Maya Pentcheva, Todor Shopov

Whole Language, Whole Person
A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology

Edited by Filomena Capucho and Peter Hanenberg

Sofia, Viseu, 1999

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Foreword 3 6 7 25

Chapter 1: Principles of Teaching 1.1. Cognitive Principles 1.2. Social Principles 20 1.3. Linguistic Principles

Chapter 2: Exploring Language Teaching Methods 35 2.1. Period I: Direct Language Teaching 35 2.2. Period II: Audio-lingual Teaching and the Innovative Methods of the 1970s 37 2.3. Period III: Communicative Language Teaching 41 Chapter 3: Paradigm Shift in Education 47 3.1. Changing the Focus of Education 47 3.2. A Teaching Paradigm to Meet Psychosocial Needs 3.3. Factors of Cooperative Learning 53 3.4. Cooperative Language Learning 56


Chapter 4: The Language Curriculum 59 4.1. Constructivism 60 4.2. The General versus Specific Course Conjecture 63 4.3. Random Access Instruction in Complex and Ill-structured Domains 65 4.4. Language Curriculum as a Knowledge Strategic Hypertext 66 4.5. Instead of a Conclusion 70 References 71

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


This book is written within the framework of the Exchange to Change Project. We have been trying the find out what the methodological implications of the awareness resulting from reflective mobility are. Is there any “methodological value” added in result of the visiting and welcoming experiences of language teachers and learners in mobility? Our aim is to offer some orientation into the general educational concerns of the Project. The task is formidable. It is the focus of many different lines of exploration. In his poem “Little Gidding” in Four Quarters, T. S. Eliot puts it in this way: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Yet, this is an optimistic book. At some moments in history, professional spheres are susceptible to important change. We believe that we want and can cross the threshold of “exchange to change” and step into the realm of educational promises fulfilled. The title indicates our holistic approach to the analysis and synthesis of the concepts of language, personality, methodology, communication and intercomprehension, etc. This approach emphasizes the priority of the whole over its parts. We hold that language teaching and learning is a complex knowledge domain, characterized by network of relationships in a social and cultural context. In addition, we believe that methodology is an interdisciplinary field, which cannot be understood in isolation. Our perspective sees it in terms of its relations to other knowledge domains. We shall look into a range of issues, which are not only interesting themselves, but also relevant to the objectives of the Project and, hopefully, to the Reader. The nature and extent of the relevance is difficult, if not impossible, to determine a priori. However, the book supplements the Project Modules and serves as a concise reference material on the theory of the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages. Methodological

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


literature is of course extensive, so we shall be pointing out some of the good books on the topics presented. We have just mentioned the term “foreign language”; throughout the book we shall use it interchangeably with the term “second language”. Here, we shall consider them synonymous albeit we realize that they can be easily distinguished. In the literature, “second language” usually refers to a target language that is being taught in the country where it is the dominant language, whereas “foreign language” usually refers to a target language that is being taught in the country where it is not the dominant language. However, we do not find this distinction quite relevant for the focus of this book. A decade ago, N. S. Prabhu, the famous Indian methodologist, pointed out that language teaching faced three major problems, “(1) the measurement of language competence involves elicitation (in some form) of specific language behaviour but the relationship between such elicited behaviour and language competence which manifests itself in natural use is unclear, (2) given the view that the development of linguistic competence is a holistic process, there is not enough knowledge available either to identify and assess different intermediate stages of that development or to relate those stages to some table of norms which can be said to represent expectations, and (3) there is, ultimately, no way of attributing with any certainty any specific piece of learning to any specific teaching: language learning can take place independently of teaching intentions and it is impossible to tell what has been learnt because of some teaching, and what in spite of it” (Prabhu 1987, 8). Many things have happened in the field of language teaching methodology since then. For example, the Common European Framework of Reference (Council of Europe 1996 and 1998) was published, European Language Council ( was founded, European Language Portfolio (Scharer 1999) was launched and so on. Nonetheless, Prabhu’s claims are still valid. We shall focus on a range of questions in the light of modern methodological developments trying to state the scientific facts. Our own opinion emerges in the discussion now and then, though. We hope our fortuitous academic bias will be understood. The book is written in English and our examples come from English but we do not intend to promote a lingua Adamica restituta. We believe in plurilingualism and pluriculturalism and our inadequacy is only because of our teleological prudence. The book is a collaborative effort but the
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 4

responsibility of the authors is individual. Maya Pencheva wrote Chapter 1 and Todor Shopov prepared Chapters 2, 3 and 4. Chapter 1 offers a theoretical orientation into the philosophical foundations of methodology. Cognitive and other principles of language teaching and learning are discussed. It is claimed that the Picture of the World, which we all keep in our minds, determines the way we speak. This relativistic perspective and other ideas have found different applications in teaching. They are explored in Chapter 2. It is a brief historical overview of teaching methods. The three major periods of the development of methodology in the twentieth century are presented. Chapter 3 discusses the more specific theme of the approach level of teaching methods. The authors argue that educational paradigm shift has had a pronounced impact on language methodology. Particular plans for a language curriculum, which constitutes the relatively concrete design level of teaching methods, are made in Chapter 4. The question of modern curriculum design and development is examined in it. The book functions as a whole text. We recommend that the reader speed-read the book first. Then, the appropriate readings can be selected easily. However, the reader can approach it as a compendium, browsing only through the relevant sections. We want to acknowledge the encouragement and support extended to us by many people. We have had the good fortune to work with Filomena Capucho of Universidade Catolica Portuguesa – Centro Regional das Beiras Polo de Viseu, PT, Project General Coordinator, and our Partners from Hogskolan Kalmar, SE, Centro de Professores y Recursos de Salamanca, ES, Centro de Professores y Recursos de Vitigudino, ES, Institut Universaire de Formation des Maitres d’Auvergne, FR, Skarup Statsseminarium, DK and Universitat Salzburg, AT. We also wish to acknowledge our deep sense of indebtedness to our colleagues at the Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, BG. Our work would have hardly been possible without the order introduced in the system by Alex Fedotoff. We are especially grateful to Peter Hanenberg of Universidade Catolica Portuguesa – Centro Regional das Beiras Polo de Viseu, PT, who had the idea of this book first, for his example and help. To all these people, many thanks. Sofia, December 1999

