Bill VanPatten, Professor of Spanish and Second Language Studies at Michigan State University, hosts a weekly online program on the topic of second language acquisition. The self-proclaimed “diva of SLA,” VanPatten aims to educate teachers about principles of second language acquisition and how research findings can be applied in the classroom. Each episode focuses on a particular topic, such as “Does Explicit Language Teaching Do Anything?” and “Is it Our Job to Motivate Students?” The program is broadcast live every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Central Time on Teawithbvp.com, and listeners can call in to ask questions or make comments. The episodes are also recorded and posted on the website, available to access at any time.
The program is an excellent resource for learning about research in the field of SLA and how it can be applied to the language classroom. VanPatten, a stand-up comedian by night, keeps the show entertaining through jokes and banter with his co-hosts, Walter Hopkins and Angelika Kraemer. It can be difficult for teachers to stay abreast of current research, but the informative and engaging format of Tea with BVP makes it easier and more manageable. Even for teachers who have the time to read a few empirical research studies every once in a while, it is difficult to synthesize all of the research. But VanPatten provides an excellent summary of the overall patterns and conclusions indicated by research, which is based on his vast experience in both conducting and studying research in the field of SLA. This program has been crucial in helping me to learn how I can bring my instruction more in line with the research evidence on what helps students learn most effectively. The program is highly recommended for both novice and experienced educators.
Allison Lewis received an M.A. in Linguistics/TESOL from UIC and teaches adult ESL at Daley College and Pui Tak Center in Chicago.