Individual Differences in Language Acquisition

Professor Jelena Mihaljević Djigunović, PhD.
ECTS credits
: 3
: elective
: IX
Enrollment requirements
: none
Course description
: Attitudes; motivation; language anxiety; learning styles; learning strategies; willingness to communicate; communication strategies; language learning aptitude; age; research into individual differences; dealing with individual differences.
: Enable students to understand the concept of individual learner differences and recognise their impact in FL learning; develop competences for carrying out and reporting on small scale research in the field of individual differences; enable students to deal with individual differences in EFL teaching at different levels.
Students will develop competences for a flexible approach to teaching English to learners of different characteristics and in different teaching environments.
Course requirements
: Students will be expected to read the literature assigned by the course instructor. High level of participation, especially in seminars, is expected. Students who pass the three revision tests do not have to sit for the final oral exam.
Week by week schedule

Week Topics
1 Introduction; Key concepts
2 Successful and unsuccessful language learners
3 Researching individual differences
4 Attitudes and motivation
5 REVISION – Test 1
6 Language anxiety
7 Willingness to communicate
8 Learning styles and language learning strategies I
9 Learning styles and language learning strategies II
10 REVISION – Test 2
11 Age
12 Language aptitude
13 Communication strategies
14 Dealing with individual differences in the classroom
15 REVISION – Test 3

Required reading:
– Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The Psychology of the Language Learner: Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition. Mahwah, N.J.: J. Erlbaum Associates. [selected chapters]
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (1998). Afektivni faktori u učenju stranoga jezika. Zagreb: Filozofski fakultet. [selected chapters]
– Arabski, J. & Wojtaszek, A. (Eds.) (2011). Individual learner differences in SLA. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. [selected chapters]

Recommended reading:
– Arnold, J. (1999). Affect in Language Learning. Cambridge: CUP.
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (2002). Strah od stranoga jezika – kako nastaje, kako se očituje i kako ga se osloboditi. Zagreb: Naklada Ljevak.
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. & Bagarić, V. (2007). A comparative study of attitudes and motivation of Croatian learners of English and German, SRAZ, LII, 259-281.
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. & Legac, V. (2008). Foreign language anxiety and listening comprehension of monolingual and bilingual EFL learners. SRAZ 53: 327-347.
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. & Letica, S. (2009). Spremnost na komunikaciju i učenje stranoga jezika, Lingvistika javne komunikacije: Komunikacija u nastavi i komunikacijska gramatika (edited by Pavičić Takač, V. Bagarić, M Brdar & M. Omazić), Osijek: HDPL, 1-11.
– Skehan, P. (1989). Individual Differences in Second Language Learning. London: Edward Arnold.
– Articles from journals: Applied Linguistics; Language Learning; SRAZ; Strani jezici; Studies in Second Language Acquisition; TESOL Quarterly; System, International Review of Applied Linguistics.