Category Archives: SLA

SLA Appetizer

It seems like everyone is throwing “SLA” into their conversations about learning Biblical Hebrew. But like most areas of study and research, SLA (Second Language Acquisition) is not monolithic. We cannot co-opt this research out of context. I am grateful to have a few colleagues in the field. They have been giving me some very helpful research to read and also some valuable direction for interpreting the “SLA” field and how it may contribute to understanding Biblical Hebrew language learning and as a result, what type of pedagogy should be considered. Their insights and cautions are invaluable as I begin to evaluate and critique some current trends in BH pedagogy (i.e. the COHELET Project). The more I read, the more I see that we must be much more careful about loosely claiming the SLA banner and tagging it onto our Biblical Hebrew methodologies in the hopes of finding some magic pill to solve our learning/teaching issues. While I continue to read, here’s a cautionary quote from an interview with Rod Ellis (2000):

“One of the main things that SLA has actually contributed to is the demise of the method construct, the notion that there is a method out there that will somehow enable learners to magically learn successfully in the minimal possible time. One of the major lessons in studying SLA is that learning a second language is hard work and takes a long time. There are no short cuts.” [emphasis mine]