EDEM631-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Foundations of Language Acquisition and Learning

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


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 students with the current national and international research, and literature in language acquisition and second language learning. This will enable students to respond appropriately to the various language, learning and achievement needs of 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 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 self-directed 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 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 15:00 - 16:30 A7
19 Feb - 31 Mar
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 15:00 - 16:30 A7
22 Apr - 2 Jun

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


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Critical Essay 02 Apr 2024 50%
Choice of a critical essay, professional development seminar, or development of a school language-in-education policy 09 Jun 2024 50%

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.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,046.00

* 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

  • EDEM631-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024
  • EDEM631-24S1 (D) Semester One 2024 (Distance)