Reconciling SLA Theories with Classroom Practice: Designing a Principled Eclectic Bridge

  • Magdalena WalentaEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


The relationship between second/foreign language acquisition (SLA) theory and classroom practice is not straightforward. While some SLA theorists claim that they have no obligation to look for pedagogical gains, others believe that their research outcomes should ultimately be tested against the needs of genuine classrooms. Meanwhile, teachers and teacher educators find it difficult to translate the plethora of abstract theoretical proposals into the hands-on experience of teaching. The paper explores the theory/practice interface with the aim of arguing that SLA research has a lot to offer to language pedagogy, as long as the theory-laden and often conflicting proposals are reconciled into pedagogically-adequate, classroom-relevant answers—a scenario calling for principled eclecticism. The design guidelines for principled integration are discussed in terms of three design axes—language axis, learning axis and learner axis—encouraging theoretical pluralism, yet preventing its unconstrained growth and potential incoherence. The theoretical discussion is related to the hands-on experience of designing activities for a content and language integrated learning (CLIL) course, where an attempt has been made at organizing varied SLA theories along the three proposed axes.


Classroom Practice Language Teaching Theoretical Proposal Language Classroom Learning Route 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WarsawWarsawPoland

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