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This three-part workshop provides you with an overview of second language acquisition theories and principles, with a focus on their application in the adult ESOL classroom. It includes a face-to-face session, an online companion course, and a follow-up webinar. Participation in all three components is required. 

This workshop is one of six based on the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL, and is a suggested prerequisite to the others.


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Novice and experienced ESOL teachers and program directors who would like to deepen their understanding of the principles and theories underlying effective second language instruction

In the face-to-face session, we investigate research-based principles and practices that support second language acquisition (SLA) of adult ESOL learners. Our exploration is guided by some of the most intriguing questions faced by ESOL teachers:

  • What stages do learners go through as they acquire English?
  • What individual factors may impact learners’ progress?
  • What is authentic interaction, and why is it so effective in language acquisition?
  • What kinds of questions, corrective feedback, and instructional strategies can we use to encourage language development?

The answers to these questions, gleaned from SLA research, will help you make effective instructional decisions. The session includes opportunities to collaborate on designing lessons that promote communication among learners and that address college and career readiness for adult English language learners.

Next, in the online companion course facilitated by the workshop presenter, you will focus on applying aspects of these SLA principles to your teaching practice and then reflect on your experiences. The companion course includes additional resources, videos, a forum to ask questions (and have them answered), and a discussion board to share ideas with colleagues. A minimum of one post and two replies in the companion course is expected.  

The final session (3-4 weeks after the workshop) is a one-hour webinar, in which you will share a strategy or technique based on SLA principles that you’ve been applying in your teaching practice; receive feedback, guidance, and information from the facilitator and colleagues; and plan next steps to further refine your practice.

To receive credit for this professional development activity, participation in all three components is required.

  • Face-to-face session: 5.5 hours
  • Online companion course: 1.5 hours
  • Webinar: 1 hour
  • An additional time commitment of approximately 2 hours is expected for the application of learning to your teaching practice.  PDPs are available upon request and with completion of all three components and a final project, to be determined by the presenter, participant, and ESOL PD Center Director. 

Total Professional Development Hours:  8-10

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Identify SLA principles that support effective ESOL instruction
    Describe the importance of authentic interaction in SLA
    Identify the stages of learners’ interlanguage development
    Describe how “teacher talk,” questioning strategies, and corrective feedback can be best used to encourage learners’ language development
    Plan action steps to incorporate SLA principles into your teaching practice
    Apply SLA principles to your teaching practice
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

You are strongly encouraged to watch the online presentation Introduction to the Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL before attending any workshop based on the professional standards. Offered the first of each month, you can register for this presentation through the SABES calendar. 


Pathways Lynn, 3rd Floor, Ste. 302
330 Lynnway
Lynn, MA 01901
United States

PD Center
SABES English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum & Instruction PD Center
Topic Area
Educator Effectiveness
ESOL/English Language Learner
Professional Standards