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Chapter 1: Principles of Teaching
In his Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, H. Douglas Brown notes that there are “…best of times and worst of times” in the language teaching profession (Brown 1994a). We can safely say that this is the best of times for the foreign language teacher. Today, we know much about foreign language acquisition, about child acquisition of language, about cognitive processes, etc. It is also very important that we have come to an appreciation of the extreme complexity of this field. This gives us cautious optimism to plunge even deeper into the problems. Foreign language teachers and educators are often confronted with the question "What method or what system do you use in teaching a foreign language?" Most often the answer does not come easily or if one gives a straightforward answer, he risks to be subjected to criticism. Teachers always have to make choices. These choices are motivated by the fact that they rest on certain principles of language learning and teaching. Now that we know much more about human language and its various aspects, we can make the next step and formulate at least some of these principles, which are based on what we know about language itself. Often, swept by fashionable theories or a desire to sound “scholarly”, we forget a simple truth – we, as human beings, teach a human language to human beings. “Students and teachers of language”, says Osgood, “will discover the principles of their science in the universalities of humanness” (Osgood et al. 1957, 301). A concise but true definition of man will probably include three major characteristics: (i) one who can reflect and interpret the world around him; (ii) one who can express feelings; and (iii) one who can use language. These characteristics underlie three major principles of language teaching and learning. Well known and novice teaching techniques can be subsumed under these three headings. Multiplicity of techniques can be brought down to a number of methods and the methods reduced to a number of principles. Mastering a great number of teaching techniques will not save you in new situations, “not predicted” by the theory but predictable. It will not give you the all-important ability to rationalize what you are doing and why are you doing it. To do that one must be aware of deeper principles of language acquisition and use, stemming from the foundations of human language as such.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Cognitive Principles We shall call the first set of principles “cognitive” because they relate to mental, intellectual and psychological faculties in operating with language. It should be made clear, however, that the three types of principles described in this chapter, cognitive, social and linguistic principles, do not exist as if in three watertight compartments but rather spill across each other to make up the most remarkable ability of man – the linguistic ability. It is no wonder that the achievements of modern cognitive science have found such a warm and fast response in linguistics. Some of the postulates of cognitive science today are crucial to our understanding of how language operates and how we acquire this ability, respectively. Because one of the most difficult questions in foreign language acquisition and child acquisition of language is, How is it possible that children at an early age and adults, late in their life, can master a system of such immense complexity? Is it only a matter of memory capacity and automatic reproduction or is there something else that helps us acquire a language? Let us begin with some long established postulates of foreign language acquisition and see what cognitive theory has to say about them. (1) Automaticity of Acquisition No one can dispute the fact that children acquire a foreign language quickly and successfully. This ease is commonly attributed to children’s ability to acquire language structures automatically and subconsciously, that is, without actually analyzing the forms of language themselves. They appear to learn languages without “thinking” about them. This has been called by B. McLaughlin “automatic processing” (McLaughlin 1990). In order to operate with the incredible complexity of language both children and adult learners do not process language “unit by unit” but employ operations in which language structures and forms (words, affixes, endings, word order, grammatical rules, etc.) are peripheral. The Principle of Automaticity, as stated above, aims at an “automatic processing of a relatively unlimited number of language forms”. Overanalyzing language, thinking too much about its forms tend to impede the acquisition process. This leads to the recommendation to teachers to focus on the use of language and its
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 7

functional aspects. But focus on use and functionality presupposes meaningful learning, which is in strong contradiction with automaticity. What is more, one major characteristic both of child acquisition and adult learning of foreign languages is the phenomenon called hypercorrection. Again hypercorrection cannot exist without meaningful analysis of language structures and their “classification” into “regular patterns” and “exceptions” with respect to a language function. (2) Meaningful Learning Meaningful learning “subsumes” new information into existing structures and memory systems. The resulting associative links create stronger retention. “Children are good meaningful acquirers of language because they associate…words, structures and discourse elements with that which is relevant and important in their daily quest for knowledge and survival” (Brown 1994b, 18). We must pay special attention to this sentence of H. D. Brown, especially the last words, underlined here. It will be relevant in our argument in favor of the cognitive principles of language acquisition. One of the recommendations for classroom application of Meaningful Learning is also of relevance to our further argument in this direction. It states “Whenever a new topic or concept is introduced, attempt to anchor it in students’ existing knowledge and background so that it gets associated with something they already know”. Some thirty-five years ago, a new science was born. Now called “Cognitive Science”, it combines tools from psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, child psychology, and neurobiology to explain the workings of human intelligence. Linguistics, in particular, has seen spectacular advances in the years since. There are many phenomena of language that we are coming to understand. Language is not a cultural artifact that we learn the way we learn to tell the time. Instead, it is a distinct characteristic of our brains. Language is a complex, specialized skill, which develops in the child. For that reason cognitive scientists have described language as a psychological and mental faculty. The idea that thought is the same thing as language is an example of what can be called a conventional absurdity. Now that cognitive scientists know how to think about thinking, there is less of a temptation to equate it with language and we are in a better position to understand how language works.
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 8

