Changing SMU TESOL’s SLA homework?

So I’ve been bust correcting SMU TESOL students first SLA homework which includes goodies like paraphrasing keywords in Pinker’s definition of language, drawing timelines, summarizing the Behaviorist perspective, explaining the LAD, and describing learning or teaching experiences in light of Cognitive principles.

The questions are good ones that make students think (if they want a good grade anyway) but one student went for the extra credit (which I never offered and can’t give) and offereed three focus questions of her own. Since next semester I will be in charge of the SLA course, I have to consider if the homework questions need to be changed (there may be lots of previous students’ answers floating around out there). Anyway, her questions were food for thoguht:

Why is Charles Osgood’s mediation theory necessary for Behaviorists to explain langauge learning?

Explain the language acquisition principles at work in the following dialogue:

Child: I putted the plates on the table!

Mother: You mean, I put the plates on the table.

Child: No. I putted them on all by myself.

That one of course was an excerpt from Lightbrown and Spada’s How Languages Are Learned (the cartoon on p.16). The one from McNeil (1966 p.69 as quoted in Brown’s Principles of Language Learning and Teaching p.39) would be another possibility.

Define UG (Universal Grammar).

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