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On Knowing a Language1 Today Find out your own beliefs about language learning and teaching Start Chapter 1: What is it to know a language? Standards used.

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Presentation on theme: "On Knowing a Language1 Today Find out your own beliefs about language learning and teaching Start Chapter 1: What is it to know a language? Standards used."— Presentation transcript:

1 On Knowing a Language1 Today Find out your own beliefs about language learning and teaching Start Chapter 1: What is it to know a language? Standards used to determine language proficiency

2 On Knowing a Language2 Instructor’s role in Developing Good Language Learners (Reiss, 1983) Inform students honestly of the amount of work involved and the benefits Create a comfortable classroom climate in which students feel comfortable and involved Help students develop a cognitive style that is conductive to language learning Personalize language instruction whenever possible in order to motivate students Ask students to monitor each other to make them an active part of the language teaching Present all material in a meaningful manner

3 On Knowing a Language3 The good language teacher (Mollica and Nuessel, 1997) Out-of-class Roles Researcher Planner Manager Advocate Organizer Evaluator Communicator In-class Roles Teacher Motivator Evaluator Facilitator Innovator Communicator Disciplinarian

4 On Knowing a Language4 The Good Language Learner (Stern, 1975; Rubin, 1975) Has a personal learning style or uses positive learning strategies Has an active approach to language learning Has a strong drive to communicate and learn from communication. He is willing to do many things to get his message across Practices Attends to meaning Attends to form and monitors her own speech and that of others

5 On Knowing a Language5 The Learner’s Role (Cook, 1991) Find a learning style that suits you Involve yourself in the language learning process Develop an awareness of language both as system and communication Pay consistent attention to expanding your language Take into account the demands that L2 learning poses

6 On Knowing a Language6 Proficiency: a common goal Not a theory of language acquisition Not a method of language teaching Not a curricular outline or syllabus Not a concern with grammar accuracy

7 On Knowing a Language7 Proficiency? Expertise Competence Ability Polished Performance High-level Skill Well-developed Knowledge

8 On Knowing a Language8 Being proficient For the medical doctor For the businessman For the tourist For the linguist

9 On Knowing a Language9 Proficiency for the linguist Phonetics: knowledge of sounds in terms of production and perception Phonology:knowledge of the sound system Syntax: knowledge of the organization of words into larger structures, particularly sentences Semantics: knowledge of the meanings of words and sentences Pragmatics: knowledge of language use

10 On Knowing a Language10 Competence vs. Performance (Chomsky, 1965) Competence: what a person knows we have the ability to distinguish between “grammatical” and “ungrammatical” expressions, as well as recognize ambiguity. We are capable of judging sentences we have never heard before! Performance: what a person can actually produce we tend not to produce what is in our ‘competence’ because of memory limitations, distractions, errors, false starts, etc.

11 On Knowing a Language11 Problems with the competence vs. performance distinction Limited to grammatical compentence Does not include notions of Appropriateness in the use of language, i.e. context sociocultural significance

12 On Knowing a Language12 Communicative competence Concept coined by Hymes in the 60s who expressed the need to have a “sociolinguistic and contextual competence” as well as “grammatical competence” 70s Campbell and Wales: grammatical vs. communicative competence

13 On Knowing a Language13 Communicative vs. grammatical competence: Criticisms Distinction forces the following assumptions: Grammatical and communicative competence need to be developed separately Grammatical competence is not an essential component of communicative competence “Communicative competence may be defined as the ability to function in a truly communicative setting-that is, in a dynamic exchange in which linguistic competence must adapt itself to the total informational input, both linguistic and paralinguistic, of one or more interlocutors” (Sauvignon 1972, p.8)

14 On Knowing a Language14 Communicative Competence: A framework (Canale and Swain, 1980 ) grammatical competence: mastery of the linguistic code sociolinguistic competence: ability to use language appropriately in different contexts and shift registers discourse competence: ability to be cohesive and coherent strategic competence: use of verbal and non- verbal strategies to compensate for the gaps in knowledge

15 On Knowing a Language15 Summary Competence vs. Performance Communicative vs. Grammatical competence Communicative Competence

16 On Knowing a Language16 Assessing Proficiency: The past Need for a national standard 50s Common Yardstick by Educational Testing Service (ETS) 70s Common Yardstick by Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) 80s American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)

17 On Knowing a Language17 Assessing Proficiency:The present ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines Global tasks/functions: from naming objects to developing an argument Context/content: from memorized utterances in a familiar context, to supporting your point of view in a political discussion Accuracy: “fluency, grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, pragmatic competence and sociolinguistic competence” Text type: from words in isolation to extended discourse

18 On Knowing a Language18 Defining the content of instruction: Standards for foreign language learning “Content standards, upon which performance standards are assessed, lie at the heart of education reforms” (Phillips, 1999 p1) The five Cs (1996): Communication: Communicate in languages other than English Cultures: Gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures Connections: Connect with other disciplines and acquire information Comparisons: Developing insight into the nature of language and culture Communities: Participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world

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