In essence, to reason is to deduce new pieces of knowledge from old ones. But “knowledge” is something complex, the product of social and cultural experience from living in a particular “world”. In his Philosophy of Language, Wilhelm von Humboldt claims that speaking a language means living in a specific conceptual domain. Acquiring a foreign language means entering a new conceptual domain. This statement poses a major problem or perhaps the major problem of acquiring a foreign language – are these conceptual domains so different that they are incompatible? Or there are certain mechanisms by which we can make transitions from the one into the other? We shall present arguments in support of the second decision. The pivotal question is how we interpret Humboldt’s conceptual domains. We will refer to them by the term Picture of the World, initially used in analyzing mythology and today employed by cognitive science. The word “picture”, though usually used metaphorically, expresses truly the essence of the phenomenon – it is a picture, not a mirror reflection, or a snapshot of the world around us. Like any other picture, it presupposes a definite point of view or the attitude of its creator. It involves interpretation, representations of the world from various angles (the so- called “facet viewing”). This of course implies the possibility to have a number of different pictures of one object. What is important here is that our conceptualization of the world is not “an objective reflection of reality”, but a subjective picture, which reflects our views, beliefs, and attitudes. “Subjective” in the sense of the collective interpretation or point of view of a society or cultural and linguistic community. This picture explicates the relativity of human cognition. In semiotics it goes under the name of “passive” cultural memory. Cognitive science, however, rejects the qualification “passive” and claims that Pictures of the World are actively and currently structured by common cognitive models. In connection with Humboldt’s statement, it is possible to pass from one picture of the world into another by means of a set of universal cognitive mechanisms. This is crucial for explaining foreign language acquisition. But what are those mechanisms? And what is the nature of the evidence? Our conceptual system or Picture of the World is not something that we are normally aware of. But human language is an important source of evidence for what a picture of the world is like. On the basis of linguistic evidence we can say that most of our everyday conceptual system is metaphorical in
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 9

nature. Cognitive science explains the essence of metaphor as understanding and experiencing one thing in terms of another. The first thing is called Target Domain (what we want to express) and the second one is called Source Domain (by means of which we express the first). We can use, as an example, the way we conceive of time in our everyday life. Let us have the following linguistic expressions: You are wasting my time. This gadget will save you hours. How do you spend your time? That flat tyre will cost me an hour. I’m running out of time. The central postulate of cognitive science is that metaphorical transfer is not just a matter of language, of mere words. Human thought processes are largely metaphorical. Metaphor means metaphorical concepts. And these are specifically structured. If we generalize the examples above, we come up with the metaphor /TIME IS MONEY/. This metaphor entails the treatment of time as a limited resource and a valuable commodity. The examples demonstrate one type of metaphorical transfer – structural metaphor. On the more linguistic side of the problem, when metaphorical concepts become lexicalized, they help a variety of people understand what the concepts mean. In other words, they have a certain didactic role. Metaphors in computer terminology, for example, aid users speaking different languages but using English to understand and remember new concepts. At the same time they allow users to associate unfamiliar concepts with old ones, thereby helping to palliate technostress. “User friendliness” of computer metaphorical terms can be illustrated by the numerous examples found in the vocabulary of user interfaces – e.g. desktop, wallpaper, and menu, to mention just a few. It appears that conceptual domains are shaped by several themes. The domain of the Internet features several conceptual themes. Most of these are based on the functions that the Internet is perceived to have: (1) helping people “move” across vast distances; (2) facilitate communication; and (3) send and store data. The following metaphorical domains can present these themes:

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


1. Transportation The theme of transportation dominates Internet terminology, specified sometimes as marine navigation, highway transportation: to navigate/cruise/surf the Internet (or the Web) internaut cybersurfer anchor information highway, data highway to ride/get on the Internet router ramp/on-ramp, access ramp infobahn cyberspace 2. Mail and Postal Services e-mail snailmail mailbox virtual postcard envelope 3. Architecture site gateway bridge frame 4. The Printed Medium Web page bookmark White pages to browse e-magazine carbon copy Some metaphorical terms have spawned numerous conceptually related ones by metaphorical extension. Gopher, for example, has given rise to Gopherspace, Gopher hole. The famous desktop metaphor has given rise to files, folders, trash cans. The mouse metaphor has generated mouse trails and so on.
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 11

A different type of metaphorical model is the second one, which organizes a whole system of concepts with respect to one another – the so-called orientation metaphor. They rely on bodily experience: up-down, in-out, front-back, deep-shallow, center-periphery, etc. Such orientation metaphors are grounded in physical perception and hence universal. For example: Up vs. Down sad I’m down today. My spirits sank. I’m depressed. sickness He fell ill. He came down with a flue. be subject to control He is my social inferior. He is under my control. low status He is at the bottom of the social hierarchy. depravity I wouldn’t stoop to that. That’s beneath me. emotional Discussion fell to the emotional level.

happy I’m feeling up. I’m in high spirits. Thinking about her gives me a lift. good health He is in top shape. He is at the peak of health. have control over He is in a superior position. I have control over the situation. high status He’s climbing the social ladder fast. virtue He is an upstanding citizen. She is high-minded. rational His arguments rose above emotions.

