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Re: language learners

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  • johnkuti
    I read this at a later stage in my education - the Delta. Sympathised with it, but ended up concluding that it wasn t all that relevant to my students. In
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 2, 2005
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      I read this at a later stage in my education - the Delta. Sympathised
      with it, but ended up concluding that it wasn't all that relevant to
      my students. In Stevick all the successes relate to people with good
      access to native-speakers WHO ARE NOT TEACHERS, ('scuse the raised
      voice) and mostly living in the country where their language is spoken
      and with strong integrative motivation.

      Don't you think it makes the whole TEFL project look questionable?


      --- In dogme@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Haines" <haines@n...> wrote:
      >
      > With the recent thread on Multiple Intelligences and language
      learners still in the back of my mind, I thought I'd point to this
      PDF, a free download of Stevick's book Success With Foreign Languages.
      The series of interviews with language learners about their
      techniques, strategies and experiences is dogmetic to me. I think
      perhaps Jane Arnold has provided the list with this title once before.
      >
      >
      http://www.sil.org/LinguaLinks/LanguageLearning/BooksBackInPrint/SuccessWithForeignLanguages/success.pdf
      >
      > Rob
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • djn@dennisnewson.de
      John, I ve not read the Stevick book Rob referred us to, but from your short comment it reminds me of the linguist-driven foreign language programs set up in
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 2, 2005
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        John,

        I've not read the Stevick book Rob referred us to, but from your short comment it
        reminds me of the linguist-driven foreign language programs set up in the 60s, I
        believe, for the US military and foreign service diplomats. The motivation came from
        their careers, and the model of learning from non-teaching native-speakers was related
        to techniques carried out by linguists doing field studies. I'd say there is verly little (I'd
        rarely say nothing) to be learned by teachers of rebellious teenagers in a tough, inner
        city school in Brazil, for example.

        Dennis
      • Robert M. Haines
        Does this draw the whole TEFL thing into question? (Sorry, I m quoting from memory). I must admit I seldom remember to remember ;-) that many, perhaps most, on
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 2, 2005
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          Does this draw the whole TEFL thing into question? (Sorry, I'm quoting from memory). I must admit I seldom remember to remember ;-) that many, perhaps most, on this list are TEFLers. I wouldn't want to learn Greek here in the U.S. if I knew I could learn it in Greece. Motivation would be my biggest concern outside of not having the cultural surrounding to enhance my language learning. Alas, most of us/our students can't just take off to the country of choice to learn English!

          I've often pondered the rift between TEFL and ESL. Yes, I would draw the whole TEFL thing into question, but I wouldn't stop doing it. ;-)

          Rob

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • djn@dennisnewson.de
          Rob, I think there is more than dichotomy between TEFL & TESOL. (I m quoting from memory, too ...Very dangerous.) As an Anglo I was taught that: EFL = English
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 2, 2005
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            Rob,

            I think there is more than dichotomy between TEFL & TESOL. (I'm quoting from
            memory, too ...Very dangerous.)

            As an Anglo I was taught that:

            EFL = English as a foreign language - as for the French, the Greeks etc. etc.
            ESL = English as a second language - as in many parts of West Africa, for instance,
            where there are several mother tongues, but English is the official language of
            governments, etc.

            There is now ESOL, which sounds to me like a poltically correct form which could apply
            to either EFL or ESL - English to speakers of other languages.

            There are other usages now current. Perhaps someone more knowledgable can
            complete my brief notes.


            What is hding behind these acronyms, of course, are the likely reasons for people
            learning English, their attitudes towards it, their motivation for learning it and so on and
            so forth.


            Dennis
          • Robert M. Haines
            Dennis wrote: What is hding behind these acronyms, of course, are the likely reasons for people learning English, their attitudes towards it, their motivation
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 2, 2005
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              Dennis wrote:
              "What is hding behind these acronyms, of course, are the likely reasons for people learning English, their attitudes towards it, their motivation for learning it and so on and so forth."

              I agree with you. I would add that there seems to be a cultural difference between ESL and EFL in some respects, too. How many in the TESOL world of North America are familiar with the CELTA or the Trinity Cert.? Not many, I would say. The training of ESL teachers, at least in the U.S. is different than that in the U.K. as far as I know. here is also a different perception of English language teachers in the U.S. than In Britain according to the Britons I've talked to about this.

              If teacher training focuses primarily on classroom management and skills lessons, I might develop a different approach than a colleague who has just finished an M.A. TESOL that focused on Chomsky's ideas.

              Rob

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Brian Perkins
              ... True; and when I say that I m internationally certified , the other ESOL teachers I work with (here in the U.S.) look at me as though I m certifiably
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 2, 2005
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                Robert wrote:

                > How many in the TESOL world of North America are familiar with the CELTA or the Trinity Cert.?

                True; and when I say that I'm "internationally certified", the other ESOL teachers I work with (here in the U.S.) look at me as though I'm certifiably insane! The worst part is that the school systems here don't recognize the CELTA as having an ounce of value and I've even had coworkers and other "professionals" ask me, "So where's the University of Cambridge, somewhere in Connecticut isn't it?" Yet, in some schools, people with absolutely no training in subsequent-language teaching/acquisition are paid to torture (Oops! Er, uh, I mean "teach") children who are just trying to learn.


                > The training of ESL teachers, at least in the U.S. is different than that in the U.K. as far as I know.

                Right, and when I began my BA, I couldn't find ANY colleges or universities (not one) in the U.S. with a BA TESOL. So, I contacted universities in Canada, the U.K., and Australia to find out the criteria for a Bachelor's in TESOL. Then, I found a university here which allowed me to do a student-planned "major" and I completed comparable courses which satisfied the major criteria from the other countries. My degree is not a BA TESOL, but it is a BA Liberal Studies with a CONCENTRATION in TESOL/Applied Linguistics.
              • johnkuti
                How do you like this for a paradox? A lot of EFL teachers have had experiences similar to Stevick s successful learners..(picking up a language by having fun
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 8, 2005
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                  How do you like this for a paradox? A lot of EFL teachers have had
                  experiences similar to Stevick's successful learners..(picking up a
                  language by having fun with the locals in a beautiful and interesting
                  place they have chosen to live in) This unfortunately is irrelevant to
                  their students' problems (trying to learn a language which began in a
                  far away and not very interesting culture) . At the same time a lot of
                  ESL teachers have never had these experiences although they would be
                  directly applicable to their professional situation (helping people
                  like the ones in Stevick's book.)

                  John

                  --- In dogme@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Haines" <haines@n...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Dennis wrote:
                  > "What is hding behind these acronyms, of course, are the likely
                  reasons for people learning English, their attitudes towards it, their
                  motivation for learning it and so on and so forth."
                  >
                  > I agree with you. I would add that there seems to be a cultural
                  difference between ESL and EFL in some respects, too. How many in the
                  TESOL world of North America are familiar with the CELTA or the
                  Trinity Cert.? Not many, I would say. The training of ESL teachers, at
                  least in the U.S. is different than that in the U.K. as far as I know.
                  here is also a different perception of English language teachers in
                  the U.S. than In Britain according to the Britons I've talked to about
                  this.
                  >
                  > If teacher training focuses primarily on classroom management and
                  skills lessons, I might develop a different approach than a colleague
                  who has just finished an M.A. TESOL that focused on Chomsky's ideas.
                  >
                  > Rob
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Robert M. Haines
                  John, you write: How do you like this for a paradox? A lot of EFL teachers have had experiences similar to Stevick s successful learners..(picking up a
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 8, 2005
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                    John, you write:

                    "How do you like this for a paradox? A lot of EFL teachers have had experiences similar to Stevick's successful learners..(picking up a language by having fun with the locals in a beautiful and interesting place they have chosen to live in) This unfortunately is irrelevant to their students' problems (trying to learn a language which began in a
                    far away and not very interesting culture) ."

                    Not sure it's entirely irrelevant to their learners' situation, but it is different. Definitely something to consider.

                    Then, you write:

                    "At the same time a lot of ESL teachers have never had these experiences although they would be directly applicable to their professional situation (helping people like the ones in Stevick's book.)"

                    I have the impression most ESL teachers have had these experiences, which is often the impetus for their becoming ESL teachers. In fact, most ESL teachers I know speak a second language, which they learned while living in another country. The second part of your paradox doesn't apply to my professional experience in ESL. It would be interesting to learn more about how you've come to this observation.

                    Rob

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • johnkuti
                    ... experiences similar to Stevick s successful learners..(picking up a language by having fun with the locals in a beautiful and interesting place they have
                    Message 9 of 10 , Dec 8, 2005
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                      --- In dogme@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Haines" <haines@n...> wrote:
                      >
                      > John, you write:
                      >
                      > "How do you like this for a paradox? A lot of EFL teachers have had
                      experiences similar to Stevick's successful learners..(picking up a
                      language by having fun with the locals in a beautiful and interesting
                      place they have chosen to live in) This unfortunately is irrelevant to
                      their students' problems (trying to learn a language which began in a
                      > far away and not very interesting culture) ."
                      >
                      > Not sure it's entirely irrelevant to their learners' situation, but
                      it is different. Definitely something to consider.
                      >
                      > Then, you write:
                      >
                      > "At the same time a lot of ESL teachers have never had these
                      experiences although they would be directly applicable to their
                      professional situation (helping people like the ones in Stevick's book.)"
                      >
                      > I have the impression most ESL teachers have had these experiences,
                      which is often the impetus for their becoming ESL teachers. In fact,
                      most ESL teachers I know speak a second language, which they learned
                      while living in another country. The second part of your paradox
                      doesn't apply to my professional experience in ESL. It would be
                      interesting to learn more about how you've come to this observation.
                      >
                      > Rob
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      Dear Rob,
                      Sorry..I was just passing off a bit of pure theorising as statistics.

                      You're probably right about ESl teachers. Of course there are also
                      resolutely monolingual TEFL teachers who have spent years trotting
                      round the world in a bubble. What I was thinking of, more
                      theoretically, was the way a lot of us are working in spaces that, for
                      one reason or another, are not addressed by the main parts of the
                      language-teaching industry...(which I think are...)

                      coursebooks that present the English-speaking world but don't say
                      anything interesting.
                      teaching methodology that was designed for multi-L1 classes located
                      geographically inside the English-speaking world.
                      linguists who document the language learning experiences of people
                      without coursebooks or teachers.

                      When I try to focus on who and where my own real classes are, I keep
                      coming to the conclusion that not much useful guidance is available.
                      Niether from my own experience nor from the literature.

                      john.
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