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Rebecca Sachs, PhD


Associate Professor
TESOL and Applied Linguistics Program Chair

Dr. Rebecca Sachs is the Program Chair of TESOL and Applied Linguistics and an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Virginia International University, where she teaches courses on linguistics, language acquisition, curriculum and materials design, pedagogical grammar, individual differences, and research methods, as well as the TESOL practicum. Prior to joining VIU, Dr. Sachs taught in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University and the MA TESOL program at American University. She has also worked in the field of language testing and has several years of experience teaching English as an additional language in both university intensive English programs and community settings.

At VIU, Dr. Sachs co-organizes the Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture, as well as the Voices from the Field speaker series, and serves as Chair of the Academic Integrity Committee, Chair of the Institutional Review Board, Chair of the Faculty Rank Committee, and Secretary of the Faculty Assembly. Much of her research explores the role of individual differences in language learners’ depth of processing, awareness of linguistic phenomena, and language development under different instructional conditions (e.g., with different types of feedback or levels of cognitive task complexity). She has also performed studies to evaluate the validity of various research methods, such as measures of awareness and operationalizations of cognitive task complexity, and is currently conducting research on teacher cognition. She presents regularly at conferences such as AAAL and SLRF and has published her work in a variety of edited collections and in journals such as Language Learning, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Journal of Second Language Studies, and The Modern Language Journal.

Ph.D. in Linguistics, Georgetown University

M.A. in TESOL, Michigan State University

B.A. in Foreign Languages and Communication Disorders, Boston University

Individual differences in language learning

  • Cognitive aptitudes (e.g., grammatical sensitivity, working memory, metalinguistic knowledge)
  • Motivation
  • Aptitude-treatment interactions

Attention, awareness, and learners’ thought processes

  • Explicit and implicit learning and knowledge
  • Depth of processing

Effectiveness of different forms of corrective feedback in various contexts

  • Second language writing
  • Computer-assisted language instruction
  • Spoken interaction during communicative tasks
  • Computer-mediated communication

Task-based language teaching

  • Effects of cognitive task complexity on learners’ attentional processes and learning outcomes

Teacher cognition

  • Relationships between knowledge, beliefs, and practices
  • Influence of teacher-education programs

Research methods

  • Triangulation in mixed-methods research
  • Introspective measures
  • Veridicality and reactivity of methods of assessing implicit and explicit knowledge
  • Independent validation of construct operationalizations
  • APLX 500 Introduction to Language and Applied Linguistics
  • APLX 510 Introduction to Language Acquisition
  • APLX 540 Language Curriculum Materials and Design
  • APLX 615 Pedagogical Grammar for Communicative Classrooms
  • APLX 655 Individual Differences in Language Acquisition
  • APLX 665 TESOL Practicum
  • EDUC 640 Introduction to Research Methods

Sachs, R., Akiyama, Y., & Nakatsukasa, K. (forthcoming, 2019). The value of introspective measures in aptitude-treatment interaction research: A window on individual differences in action. Journal of Second Language Studies.

Sachs, R. (forthcoming). Reviewing manuscripts for academic journals. In L. Plonsky (Ed.), Professional development in applied linguistics: A guide to success for graduate students and early career faculty. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Sachs, R., & Nakatsukasa, K. (2019). Aptitude-treatment interactions in depth of processing: Individual differences and prior knowledge predict learners’ approaches to computer-mediated activities. In R. P. Leow (Ed.), Routledge handbook of second language research in classroom learning (pp. 422-437). New York: Routledge.

Nagle, C., Sachs, R., & Zárate-Sández, G. (2018). Exploring the intersection between teachers’ beliefs and research findings in pronunciation instruction. Modern Language Journal, 102(3), 512-532. doi: 10.1111/modl.12493

Hamrick, P., & Sachs, R. (2018). Establishing evidence of learning in experiments employing artificial linguistic systems. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(1), 153-169. doi:10.1017/S0272263116000474

Petersen, K., & Sachs, R. (2015). The language classroom in the age of networked learning. In R. P. Leow, L. Cerezo, & M. Baralt (Eds.), A psycholinguistic approach to technology and language learning (pp. 3-22). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Rebuschat, P., Hamrick, P., Riestenberg, K., Sachs, R., & Ziegler, N. (2015). Triangulating measures of awareness: A contribution to the debate on learning without awareness. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 37(2), 299-334. doi:10.1017/S0272263115000145

Révész, A., Sachs, R., & Hama, M. (2014). The effects of task complexity and input frequency on the acquisition of the past counterfactual construction through recasts. Language Learning, 64(3), 615-650. doi:10.1111/lang.12061

Rebuschat, P., Hamrick, P., Sachs, R., Riestenberg, K., & Ziegler, N. (2013). Implicit and explicit knowledge of form-meaning connections: Evidence from subjective measures of awareness. In J. M. Bergsleithner, S. N. Frota, & J. K. Yoshioka (Eds.), Noticing and second language acquisition: Studies in honor of Richard Schmidt (pp. 255-275). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i at Manoa, National Foreign Language Resource Center.