The third type of metaphor is called ontological. Cognitive science has it that we understand our experience in terms of objects and substances. This allows us to pick fragments of our experience and treat them as discrete entities or substances. Thus, we interpret the human mind as a material object with specific properties - the /MIND IS A MACHINE/ metaphor:
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 12

My mind just isn’t operating today. I’m a little rusty today. The experience shattered her. He is easily crushed. He broke under cross-examination. The conception of /MIND IS A MACHINE/ also enables us to view mind as having an off-state, a level of efficiency, productive capacity, internal mechanisms, etc. What is more, and it is very important, we view both conceptual domains (The Mind and The Machine) as internally structured, so that we can make transfers not only between the domains as a whole but also between parts of these domains. This process is known as “metaphorical mapping”. In this way, when we use a metaphorical model, we can also use elements of that model with the same effect. Let’s illustrate this with an example: /LIFE IS A JOURNEY/. The mapping between the two domains is not simple. The structure of Journey includes, for example, point of departure, path to destination, means of transportation, co-travelers, obstacles along the way to destination, crossroads, etc. It is amazing how our concept of life repeats all the details of our concept of journeys. What is much more amazing, however, is not that we have many metaphors for life, but that we have just a few. They are among the basic metaphors we live by. Basic metaphors are limited in number. Among them are: /STATES ARE LOCATIONS/ /EVENTS ARE ACTIONS/ /PEOPLE ARE PLANTS/ /PEOPLE ARE CONTAINERS/ /LIFE IS A JOURNEY/ By means of them we can interpret all existing metaphorical models: /LIFE IS A JOURNEY/ < /LIFE IS A PLAY/
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 13



We understand the Source Domains of basic metaphors relying on our everyday experience – bodily experience and social experience. This means that they are not independent of thinking and cognition. What motivates our ability to create and understand metaphorical structures? According to cognitive science, these are cognitive and psychological characteristics, which are elements of our species specific as human beings. They are: (1) Our ability to create structures in concepts that do not exist independent of the metaphor, i.e. our ability for modeling, (2) Our ability to choose and explicate optional elements from conceptual structures, (3) Our ability to make conclusions and inferences, (4) Our ability to evaluate and transfer evaluations of elements of the Source Domain onto the Target Domain. Our mental ability for modeling enables us to operate easily with extremely complex conceptual structures. A very good example is the notion of ‘mother’. It comprises six sub-models: (i)Birth Mother is the one who gives birth to a child. (ii)Genetic Mother is the one who carries the embryo.
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 14

(iii)Breeding Mother is the one who feeds and cares for the baby. (iv)Marriage Mother is the one who is married to the child’s father. (v)Genealogical Mother is the closest female relative. (vi) Housewife Mothers stay at home and care for the family. Sub-models (i), (iii), and (iv) form the core of the concept. They build the stereotype image of a mother. Sub-models (i), (ii), and (v) describe what a mother is “objectively” (biologically). And (i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) describe what a mother normally is, i.e. the prototypical mother. This prototype remains stable cross-culturally. All six sub-models describe the ideal mother. This ideal changes historically and across cultures. Thus, we operate with several images. The most important are the stereotype and the ideal. Very often they have separate linguistic expressions. Thus in English we distinguish between the biological and the ideal father. We can normally ask Who is the child’s father? but not *Who is the child’s daddy? because the ideal implies caring for the family and being married to the child’s mother. In the ‘mother’ concept the biological and the social are inseparable. All deviations from the model are interpreted as highly marked, i.e. exceptions from the ideal. For that reason they are consistently marked linguistically: stepmother surrogate mother foster mother adoptive mother donor mother biological mother We can summarize all metaphorical models into a small number of Basic Models:

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


/GENERAL IS SPECIFIC/ /ABSTRACT IS CONCRETE/ /TIME IS SPACE/ /SOCIAL IS NATURAL/ /MENTAL IS PHYSICAL/ How can we apply these principles, mechanisms and models in teaching a language and teaching about language? We can do that in a number of ways: I. On the diachronic level There is a marked parallelism between current English metaphors and models of semantic change. Living metaphors and semantic change are related and mutually reinforcing. This explains the commonality of such metaphors in the Indo-European languages through time. By using cognitive models we can explain but also teach the established one-way directions of semantic change. For example, Indo-European languages follow consistently certain metaphorical transfers: e.g. /MENTAL ACTIVITY IS MOTION IN PHYSICAL SPACE/, report < Latin ‘carry back’ refer

This direction of semantic change is paralleled by the existence of synchronic metaphorical schemes in which physical motion is used as the Source Domain for more abstract notions like ‘time’ or ‘mental activity’. Shifts in the opposite direction are unknown. e.g. 2. /MENTAL STATES ARE PHYSICAL PERCEPTION/, know < ‘see’ remark < observe < ‘look closely at’ 3. /MENTAL STATES ARE PHYSICAL MOTION/, e.g. suppose ‘understand’ < Latin sub + ponere ‘put under’

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology



4. /MENTAL STATES ARE MANIPULATION OF OBJECTS IN SPACE/, comprehend < Latin ‘seize’ grasp2 ‘understand’ < grasp1 ‘ seize in the hand’ get2 ‘understand’ < get1 ‘acquire a physical entity’ decide < Latin de + caedo ‘cut off from’ confuse < Latin con + fundere ‘pour together, mix’ prefer < Latin prae + ferre ‘carry before’ deduce < Latin de + ducere ‘lead out from’ infer < Latin in + fere ‘carry in’ presume < Latin prae + sumere ‘take before’

