About this book: The process of learning Spanish as a second language (L2) has been extensively researched in the field of SLA. We now know a great deal about how learners make progress, what errors they tend to make, and what is needed to attain a high level of proficiency. In this book, my co-author and I (Robert Blake, UC Davis) examine the linguistic challenges and pitfalls involved in learning Spanish by framing each chapter in terms of a critical question with practical implications. Some chapters focus on specific areas of Spanish grammar that tend to pose difficulty for learners and others ask more general questions related to the concept of proficiency, the nature of input, and the impact of learning context (including study abroad). We wrote the book in Spanish because we wanted current and future Spanish teachers to reflect, talk, and write about these topics in Spanish, the language of their profession.
Zyzik, E. and Polio, C. (2017). Authentic Materials Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
About this book: My co-author (Charlene Polio, Michigan State University) and I had worked together on a research project related to content-based courses in Spanish (see, for example, our articles published in the MLJ in 2008 and 2009). This research led us to reflect on the use of authentic materials in advanced-level courses and specifically, how such materials can be exploited for the purposes of language learning. At the same time, we noted that courses at the beginner and intermediate level typically use few authentic materials. Thus, we decided to write a book that combines both issues—what we see as an underuse of authentic materials in beginner-level courses and the use of authentic materials without much pedagogical support at more advanced levels. This book draws on our collective experience as language teachers and researchers in the field of SLA.