University of Canterbury Assessment Policy.

Late submission of work

No work will be marked if it is handed in after the due date without an extension having been granted.


This course is obligatory for students in the Teaching and Learning Languages endorsement of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

Participants should ideally have previously studied a language or completed teacher education or have experience teaching languages (including ESOL).

Other specific requirements

Students need to have access to a networked computer or tablet to participate in the online seminars. They will need a headset or equivalent audio equipment (microphone and earbuds) and a webcam.

Requests for extensions

Students are encouraged to plan their work so deadlines are met. Extensions are not granted automatically. Under exceptional circumstances (e.g. illness, accident, bereavement, tangi, or critical personal circumstances) individual students may be granted an extension up to two weeks from the due date of the assignment. An extension request should be made at least two full days before the due date of the piece of assessment in writing either by email or letter. Applications must be supported by relevant evidence (e.g. medical certificate, letter from counsellor). Extensions will not normally be granted because of pressure of university study, e.g. several pieces of work being due around the same time. Students will be notified of the outcome of their extension application via email.


Resubmissions are not normally permitted.

Special Considerations

Where for reasons beyond their control, students are prevented from completing an assessment or suffer significant impairment, they may apply for what is known as “special consideration”. University of Canterbury Special Consideration provisions may apply to impaired performance, non-completion of assessment items, and to late discontinuation (withdrawal) from a course.

A detailed description of special consideration and materials to support the applications process are available at: Special Considerations Process.  

Generally speaking, applications for special considerations should be lodged within five working days of the due date of that assessment item. For more details on this, please refer to the Special Considerations Regulations.

This information replaces any previous references to special consideration, Aegrotat or Backdated (Late) Withdrawal in the Course Information System, Learn or Course Outlines. If you are unclear about the implications or process please discuss with your Course Coordinator or contact the Student Advice team for assistance.

Course Website

As well as attending classes, it is essential that all students regularly access the course Learn site. All course information such as the course kaupapa, notices, assessment information, required and recommended readings, audio recordings of some lectures, and other teaching resources etc. will be available on this site

Where to submit and collect work

Students will be expected to submit their assessments via the online assessment system in the Learn class site by 5.00 pm on or before the due date. The assessment system will normally automatically put assessment work through the software Turnitin, to check for plagiarism.

It is the responsibility of the students to check their Internet access and ability to submit their work via the online system.  Any technical difficulties should be notified well in advance of the due date so that assistance can be provided or alternative arrangements can be negotiated. (Students who have unreliable internet access are advised to attend to this early in the course to prevent last minute pressures).

For ICT help call our free call number 0508 UC IT HELP (0508 824 843) or on 03 369 5000. Monday to  Friday, 8am to 5pm (excluding public and university holidays).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,905.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Teacher Education .

All EDEM631 Occurrences

  • EDEM631-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021
  • EDEM631-21S1 (D) Semester One 2021 (Distance)