Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type



Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Alexis Rincon

Second Advisor

Kay Satre

Third Advisor

Ron Stottlemyer


There are two theories currently circulating in the field of teaching foreign languages: language studying and language acquisition. Typical "language studying" consists in the traditional practice of direct teaching by the instructor who delivers information to and retrieves it from a student. "Language acquisition" is an educational system based on immersion in the language, often called a “whole language” approach to learning a language. These theories lead to different teaching methodologies, procedures, and outcomes. Teachers of foreign languages should develop and implement a theory that aids the students best in improving their fluency in all the language skills. Presently, the beneficial elements of certain procedures used in the methodologies typically associated with the language studying theory could be integrated into the language acquisition classroom. This integrated methodology would best be enacted through a rendition of Nancie Atwell’s language workshop approach with its accompanying mini-lesson procedures; this theory-in-action is the most appropriate for language teaching. To prove this thesis, the writer has examined some methodologies, certain procedures of the two main theories, and discussed their assets and drawbacks. She has then explained how these assets can be integrated and implemented in the language workshop in a foreign language class. The writer has focused on the language teaching process particularly as it applies in Secondary Education, although the theory of acquisition lends itself to all levels of education.