Paul D. Toth
441 Anderson Hall
PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Associate Professor of Spanish
As an applied linguist, my research focuses on the acquisition of Spanish morphosyntax (grammar) in second language classroom settings.Specifically, I have investigated the impact of different communicative and task-based approaches to grammar instruction on learners’ knowledge of Spanish pronouns and verb meanings. I have also conducted research on cohesion in classroom discourse and the ways in which teachers’ discourse turns affect learner participation. Most recently, I have been investigating the learning processes associated with a guided, inductive approach to grammar instruction, where learners co-construct explicit rules with teachers and peers based on culturally-valid second-language texts. Other forthcoming work includes a theoretical monograph to be published by Routledge on the ways that linguistic, cognitive, and sociocultural perspectives may inform classroom practice by improving our understanding of second language processing.In 2002, and again in 2007, I was honored to receive the Paul Pimsleur Award for research excellence from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Most Recent Publications
Moranski, K. and Toth, P. D. (in press, 2015). Small group meta-analytic talk and Spanish L2 development. In M. Sato and S. Ballinger (Eds.) Peer interaction and second language learning: Pedagogical potential and research agenda. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (39 pages)
Wagner, E. and Toth, P. D. (in press, 2014). Teaching and testing L2 Spanish listening using scripted versus unscripted texts. Foreign Language Annals 47(3), 35 pages.
Bowles, M., Adams, R., and Toth, P. D. (2014). A comparison of L2-L2 and L2-heritage learner interactions in Spanish language classrooms. The Modern Language Journal 98(2) 497-517.
Toth P. D. and Guijarro-Fuentes, P. (2013) The impact of instruction on second-language implicit knowledge: Evidence against encapsulation. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34(4), 1163-1193
Toth, P. D., Wagner, E. M., and Moranski, K. (2013). “Co-constructing” explicit L2 knowledge with high school learners through guided induction. Applied Linguistics 34(3), 279-303.
Wagner, E. and Toth, P. D. (2013). Building explicit L2 Spanish knowledge through guided induction in small-group and whole-class interaction. In K. McDonough and A. Mackey (Eds.) Second language interaction in diverse educational contexts. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (pp. 89-108).
Toth, P. D. Output-based instructional approaches. (2012). In C. Chapelle. (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0890
Toth, P. D. (2011). Teacher- and learner-led discourse in task-based grammar instruction: Providing procedural assistance for L2 morphosyntactic development. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Best of Language Learning Series: Vol 7. Task Based Language Learning (pp. 141-188). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. (Reprinted from Language Learning 58(2), 237-283.)
Toth, P. D. (2011). Social and cognitive factors in making teacher-led classroom discourse relevant for L2 grammatical development. The Modern Language Journal 95(1), 1-25.
Toth, P. D. (2010). Relevance, cohesion and the sociocognition of form-focused, teacher-led L2 discourse. In R. Batstone (Ed.), Sociocognitive perspectives on language use and language learning (pp. 186-209). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Toth, P. D. (2008). Teacher- and learner-led discourse in task-based grammar instruction: Providing procedural assistance for L2 morphosyntactic development. Language Learning 58(2), 237-283.
Toth, P. D. and Garritano, A. (2008). La retroalimentación implícita por medio de «contraejemplos» en una clase de español como lengua extranjera (Implicit feedback through “recasts” in a Spanish foreign language class.) Hispania 91(1), 124-138.
Toth, P. D. (2006). Processing Instruction and a role for output in second language acquisition. Language Learning 56, 319-385. (Winner of ACTFL Paul Pimsleur Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Education Research, September 2007)
Toth, P. D. (Dec. 10-11, 2005). I didn’t want to be gay, but finally accepted myself. The Capital Times [Madison, WI], p. 11A
Toth, P. D. (2005). [Review of the book Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary. Ed. by B. VanPatten]. Language Teaching Research 9(2), 223-226.
Toth, P. D. (2004). When grammar instruction undermines cohesion in L2 Spanish classroom discourse. The Modern Language Journal 88(1), 14-30.
Toth, P. D. (2003). Psych verbs and morphosyntactic development in instructed L2 Spanish. In S. Montrul & F. Ordóñez (Eds.), Linguistic theory and language development in Hispanic languages: Papers from the 5th Hispanic linguistics symposium and the 4th conference on the acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese (pp. 468-497). Sommervile, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Toth, P. D. (2000). The interaction of instruction and learner-internal factors in the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 22, 169-208. (Winner of ACTFL Paul Pimsleur Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Education Research, September 2002) Toth, P. D. (1999). Preemption in instructed learners of Spanish as a foreign language: Acquiring a rule for SE. Spanish Applied Linguistics 3, 195-246.
Toth, P. D. (in prep.). Grammar instruction and second language development: Explanations and implications from social and cognitive perspectives (Target length: 110,000 words, 350 pages). New York: Routledge. Manuscript due April 2015.
Toth, P. D. and Davin, K. (in prep.) The contributions of linguistic, cognitive, and social theories to second language pedagogical design. Forty-page ms. to be submitted to The Modern Language Journal, January 2015, for publication in the journal’s 2016 centenary commemorative issue.
Since I began university-level teaching in 1991, it has been my privilege to work with students from a variety of social and academic backgrounds in a broad range of courses in my field. I have taught all levels of Spanish language, as well as graduate and undergraduate courses on second language acquisition, linguistics, and pedagogy. In graduate courses, I aim to help learners understand the scope of inquiry and evaluate the investigative tools that different theoretical approaches offer. Through our assignments and discussions, I encourage students to explore the implications of research for language teaching and learning in light of the cognitive, social, and linguistic factors involved. Meanwhile, in writing, grammar, and linguistics courses, I favor an inductive approach where learners must draw conclusions about Spanish structure and use based on a range of culturally-authentic sources. Finally, as a language instructor, I am committed to carefully-planned teaching that emphasizes purposeful, accurate interaction for cross-cultural communication. I advocate a task-based, integrative skills approach in line with the ACTFL National Standards, and draw on learner interests, target-language media and community resources as the basis for classroom interaction. I believe that cultural, literary, and popular texts provide not only a rich source of linguistic input for acquisition, but also an ideal point of departure for engaging learners with the diverse world views of Spanish-speaking communities.
Selected Honors and Distinctions
2010-present. Invited member of the National Research Task Force constituted by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages to develop research priorities in foreign language education and disseminate current findings to language teachers.
2010. Temple University College of Liberal Arts Research Award. Assessing learning outcomes for inductive versus deductive Spanish grammar instruction. Value: $5,000 to develop qualitative analytical procedures for classroom interaction data.
2009. Temple University Provost’s Seed Grant Award. (Principal investigator, with Elvis Wagner). Assessing the impact of inductive versus deductive instruction in high school Spanish classes. Value: $44,839 to analyze current data on Spanish instruction and develop plans for future work, 2009-2011.
2009. Temple University Grant-in-Aid and Summer Research Awards. Linguistic development in Spanish learners under deductive and inductive instructed conditions. Value: $7,500 to analyze data on high school Spanish instruction, summer 2009.
2008-present. Invited member of the editorial board for The Modern Language Journal.
2007. Winner of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages / Modern Language Journal Paul Pimsleur Award for excellence in foreign language education research. Award for the article “Processing Instruction and a role for output in second language acquisition.” in Language Learning 56 (2), pp. 319-385.
2002. Winner of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages / Modern Language Journal Paul Pimsleur Award for excellence in foreign language education research. Award for the article “The interaction of instruction and learner-internal factors in the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax” in Studies in Second Language Acquisition 22 (2), pp. 169-208.