Mackey, A., & Sachs, R. (2012). Older learners in SLA research: A first look at working memory, feedback, and L2 development. Language Learning, 62(3), 704-740. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011.00649.x

Révész, A., Sachs, R., & Mackey, A. (2011). Task complexity, uptake of recasts, and second language development. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Second language task complexity: Researching the Cognition Hypothesis of language learning and performance (pp. 203-235). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Dickinson, M., Eom, S., Kang, Y., Lee, C.M., & Sachs, R. (2008). A balancing act: How can intelligent computer-generated feedback be provided in learner-to-learner interactions? Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(5), 369-382. doi:10.1080/09588220802343702

Sachs, R., & Suh, B-R. (2007). Textually enhanced recasts, learner awareness, and L2 outcomes in synchronous computer-mediated interaction. In A. Mackey (Ed.), Conversational interaction and second language acquisition: A series of empirical studies (pp. 197-227). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sachs, R., & Polio, C. (2007). Learners’ uses of two types of written feedback on a L2 writing revision task. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 29(1), 67-100. doi:10.1017/S0272263107070039

Sachs, R., Nakatsukasa, K., & Akiyama, Y. (2019, Sept). The value of introspective measures in aptitude-treatment interaction research: Individual differences and depth of processing. Colloquium: Depth of processing in instructed SLA: The value of mixed methods across multiple strands of research (Organizer: R. P. Leow). Second Language Research Forum. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Záráte-Sández, G., Nagle, C., & Sachs, R. (2019, June). What do teachers believe about pronunciation instruction? Recommendations for teacher training and professional development. 11th International Language Teacher Education Conference. Minneapolis, MN.

Sachs, R., & Hamrick, P. (2019, April). Internal validity issues in implicit learning research. Guest lecture for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University. Mortara Center, Washington, DC.

Sachs, R., Hamrick, P., & Leow, R. (2018, Oct). Challenges in importing methods from cognitive science into SLA: How to reduce the reactivity of subjective measures of awareness? Second Language Research Forum. Montreal, Canada.

Sachs, R., & Martin, K. (2018, April). Making research matter: Motivated inquiry for actionable insights. Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture. Virginia International University, Fairfax, VA.

Sachs, R., Hamrick, P., Leow, R., & McCormick, T. (2018, March). Improving the validity of subjective measures of awareness: A focus on veridicality and reactivity. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Chicago, IL.

Nagle, C. L., Zárate-Sández, G., & Sachs, R. (2018, Feb). What’s research got to do with it? The relationship between research findings and teaching practices in Spanish pronunciation instruction. Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Sachs, R., & Martin, K. (2017, April). Enhancing and advancing teacher education: Professional identities, communities, beliefs, and practices. Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture. Virginia International University, Fairfax, VA.

Sachs, R., Nakatsukasa, K., & Akiyama, Y. (2017, March). Deep processing does not always mean more learning: The mediating role of cognitive individual differences for successful and unsuccessful learners. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Portland, OR.

Nagle, C. L., Zárate-Sández, G., & Sachs, R. (2017, March). Teachers’ and learners’ evolving beliefs on pronunciation instruction. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Portland, OR.

Sachs, R., Nakatsukasa, K., & Akiyama, Y. (2016, Sept). Aptitude-treatment interactions in feedback processing: Individual differences, cognitive processes, and learning under different instructional conditions. Second Language Research Forum. Teachers College, Columbia University, NY.

Sachs, R. (2016, Aug). Are you testing what you think you are testing? Building an internal validity focus into your research design. Research and Educational Summit. Virginia International University, Fairfax, VA.

Sachs, R., & Hamrick, P. (2016, April). Appropriate baselines and control groups in (semi-)artificial language learning experiments. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Orlando, FL.

Sachs, R., & Hamrick, P. (2015, Oct). Using subjective measures to investigate the acquisition of implicit/explicit knowledge in aptitude-treatment interactions with feedback. Second Language Research Forum. Georgia State University. Atlanta, GA.

Sachs, R., & Nagle, C. (2014, Oct). Demystifying pronunciation instruction for pre-service language teachers: An action research project. Second Language Research Forum. University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Riestenberg, K., Sachs, R., Ziegler, N., Hamrick, P., & Rebuschat, P. (2013, Oct). Triangulating measures of awareness: Source attributions, confidence ratings, concurrent think-alouds, and post-exposure interviews. Second Language Research Forum. Provo, UT.

Sachs, R., Hamrick, P., Rebuschat, P., Riestenberg, K., & Ziegler, N. (2013, March). Learners’ implicit and explicit knowledge of form-meaning connections: Evidence from subjective measures. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Dallas, TX.

