The State of the Art of
From Research to Praxis
Rafael Salaberry University of Texas–Austin
Barbara Lafford Arizona State University
This volume explores the extent to which the [art] of teaching of Spanish as a second language (L2) is informed by Spanish second language acquisition (SLA) research in particular and research on SLA and language-related fields (e.g., psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics) in general. It also investigates the types of challenges that accompany applied linguistics initiatives to transfer findings from research to teaching and how to overcome practical problems associated with the implementation of new approaches to teaching.
Some of the specific issues we asked the contributors to address in their chapters were the findings from Spanish SLA (and language-related) research that would be applicable to Spanish second language teaching (SLT), the theoretical frameworks that inform the research done and the extent to which the premises of those theories affect the application of the research findings to the teaching of Spanish, logistical factors that affect the way research findings can be applied to teach Spanish, and the extent to which findings from SLA research are explicitly represented in the Spanish curricula through objectives and goals (as evidenced in pedagogical materials such as textbooks and computer-assisted language learning, or CALL, software). Needless to say, no single chapter treats all of these questions in detail, but the reader does get answers to these questions from the combined contribution of the authors.
The reader will notice that a common theme running throughout all the chapters is the focus on bold pedagogical initiatives that can be substantiated by previous research but have not yet been incorporated into the majority of L2 Spanish curricula. Some of these proposals will have to withstand the test of time and additional research. We believe, however, that providing a venue for these ideas will further their discussion and positively affect the field of applied linguistics by engendering a more informed debate on Spanish SLA pedagogy. Our goal in this chapter is to provide a brief evaluative summary of the contents of all chapters in order to present an overall view of the state of the art of teaching Spanish as a reflection of second language acquisition and related research. To this end, in the following sections we present an evaluative summary of the content of each chapter. We invite the reader, however, to read each chapter individually to obtain a more comprehensive analysis of the topics addressed by chapter authors.
In their chapter, Klee and Barnes-Karol review the history, rationale, and pedagogical benefits of curricula that include Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC),