SLA research findings which should affect ELT

Really interesting post about assertions in ELT we take for granted because of who claim them and how misinterpretation (conscious or not) of research findings shapes the ELT world.

What do you think you're doing?

In response to a tweet from David Cullen, here’s a summary of SLA research that I think needs to be taken more seriously by the ELT community.

From time to time one sees well known “experts” on ELT refer to SLA research. The standard message is that researchers work in labs, know nothing about real-world classroom practice and that most of their findings are either irrelevant or unreliable. A few trinkets from the general dross are trotted out as evidence of scholarship, including these:

  • Using the L1 is OK.
  • Teaching lexical sets is not OK.
  • Guessing from context is not a reliable way of “accessing meaning”.
  • Spaced repetition is a must.
  • Getting in the flow really helps learning.

Such accounts of the research are, I think, cynically frivolous, so, within the confines of a blog post, let’s take a slightly more serious look.

The empirical study of how people learn…

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