Révész, A., Sachs, R., & Hama, M. (2013, March). Eye-tracking as a means of investigating task-based cognitive processes. Colloquium: Methodological advances in TBLT research: Measurement of task demands and processes. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Dallas, TX.

Rebuschat, P., Hamrick, P., Sachs, R., Ziegler, N., & Riestenberg, K. (2012, Oct). Using subjective measures to distinguish implicit and explicit knowledge: A contribution to the Williams-Leow debate. Second Language Research Forum. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

Révész, A., Sachs, R., & Hama, M. (2012, March). The effects of task complexity, type-token frequency, and individual differences on the acquisition of past counterfactuals. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Boston, MA.

Sachs, R., & Weger, H. (2012, March). Differing relationships among aptitudes, motivations, and L2 outcomes across different instructional conditions. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics. Washington, DC.

Weger, H., & Sachs, R. (2011, Oct). Motivation and effort in the comparison group: A factor in studies of L2 feedback? Second Language Research Forum. Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

Sachs, R. (2010, Oct). Aptitude-treatment interactions in an experimental study of visual feedback on reflexive binding. Colloquium: Aptitude and individual differences in SLA (Organizer: R. M. DeKeyser). Second Language Research Forum. University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

Sachs, R. (2010, March). Can visual diagrams help L2 Japanese students learn to interpret sentences with reflexives? American Association for Applied Linguistics. Atlanta, GA.

Sachs, R. (2010, Jan). Trees as feedback: Can phrase-structure diagrams help L2 learners with reflexive binding? Linguistic Society of America. Baltimore, MD.

Goo, J., Hama, M., & Sachs, R. (2009, Sept). Tasks, interaction, and working memory. Task-Based Language Teaching. Lancaster, UK.

Kang, Y., Dickinson, M., Eom, S., Lee, C. M., & Sachs, R. (2009, April). Developing intelligent online materials for Korean. National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages. Madison, WI.

Révész, A., & Sachs, R. (2009, March). Task complexity, uptake of recasts, and L2 development. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Denver, CO.

Sachs, R., & Hama, M. (2008, Aug). Elderly Latino immigrants learning English in the US: Interactional feedback, working memory, and modified output. 15th World Congress of Applied Linguistics. Essen, Germany.

Dickinson, M., Kang, Y., Sachs, R., Eom, S., & Lee, C. M. (2008, March). Integrating ICALL into synchronous CMC. Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium. University of San Francisco, CA.

Dickinson, M., Sachs, R., Eom, S., Kang, Y., & Lee, C. M. (2007, Dec). Can intelligent computer-generated feedback be provided in learner-to-learner interactions? Interfaces of Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning. University of Waterloo, Canada.

Dickinson, M., Sachs, R., Eom, S., Kang, Y., & Lee, C. M. (2007, Oct). Pushing the limits of traditional computer-assisted instruction: Traditional vs. intelligent computer-generated feedback in synchronous CMC. Second Language Research Forum. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL.

Sachs, R., & Hama, M. (2007, Sept). Working memory, interactive language production, and L2 development among elderly ESL learners. International Symposium on Processability, Bilingualism, and Second Language Acquisition. Gateshead, UK.

Sachs, R. (2007, Sept). Awareness constraints on the effectiveness of corrective feedback. 17th Conference of the European Second Language Association. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

Sachs, R., & Suh, B-R. (2006, June). Reactivity of concurrent think-alouds in synchronous computer-mediated L2 interaction. American Association for Applied Linguistics. Montreal, Canada.

Sachs, R., & Pogoriler, A. (2005, Oct). Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about student languages and high-stakes standardized testing. East Coast Organization of Language Testers. The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Sachs, R., & Suh, B-R. (2005, Oct). Textually enhanced recasts in synchronous CMC: Awareness and L2 development. Second Language Research Forum. Teachers College, Columbia University, NY.

Sachs, R., & Pogoriler, A. (2005, Oct). Levels of awareness and L3 learning: A think-aloud protocol analysis. Second Language Research Forum. Teachers College, Columbia University, NY.

Professor of the Year, Virginia International University (2013-2014)

  • American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL)
  • Washington DC Area TESOL (WATESOL)
  • Chair, Academic Integrity Committee
  • Chair, Institutional Review Board
  • Chair, Faculty Rank Committee
  • Secretary, Faculty Assembly
  • Member, School of Education Admissions Committee
  • Member, General Education Advisory Board
  • Member, School of Language Studies Advisory Board
  • Co-Organizer, Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture
  • Co-Organizer, Voices from the Field Speaker Series

Virginia International University

School of Education

4401 Village Drive Second Floor

Fairfax, VA 22030

 

rsachs@viu.edu