Focus on English language learners at Humanities Center event

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Dr. Shawn Loewen.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Michigan State University scholar will explore what works and what doesn't when it comes to learning English as a second language this week in a presentation at the University Center for the Humanities at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Shawn Loewen, associate professor in the Second Language Studies program at MSU, will speak at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in 2500 Knauss Hall. His presentation, "What Good is Theory and Research for the L2 Classroom?" is free and open to the public.

Difficult to observe

Loewen will discuss how second-language educators—L2 educators—often assume their efforts result in improved second-language skills for students. However, student improvement may be difficult to observe, and sometimes educators may feel that instruction may not be as effective as they hoped.

Loewen's talk will explore the effects of L2 instruction from a theoretical and empirical perspective and will look at the claims made by researchers and theorists about the effectiveness of L2 instruction. He will delve into the research findings that support and contradict these theoretical perspectives and consider the goals of L2 instruction and differences between explicit and implicit L2 knowledge.


Loewen earned a master's degree in linguistics from Temple University and doctoral degree from the University of Auckland in New Zealand in 2002. His primary area of research is instructed second language acquisition, particularly in relation to classroom interaction. His previous research investigated various L2 instructional practices, including visual input enhancement, corrective feedback and task-based interaction.

For more information, contact WMU's Center for the Humanities at or (269) 387-1811.

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