This is the most productive metaphor with ‘Mental state’ verbs in English. The manipulation with ideas is seen as holding, touching, moving, uniting, separating, arranging, and re-ordering them, like physical objects. e.g. 5. /SPEECH COMMUNICATION IS SPATIAL RELATION/, propose < Latin pro + ponere ‘put forward’

Data demonstrate a stable direction in meaning change: a) verbs of ‘Physical motion/location’ > verbs of ‘Mental state’/’Speech acts’; b) verbs of ‘Mental state’ > verbs of ‘Speech acts’, but never in the opposite direction. Therefore semantic change tends to move towards more personal meanings, meanings closer to the Self. 6. /SPEECH ACTS ARE MANIPULATION OF OBJECTS IN SPACE/, admit < Latin ad + mittere ‘send to’ assert < Latin ad + serere ‘connect to’ ad- expressing ‘direction from speaker to hearer’ reply < Latin re + plicare ‘feed back’ refuse < Latin re + futare ‘beat back’ re- expressing ‘direction from hearer to speaker’ 7. /MENTAL ACTIVITY/SPEECH ACT IS TRAVEL IN SPACE/, We haven’t got anywhere in this conversation. Now we must go back to the main issue.



Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Notice also the use of spatial prepositions both with ‘Speech act’ and ‘Mental activity’ verbs: e.g. talk think about over walk go This shows that we conceive of a speech act as a distance between the two communicating parties, a route along which ideas=objects can travel or be exchanged. This is a replica of the model of ‘Physical action’ verbs, with their regular contrast between to and at prepositions: e.g. throw to at talk to at shout to at

to, expressing active participation on the part of the receiver=hearer, a successful completion of the trajectory of the action, and at, expressing an inactive receiver=hearer. Since ‘Speech act’ verbs involve exchange between two parties, i.e. action, they can also have a metaphorical variant like /SPEECH ACTS ARE WARFARE/, e.g. concede < Latin con + cedere ‘give up’ insist < Latin in + sistere ‘stand in’ convince < Latin con + vincere ‘conquer together’.

II. On the synchronic level Synchronically, we can employ metaphorical transfer models to teach semantic fields and explain semantic extension. Thus, ‘Human emotions’ can be explained through ‘Temperature’, ‘Cooking activities’, or ‘Colours’, e.g. hot temper warm friendship boil with indignation burn with emotion simmer with anger be in a stew. cold person our friendship has cooled take it cool

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Other spheres of language teaching or linguistic analysis where we can apply the same mechanism of explanation are synonymy, phraseology, development of grammatical categories and forms of their expression, predominant word order, etc. We shall demonstrate the validity of this approach in teaching grammar, using auxiliary verbs as an example. There is a stable tendency for a limited set of notional verbs, with specific meaning, to turn, over time, into auxiliary verbs of analytical constructions (the perfect tenses, the progressive tenses, and the future tense). The lexical sources for auxiliaries in such constructions usually include notions like: PHYSICAL LOCATION: be + on/at/in + nominal form MOVEMENT TO A GOAL: go(to)/come(to) + nominal form DEVELOPMENT OF ACTION IN TIME: begin/become/finish + nominal form VOLITION: want/will + nominal form OBLIGATION: must + verbal form PERMISSION: let + verbal form. In other words, there is a “selectivity” with respect to the initial lexical meaning of verbs that are likely to evolve into auxiliaries of analytical constructions across languages. Thus the initial meaning of 117 auxiliaries from 15 languages involve 20 lexical sources: be at/on be + adjective/participle have come go(to) walk sit stand lie begin become remain finish do want must permit take care, put
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 19

give. There are a number of immediate questions that arise. Is this “rule of auxiliation” due to pure coincidence; does it result from geographic or genetic closeness of languages; or could this be the reflection of some fundamental cognitive principle that gets actualized in linguistic structure? We can postulate that this process of auxiliation is the reflection of a basic principle in human conceptualization, namely that abstract notions are conceptualized by means of a limited number of concrete basic concepts. We can make an even stronger claim that lexical sources for grammatization in general involve notions basic to human experience (bodily and social) that provide central reference points.

1.2. Social Principles We now turn our attention to those principles of language acquisition that are central to human beings as social entities. We shall look at the concept of self and self-awareness, at relationships in a community (of speakers and learners), at the relationships between language and culture. In speaking, learning and teaching a language we are taking part in one of the wonders of the world. For we all belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events and ideas in each other’s brains. The ability is language. Language is not just any cultural invention but the product of society and culture, and the ability of man to cope with them and to create them. But it is much more than that. There must be something, then, that makes language accessible to all, manageable and flexible enough to accommodate various cultures and societies, and to be the most widely used instrument in interpersonal relations. (1) The Self and Self-awareness One of the products of social development is the formation of the concept of self and awareness of the ego, which model a specific pattern of linguistic behaviour and structure of linguistic categories. In the context of the problems discussed here, this touches onto the old and widely disputed idea of language relativity, i.e. the idea that the structure of our mother tongue
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 20

and its categories, which are a reflection of our way of life and the environment, give particular shape to our way of thinking. That is, speaking a particular language, you are also a particular linguistic self. As human beings learn a foreign language, they also develop a new mode of thinking and acting – they enter a new identity. But this new “language ego”, intertwined with the new language itself, can create a sense of uncertainty, defensiveness, even humiliation, and raise inhibitions. Learners can feel this because the arsenals of their native-language egos may be suddenly useless in developing a “second self”. The foreign language teacher is the major factor in the formation of this “second self”. His choice of techniques needs to be cognitively challenging to achieve the accommodation of the learner to his “new world”. If the student is learning the foreign language in the milieu of the country where it is spoken, then he is likely to experience an “identity crisis”. To avoid this the teacher must “create” appropriate “natural” situations for the learner so that he can practice his new identity. Let us take one ordinary example – learning to write compositions in English. Students whose teachers urge them to reduce the number of times they use the pronoun “I” in their essays (or, conversely, encourage the use of “I”) may be surprised to discover that in some cultures this grammatical choice has profound cultural and even political connotations. A Chinese student is taught to use always “we” instead of “I” lest he give the impression of being selfish and individualistic. Starting to study English he required to “imagine looking at the world with his head upside down” and to invent a new “English self” that could use the pronoun “I”. Learning to write an essay in English is not an isolated classroom activity, but a social and cultural experience. Learning the rules of English essay writing is, to a certain extent, learning the values of Anglo-American society. Writing essays in English, a Chinese student has to “reprogram” his mind, to redefine some of the basic concepts and values that he had about himself, about society. Rule number one in English composition writing is: “Be yourself”. But writing many “I’s” is only the beginning of the process of redefining oneself. By such a redefinition is meant not only the change of how one envisioned oneself, but also a change in how he perceived the world. The Chinese student gradually creates his new “English Self”.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


(2) The Language-Culture Connection Everyone knows what is supposed to happen when two Englishmen who have never met before come face to face in a railway compartment – they start talking about the weather. By talking to the other person about some neutral topic like the weather, it is possible to strike up a relationship with him without actually having to say very much. Conversations of this kind are a good example of the sort of important social function that is often fulfilled by language. By trying to master this function of language, the learner is building part of his new language identity. It is well known, and often humorously exaggerated, that the British always talk about the weather. In his famous book, How To Be an Alien, George Mikes (1970) discusses the weather as the first and most important topic for a person who wants to learn English. Here is his comment: “This is the most important topic in the land. Do not be misled by memories of your youth when, on the Continent, wanting to describe someone as exceptionally dull, you remarked: ‘He is the type who would discuss the weather with you.’ In England, this is an ever-interesting, even thrilling topic, and you must be good at discussing the weather. EXAMPLES FOR CONVERSATION For Good Weather ‘Lovely day, isn’t it?’ ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ ‘The sun…’ ‘Isn’t it gorgeous?’ ‘Wonderful, isn’t it?’ ‘It’s so nice and hot…’ ‘Personally, I think it’s so nice when it’s hot – isn’t it?’ ‘I adore it – don’t you?’ For Bad Weather ‘Nasty day, isn’t it?’ ‘Isn’t it dreadful?’ ‘The rain…I hate rain…’
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 22

‘I don’t like it at all. Do you?’ ‘Fancy such a day in July. Rain in the morning, then a bit of sunshine, and then rain, rain, rain, all day long.’ ‘I remember exactly the same July in 1936.’ ‘Yes, I remember too.’ ‘Or was it in 1928?’ ‘Yes, it was.’ ‘Or in 1939?’ ‘Yes, that’s right.’ Now, observe the last few sentences of this conversation. A very important rule emerges from it. You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather in England. Should it hail and snow, should hurricanes uproot trees, and should someone remark to you: ‘Nice day, isn’t it?’ – answer without hesitation: ‘Isn’t it lovely?’” And here is Mikes’ advice to the learner of English: “Learn the above conversations by heart. If you are a bit slow in picking things up, learn at least one conversation, it would do wonderfully for any occasion.” All this is of course a very good joke but it says much about the British and their social behaviour. Whenever you teach a language, you also teach a complex system of cultural customs, values, and ways of thinking, feeling and acting. A teacher must necessarily attract his students’ attention to the cultural connotations, especially of socio-linguistic aspects of language. An easy way to do this is to discuss cross-cultural differences with the students, emphasising that no culture is “better” than another. What is important in such a discussion is to make them aware that they will never master the foreign language without “entering a new world” or “acquiring a new self”. A second aspect of the language – culture connection is the extent to which the students will be affected by the process of acculturation, which will vary with the context and the goals of learning. In many language-learning contexts such as ESL, students are faced with the full-blown realities of adapting to life in a foreign country, complete with varying stages of acculturation. Then, cultural adaptation, social distance, and psychological adjustment are also factors to deal with. The success with which learners adapt to a new cultural milieu will affect their language acquisition success, and vice versa, in some significant ways.
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 23

We cannot be certain that all the functions of language described in linguistic literature are to be found in all cultures. The relative importance of these different functions may vary from culture to culture, their distribution may vary. For anyone to participate in the life of a community he has to be able to communicate and be communicated to. That is why the learner is learning a language. This does not mean that the range of functions aimed at by a foreign language learner will be that at the command of the native speaker. A language learner may know exactly what he wants the foreign language for, or he may have no clear idea at all. But for many teaching operations we need to specify the aims. Our ability to participate as members of social and language communities depends upon our control of linguistic and other behaviour considered appropriate. The learner of a foreign language is preparing to use that language for certain purposes, in certain roles and in certain situations. Many writers speak of the linguistic needs of the learner in terms of roles he may assume. The primary role ascribed to him will be that of foreigner, in which his communicative needs are normally going to be more restricted than those of the native speaker. In preparing a teaching programme or choosing a teaching strategy, we have to take into account what the learner’s needs may be and we must do so in terms of the social situations she is going to have to participate in, perhaps not as a “full member” but as a “foreign associate”. In this connection, it is appropriate to remind again of the wonderful book of George Mikes containing valuable advice to foreigners not to pretend to be native speakers. Here is what Mikes says about foreigners, trying to acquire “perfect” English and sound like native speakers. “In the first week after my coming to England I picked up a tolerable working knowledge of the language and the next seven years convinced me gradually but thoroughly that I would never know it really well, let alone perfectly. This is sad. My only consolation being that nobody speaks English perfectly. If you live here long enough you will find out to your greatest amazement that the adjective nice is not the only adjective the language possesses, in spite of the fact that in the first three years you do not need to learn or use any other adjective. Then you have to decide on your accent. You will have your foreign accent all right, but many people like to mix it with something else. The easiest way to give the impression of having a good accent or no foreign
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 24

