Didactics - Final lecture
English did not become a language of any importance until relatively late - élite spoke French - not as yet an economic powerhouse. Mass language learning stems from need. First textbooks aimed at a market of merchants. Dialogues to be learnt by heart, - the Catechistic method - centred on the kind of situation that the travelling businessman might encounter. Text books often multilingual. Grammar of modern languages little developed - functional approach to language teaching.Development of EFL in 16thC - Elizabeth invites in foreign skilled tradesmen - persecution of Protestants in France after 1572. Jacques Bellot - one of the first teachers of EFL. Approach rooted in daily life of immigrants - need to be able not only to speak, but also to read and write.
A further influx of Protestants after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 renewed need for EFL. Guy Miège brought out his New Method in 1685 - with a grammar, a dictionary and a set of dialogues.
Early 18thC - interest in the language on the continent - first among neighbouring countries, then spreading. This was both because England was beginning to become a commercial power, and because it was looked upon as a source of enlightened ideas in theology and in philosophy - the English have both something to sell, and something to say. English also penetrates the wider world through colonial expansion, opening up needs and new markets - John Miller's textbook for Bengal.
In 18thC the language becomes standardized - grammars and dictionaries appear, thus providing material for a teaching apparatus founded on the teaching of classical languages - higher status.
Then the modern period - development of the school as a mass institution, and the divorce of modern language teaching from immediate concerns. Recognition that language teaching under these conditions could be boring and inefficient lead to demands for reform through the 19thC, and for a greater degree of professionalism. Theoreticians such as Claude Marcel revolted against the Grammar-translation method, turning to the 'object-lessons' of Pestalozzi. Learning through listening - François Gouin - allies monologues to action - cutting both into short phrases within a sequence.
The Reform Movement - primacy of oral over written language - importance of phonetics - and the demand for sense - the connected text, rather than disconnected sentences.
Move to WWII - need to teach languages to American servicemen - practices based on behaviourist approach to learning and upon Bloomfieldian linguistics - rote learning of basic structures - audio-lingual method. This method came in for criticism in 60s - boring and inefficient. Put the learner and his needs at the centre of our approach. Identification of these needs.
Importance of Chomsky's theoretical
Children learn because they are programmed to do so - there is a special structure in the brain.
Krashen - used Chomsky's theory to build his own theory of EFL
Went on to criticize Krashen's formulations - work of Anderson, who looks at EFL from a cognitive standpoint. The learner goes through three stages -
Gagné, in same tradition - but - rules are not those of grammar books, but ones that the learner constructs for himself. This process of rule-construction has been typified by Selinker as interlanguage - the learner constructs a series of grammars, each of which is relatively consistent, but will be replaced by a further interlanguage which approaches the target model more closely, until in the end, the learner's language will, in almost all cases, fossilize at a particular level.
From this point of view, it is necessary for the learner to make errors. It is through his errors that the learner progresses. However, we need to distinguish various types of error
Krashen's input hypothesis has also been strongly criticized. First of all, it is not clear what he means by 'comprehensible' input. There is a danger that the idea might lead to oversimplification of the language offered in some language classrooms
Second, Krashen suggests that output plays no role in language acquisition. This can be contested on two counts
A number of observers have suggested that the need to negotiate meaning, and particularly demands for clarification on the part of an interlocutor, leads to greater progress. This can only occur if the learner is encouraged to use the language.
Krashen's scepticism concerning grammar teaching has also been the subject of sharp criticism. The empirical evidence is inconclusive. Certainly, formal grammar teaching does not appear to make such a difference as to justify a large number of classroom hours spent on it, however, it can help with some errors - particularly those where input will provide no direct clues.
The human brain is an enormously complex organism. However, there is now some consensus that
Development may not be unitary - Gardner suggests that we possess seven different types of intelligence, and that each of them has their own developmental pathway. Anderson, on the other hand, holds that although there may well be numerous different processing modules, they are all united by a basic processor, the speed of which differs from one individual to another, and is the deciding factor in differences in intelligence.
How do young people actually develop? Most modern answers to this question take Jean Piaget as their springboard. Piaget believed that all children developed through three basic stages
He believed that, by and large, any normal child would go through these stages automatically, if allowed freedom of movement and freedom to play - interaction with adults is of little fundamental importance.
Vygotsky, on the other hand, believed that the role of others was crucial - this is because learning takes place in the 'zone of optimal development', which refers to those activities of which the child is capable if he is given the help and guidance of another - whether an adult or a peer. Vygotsky also saw language as central to cognitive development, whereas Piaget appeared to see it as somewhat peripheral.
Looking more closely at the adolescent, we remark that the arrival at secondary school tends to coincide with the onset of puberty. Puberty is a moment of great change and rearrangement of the body and of emotional life. Children suddenly shoot up to adult height, and develop fully adult characteristics, whereas the school and society continue to treat them as if they were infants. Differences in the onset of puberty, both between the sexes and within the same sex may have consequences for character development - early into puberty - happier and more extroverted.At same time, young person is beginning to think in more universal terms, and is capable of taking on the role of the other. This leads to the possible development of a highly ideological view of the world.
The adolescent finds herself within the school system gradually removed from the domain of the family. The self is judged in its relations both to the school system, as represented by marks, teachers' judgements, conseil de classes and so on, and to the peer group.
We saw how the school can be seen as simply reproducing the divisions that already exist in society. Working class children tend to have different school careers from middle-class children, and the latter leave with a higher level of qualification than the former.
However, we also saw that the school itself can
affect outcomes. Some schools are better than others, and some teachers are
better than others. How you become and remain one of the latter is a matter
both simple and complex. It is simple, in that the answer is damned hard
pounding. It is complex in that the matter to be pounded is infinite in its
variety : your subject matter, your school, your pupils and the society they
live in - and, perhaps most of all, and most difficult to realize, your self.
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