Putting language teaching puzzle pieces together

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<ul><li><p>RUNNING HEAD: Putting Language Teaching Pieces Together 1 </p><p>Putting Language Teaching Pieces Together </p><p>By Prof. Jonathan Acua Solano Monday, April 27, 2015 </p><p>Twitter: @jonacuso Post 155 </p><p>The classroom seems to be a great place to start ones language learning, but the </p><p>fact is that it is never enough. Learning a second language is a complex process that </p><p>involves an infinite number of variables that cannot be accounted for or even covered </p><p>within the boundaries of a classroom. To succeed in his/her field, a language instructor </p><p>needs to fully comprehend what learning entails: Understanding differences between the </p><p>L1 and L2, the purpose behind a students desire to learn a second language, and </p><p>comprehending what the teaching of a language encases. </p><p>Since SLA implies multiple variables that directly affect the student as well as the </p><p>teacher, the language instructor needs to know and understand the most relevant </p><p>differences between the students L1 and the target language. Within a monolingual </p><p>context in which students in class speak the same language, the teacher should know </p><p>what some of the predictable linguistic situations are bound to happen in class are. Based </p><p>on what is meant to be covered according to a course outline or curriculum-, they system </p></li><li><p>Putting Language Teaching Pieces Together 2 </p><p>in which the target language operates needs to be somehow explained to learners: its </p><p>phonemic structure, the way discourse is built to convey meaning, the semantic </p><p>differences that students can face if language interference comes along the way, etc. </p><p>Knowing some of the variables behind language learning can make ones teaching </p><p>smoother and more profitable for ones students. </p><p>If variables are important when teaching and learning a foreign language, </p><p>visualizing student motivation to acquire the target language is also a must. If dealing </p><p>with adult learners, one gets to understand that they may have extrinsic motivation </p><p>related to work readiness and/or performance. Helping students materialize those motifs </p><p>can be a way to satisfy their learning expectations while they are sitting on ones class. </p><p>On the other hand, learners can also walk into ones classrooms with a high intrinsic </p><p>motivation to learn the target language. Potentiating their inner desire to master the </p><p>language can also lead to profitable language learning that students can later on </p><p>experience in their day-to-day life. Discovering those motivational pieces is also part of </p><p>being a language teacher. </p><p>Once the motivational puzzle has been put together, comprehending what </p><p>language teaching encases is transcendental, too. The first important differentiation a </p><p>language teacher must make is that language and communication are not the same thing. </p><p>Regular dictionary definitions tend to confuse both terms since language incases </p><p>communication, but also phonology, proxemics, phonetics, semantics, non-verbal </p><p>communication, and so on. All of these elements cannot be put aside when a language </p><p>class is planned; they must be included as part of the language learning continuum that </p><p>takes place within the classroom every time one gets together with the students. </p><p>Instructors necessity to profoundly comprehend what language and language teaching </p><p>encompass is part of the multi-variable, complex process that acquiring a second </p><p>language implies. </p><p>SLA studies, theories, and teaching paradigms contribute to the understanding of </p><p>what teaching and learning a language is. Ones understanding of the components of </p><p>language will determine to a large extend how one teaches a language (Williams &amp; </p></li><li><p>Putting Language Teaching Pieces Together 3 </p><p>Burden, 1997). By this time, one does not need to understand that one needs to become </p><p>a master linguist (Williams &amp; Burden, 1997); this simply makes one reflect upon the </p><p>necessity of going beyond our pedagogical and/or andragogic training to explore what is </p><p>involved in the learning of a foreign language, how linguistics fits into ones teaching </p><p>beliefs and practices to benefit language learning in class. </p><p>As outlined here, language instruction and learning also need to be backed up by </p><p>some sort of methodology or theory of instruction. As pointed by Bruner (1966b 40-41, </p><p>quoted by Williams &amp; Burden, 1997), the theory instruction should include: 1) the </p><p>necessary experiences to foster learning, 2) the ways in which knowledge is going to be </p><p>conveyed for learners to grasp, and 3) the most effective sequence in which the subject-</p><p>matter needs to be introduced. With all these elements in mind, one can become a great </p><p>teaching practitioner with lots of fulfilled, satisfied, motivated learners. </p><p> Williams, M. &amp; Burden, R. (1997). Psychology for language teachers. Cambridge: </p><p>Cambridge University Press. </p></li></ul>