accent at all is to hold an unlit pipe in your mouth, to mutter between your teeth and finish your sentences with the question: ‘isn’t it?’ People will not understand much, but they are accustomed to that and they will get the most excellent impression. The most successful attempts to put on a highly cultured air have been on the polysyllabic line. Many foreigners, who have learned Latin and Greek in school, discover with amazement and satisfaction that the English language has absorbed a huge amount of ancient Greek and Latin expressions, and they realize that (a) it is much easier to learn these expressions than the much simpler English words; (b) that these words are as a rule interminably long and make a simply superb impression when talking to the greengrocer…”

1.3. Linguistic Principles The last category of principles of language learning and teaching centres on language itself and on how learners deal with this complex and ill-formed system (see Chapter 4). Earlier in this century, Edward Sapir wrote: “When it comes to linguistic form, Plato walks with the Macedonian swineherd, Confucius with the headhunting savage of Assam.” There is a considerable knowledge available about the nature of human language. Linguistics provides a growing body of scientific knowledge about language, which can guide the activity of the language teacher. Linguists can make and have made great contributions to the solution of some of the problems. Language is such a complex phenomenon that it cannot be fully accounted for within one consistent and comprehensive theory. For this reason, when asked the question "What is language?" the linguist is likely to reply by asking another question "Why do you want to know?" If we teach language, the way we approach the task will be influenced, or even determined, by what we believe language to be. There is generally a close connection between the way we talk about something and the way we regard it. Linguists, especially, often talk about how language “works”. The linguistic approach to language is the most “objectivising” approach: it is concerned with language as a system; it aims to elucidate the structure of language. To
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 25

do this it has set up various “levels of description”. These levels bear such familiar names as syntax, morphology, phonology and phonetics, lexis and semantics, pragmatics, etc. The study of language is beset by the difficulty that it deals with something utterly familiar. Everybody “knows” about language, because they use it all the time. The problem of studying phenomena like language is to separate it from ourselves, to achieve a “psychic distance” (Chomsky 1968). Perhaps the most cogent criticism of traditional language teaching with its insistence on correctness, the rules of grammar, and its limited objectives, is that it lacked the socio-cultural dimension. Little thought seems to have been given to the notion of appropriateness, to the way that language behaviour is responsive to differing social situations. It is one of the great values of modern language teaching that it adopts a more social approach to language, and it is concerned with the problems of its communicative function. The relevance of the linguistic approach to language teaching is too obvious to need much discussion here. One point must be mentioned, however. Modern teachers of language are actually teaching their students not only the language but also about language. Modern linguistics requires that a grammar should accord with a native speaker’s intuitions about language. This formulates a new goal for linguistic theory. Now linguists describe what native speakers conceive to be the nature of their language. The emphasis has shifted from the nature of language data to the nature of the human capacity, which makes it possible to produce the language data. Some linguists, Chomsky among them, would claim that the objectives of the linguistic study of language have always implicitly been the characterization of the internalized set of rules by a speaker-hearer (and learner) when he uses language. Such linguists do not study what people do when they speak and understand language, but seek to discover the rules underlying this performance. This is what Chomsky calls competence (1966a, 9): "A distinction must be made between what the speaker of a language knows implicitly (what we may call his competence) and what he does (his performance). A grammar, in the traditional view, is an account of competence". The speaker’s competence, then, can be characterized as a set of rules for producing and understanding sentences in a language. The grammar of a language, thus, in its linguistic sense, is a characterization of the native
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 26

speaker’s competence. All speakers of a language vary slightly in the rules they follow, as well, of course, as in their performance. When we are teaching a foreign language, we are trying to develop in the learner not just grammatical competence, in the Chomskyan sense, but communicative competence. We are teaching him or her not only what we call “the formation rules” of the language, but also in addition, what Hymes has called “the speaking rules”. The learner must develop the ability to distinguish grammatical from ungrammatical sequences, but he must also know when to select a particular grammatical sequence, appropriate to the context, both linguistic and situational. Different functions of language can be associated with the factors involved in a speech act – the speaker, the hearer, contact between them, the linguistic code used, the topic and the form of the message. If the orientation is towards the speaker, then we have the personal function of language. It is through this function that the speaker reveals his attitude towards what he is speaking about. It is not just that he expresses his thoughts and emotions through language, but his emotions and attitudes at what he is talking about. Hearer-oriented speech acts involve the directive function of language. It is the function of controlling the behaviour of a participant. This can be done by command, request or warning, or by some general admonitory statement, by invoking legal, moral or customary rules of society. Where the focus is on the contact between the participants, speech functions to establish relations, maintain them, or promote social solidarity. These are typically ritual, or formulaic speech acts: leave-taking, greetings, remarks about the weather, inquiries about health, etc. This function, sometimes called phatic, is also performed or supported by gestures, facial expression. The topic-oriented function of speech, often called the referential function, is that which usually stands first in people’s minds. It is the function that gave rise to the traditional notion that language was created solely for the communication of thought, for making statements about how the speaker perceives the way things in the world are. There are two more functions, associated with the code used and the message. They are the most difficult to formulate. We usually test them by asking the questions "Do you hear me?" and "Do you follow?"

