Kinginger’s interpretation of the research represents an endorsement of the great potential of study abroad, balanced with several limitations and caveats. Kinginger argues that while study abroad generally results in increased proficiency and oral fluency, slightly superior to gains resulting from at-home formal study, one should note the design flaws of many studies such as lack of a true control group as well as reliance on monologic, situation-less tasks to measure language gains, even in the areas of discursive, pragmatic, and sociocultural competencies. Kinginger also notes that opportunities for learning language and cultural through interactions with native speakers can be limited, even stymied, by the unwillingness or inability of interlocutors to manage differences in conversational expectations, cultural norms, and personal identities. One of the main thrusts of the book seems to be challenging the pervasive belief that study abroad is a quick fix or cure all for second language learners. Another thrust is encouraging future researchers to deal with the limitations of the research to date by exploring new geographic regions, pursuing more mixed-method (qualitative with quantitative) approaches, and giving a voice to native participants that is equally as valued as the students’ perspectives.
Copyright © 2011, Cambridge University Press. The definitive version is available at: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=SLA.
Kissling, Elizabeth M. "Rev. of Language Learning and Study Abroad: A Critical Reading of the Research by Celeste Kinginger." Studies in Second Language Aquisition 33, no. 4 (December 2011): 633-34. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0272263111000398.
Kissling, Elizabeth M., "Language Learning and Study Abroad: A Critical Reading of the Research (Review)" (2011). Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies Faculty Publications. 21.