Gianfranco Conti, Phd (Applied Linguistics), MA (TEFL), MA (English Lit.), PGCE (Modern Languages and P.E.) likes to emphasise what a well-qualified scholar he is. In this tweet, he refers to a body of SLA research which demonstrates that learners follow their own trajectory in the development of an interlanguage. The pedagogic implication is that efficacious teaching depends on respecting students’ interlanguage trajectory: students cannot learn formal aspects of the L2 which they’re not yet ready for (see Pienemann, M. (1989) “Is language teachable? Psycholinguistic experiments and hypotheses”. Applied Linguistics, 10, 52-79, for example). Conti correctly says that SLA research on interlanguage development suggests that prepositions and prepositional phrases are acquired late in the L2 acquisition process, after which he immediately contracticts himself by urging teachers to do lots of work on them with beginners.
Thus, Conti flaunts his supposed command of SLA research by references to two different bits of it – interlanguage development and the construct of saliency – in order to add clout to the latest sales pich for his famous “Sentence Builders”. These crude substitution tables will, he assures his followers, do the impossible. They will enable those who teach beginners to successfully teach items of the L2 which, according to Conti himself, the students concerned are not ready to learn. As they say, you couldn’t make it up.
See this post for my view on the implications of SLA research for ELT