In June 2018, Dr Elizabeth Wonnacott (UCL) and Dr Helen Brown (Nottingham Trent University) hosted a workshop on Second Language learning in the Primary Years.
The workshop brought together language teachers and researchers to learn about and give feedback on recent research studies investigating language learning in the primary years.
The presentations focussed on the theme of computerised tools for language learning, including the learning of tones in Chinese (Dr Helen Brown, NTU), word order in Japanese (Dr Elizabeth Wonnacott, UCL), and vowel sounds in English (Gwen Brekelmans, PhD student, UCL). Dr Rowena Kasprowicz (RiPL theme leader, Linguistic Development and Expectations) presented her work on the development and evaluation of a game to teach grammar (verb endings) in French. Attendees also received a demo of the new OASIS database (an online, open-access repository for accessible summaries of language learning and teaching research). The day finished with a thought-provoking round-table discussion of the use of computerised tools in the classroom. The talks and discussion highlighted, not only that computer-based tools can be effective as well as engaging, but also that the rich data gathered through such tools can potentially give us a much clearer picture of the learning process.
Report by Rowena Kasprowicz