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This online webinar series provides you with an overview of second language acquisition (SLA) theories and principles, with a focus on their application in the adult ESOL classroom. The series includes three facilitated webinars and three self-directed interim activities, all accessed through Blackboard. Participation in all three webinars and the interim activities is required.

Upon registration, you will be enrolled in the course on Blackboard and will receive instructions on how to access it before it begins. Please note: You cannot access the online course from the SABES website. You will receive a separate email from Joanne Harrington at Quinsigamond Community College with instructions on how to access the course. 

This workshop is one of six based on the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL. 


    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 SLA

In this series, we explore research-based principles and practices that support the second language acquisition 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 online course begins with a preliminary module that includes readings, videos, and activities introducing you to the study of SLA. This module is self-directed and should be completed any time during the week before the first webinar.

Webinar #1, facilitated by two ESOL consultants, covers the theories behind several SLA principles, the instructional approaches that emerge from them, and the implications for your teaching and your students' learning.

Between the first and second webinar is a second self-directed module, focusing on the stages of SLA, the concept of interlanguage, and individual learner differences that impact the rate and proficiency level of second language learning. 

The second facilitated webinar focuses on the role that authentic interaction plays in learners' second language acquisition.

Between the second and third webinars, you will apply what you've learned from the course to your teaching practice by trying out a new strategy or teaching techniques based on SLA principles.

In the final facilitated webinar, we review key concepts from the course; hear how you and your colleagues have applied the principles of SLA in your practice; share feedback and information; and plan next steps to further refine your practice.

Each webinar is 1.5 hours; the interim activities are estimated to take a total of 3.5 hours. The total number of professional development hours for the course is 8.

Date and times of the event:

  • Preliminary Activities (self-directed module): Available beginning Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
  • Webinar #1: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Interim Activities (self-directed module): November 10 - November 24, 2020
  • Webinar #2: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Interim Activities (Application of Learning): November 24 - December 8, 2020
  • Webinar #3: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

NOTE: When registering for Part 1 on November 3rd, you will automatically be registered for all webinars and activities.

    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. You can register for this presentation through


United States

PD Center
SABES English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum & Instruction PD Center
Topic Area
ESOL/English Learners