Olivia Destrades Mendoza ACF Abstract FY11

"Where Paradigms Intersect: Toward a Unified Theory of SLA"

Conference Name: Michigan Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (MITESOL): ESL at the Crossroads

Research in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is constantly expanding and evolving, and many theories, hypotheses and models have developed from the three central paradigms: Behaviorism, Innativism and Cognition. However, to date, researchers have been unable to arrive at a single, all-encompassing theory of SLA. While the main theoretical perspectives are often - though not absolutely - considered to be at odds with one another, many of the most compelling ideas that stem from them are, in fact, related and not mutually exclusive. Innativist offerings, such as Chomsky’s Universal Grammar (UG), combined with elements of Krashen’s Monitor Model, will be tied to emergentist and cognitive perspectives, including work by Ellis and Larsen-Freeman and recent data regarding Dynamic Systems Theory, resulting in the proposal of a new unified theory of SLA. Finally, implications and practical applications for ESL classrooms will be addressed.