Department ofModern Languages and Literatures

Prof. Jill Pellettieri, Ph.D.

The bulk of my research explores the impact of social interaction on the processes of second language acquisition, particularly in the university teaching context. Currently I am studying learners’ motivation for and willingness to engage in target language interaction with native speakers of the language. I am using both quantitative and qualitative research methods to discover how such motivation and willingness develops and can be promoted through active and experiential learning pedagogies. I published a paper on this topic in Hispania, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese: 

“Measuring Language-related Outcomes of Community-based Learning in Intermediate Spanish Courses” Hispania, Volume 94, Number 2, June 2011, pp. 285-302.

In Spring of 2014, along with a collaborator, Dr. Stephanie Knouse of Furman University, I presented some of my latest research at the annual conference of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, held in Portland, Oregon. The title of our talk was “The Role of the Communicative Context in Willingness to Communicate in Intermediate Spanish”. This was a cross-sectional study of 167 students of Spanish from across the country designed to explore their motivation for learning and their language use habits both in and outside of the Spanish classroom.

My research is very tightly connected to my teaching. For example, in my intermediate Spanish courses, I engage students in a variety of task-based activities specifically designed to engage students in authentic language interaction inside the classroom and out in the Spanish speaking community, locally and abroad. I have also designed a new course on second language acquisition, which I hope to teach soon (once I am done with my Chair obligations). The goals of this course are to help students better understand their personal learning journey with their second (or additional) language, to engage them in language acquisition research work, and to enable them to teach second languages in the community or abroad.