Processing and Acquisition

As we explored the implications of the central fact of language learning, namely that it is an extended, long-term phenomenon and, furthermore, is neither linear nor best described in terms of the acquisition of sentence-level grammatical accuracy, we faced a certain dilemma: A curriculum is inherently a certain projection of an appropriate selection and sequencing of instructional events.

Thus, the challenge was to meld the two fundamental facts of instructed learning: the sequential nature of curriculum and the non-linear but clearly developmental nature of instructed second language learning by literate adults.

We addressed this in level-specific statements about the particular foci of processing (that is, in terms of the attention both teachers and learners would focus on certain phenomena of language use as part of language learning) and about the acquisitional consequences we would expect as a result of these foci. In these statements particular attention was paid to considerable overlap of L2 development between levels but also the need to articulate a clear progression toward the curriculum goal of developing advanced levels of competence, what we refer to as “developing multiple literacies.”

November 6, 2003; revised July 2011