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


(1) The Native Language Effect S. Pit Corder claims that when people learn a second language they are not acquiring language, they already possess it. The learning of a second language is rather a question of increasing a repertoire, or learning a set of alternatives for something they already know. The assumption then is that some of the rules they already know are also used in the production and understanding of the second language. This is what is meant by “transfer”. Learners transfer what they already know. Making errors in the second language can, in part, be explained by the notion of transfer. It is also called “negative transfer” or interference. But this tendency of transfer can be also positive (facilitation). It is just as well that different languages do, in fact, have resemblances to each other. On this account, it has to be established what is different between the mother tongue and the foreign language. Describing language, or part of language, is part of the process of developing linguistic theory itself. But we must now outline the hierarchy of applications of linguistics to language teaching. There are a number of stages in the application of linguistics to language teaching. The first has already been identified as that of linguistic description. The second is concerned with operations performed on the descriptions of language. Each stage has the function of answering some questions or solving some problems relevant to language teaching. Thus, the application of first order answers the very general question: what is the nature of the language, which is to be taught? The next stage answers the question: what is to be taught and how is it to be taught? The criteria for selecting material for language teaching are various: utility to the learner, that is, selecting what he needs to know, his proposed repertoire – those varieties of the language which will be useful to him, those speech functions which he will need to command. Or we can invoke the criterion of difference. In a sense, all parts of the foreign language are different from the mother tongue. But difference is relative Some parts will be more different than others. For example, if the learner’s mother tongue has no grammatical system of aspect, the learning of such a system presents a serious learning task. Where the learner’s mother tongue, however, has such a system, the size of the learning problem will depend on the nature and degree of difference. A third criterion might be difficulty. What is different in the foreign language does not necessarily in all cases represent a difficulty. For example, at the phonological level, what is so totally different from anything encountered in the mother tongue does not

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


seem to be so difficult to learn as something, which is liable to confusion with some similar feature in the mother tongue. The procedures and techniques involved in all these cases of application of linguistics to foreign language teaching are comparative. This is called interlingual comparison, or “contrastive” comparison (Contrastive Analysis). The other type of comparison is often called Error Analysis. The errors performed by the learners may be an important part of the data on which the comparison is made. But what is being compared in this case is not two existing and already known languages, but the language of the learner at some particular point in the process of learning, with the target language. A learner’s so called errors are systematic, and it is precisely this regularity which shows that the learner is following a set of rules. These rules are not those of the target language but a “transitional” from of language, similar to the target language, but also similar to the learner’s mother tongue (what Larry Selinker calls “interlanguage”). (2) Language Universals In the context of discussing similarities and differences between languages, we must touch upon the theme of language universals and their place in foreign language teaching. The 4,000 to 6,000 languages of the world do look impressively different from English and from one another. On the other hand, one can also find striking uniformities. In 1963 the linguist Joseph Greenberg examined a sample of 30 far-flung languages from five continents. Greenberg wanted to see if any properties of grammar could be found in all these languages. In the first investigation, which focused on the order of words and morphemes, he found no fewer than forty-five universal features. Since then, many other surveys have been conducted, involving scores of languages from every part of the world, and literally hundreds of universal patterns have been documented. Some hold absolutely. For example, no language forms questions by reversing the order within a sentence, like *Built Jack that house the this is? Some universals are statistical: subjects normally precede objects in almost all languages, and verbs and their objects tend to be adjacent. Thus most languages have SVO or SOV word order; fewer have VSO; VOS and OVS are rare (less than 1%); and OSV may be non-existent. The largest number of universals involve implications: if a language has X, it will also have Y. Universal implications are found in all
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 29

aspects of language, from phonology (if a language has nasal vowels, it will have non-nasal vowels) to word meanings (if a language has a word for ‘purple’, it will also have a word for ‘red’; if a language has a word for ‘leg’, it will also have a word for ‘arm’). The knowledge of the existence of language universals may save some procedures of comparison between the mother tongue and the foreign language taught. In the second place, it can be part of the teaching material (mostly implicitly) and the methods of explanation. (3) Linguistics in Structuring the Syllabus A finished syllabus (cf. Chapter 4) is the overall plan for the learning process. It must specify what components must be available, or learned by a certain time line; what is the most efficient sequence in which they are learned; what items can be learned “simultaneously”; what items are already known. The structure of language is a “system of systems”, or a “network” of interrelated categories, no part of which is wholly independent or wholly dependent upon another. In language, nothing is learned completely until everything is learned. If this is so, then no simple linear sequence for a syllabus is appropriate. A logical solution to this problem seems to be a cyclic, or spiral, structure, which requires the learner to return time and again to some aspects of language structure, language process, or domain of language use. Language learning is not just cumulative, it is an integrative process. In Chapter 4, we shall offer a new approach to syllabus/curriculum design. The major problem that faces us in syllabus organisation is whether to take the formal criteria as dominant, leaving alternative ways of expressing the same idea to some other part of the syllabus, or to base our grouping on semantic criteria. The teaching of modal verbs is a perfect example of the dilemma. Should we bring all alternative ways of expressing necessity, obligation, possibility and probability, etc. together into separate single units? In other words, are we going to regard ‘modal verbs’, or alternatively ‘the expression of obligation’, as a syllabus item? There is no simple answer to this problem. The more we take account of semantic considerations, the more evident it becomes that the relationship
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 30

between meaning and surface form is a complex and indirect one. At the time when less attention was paid to the whole problem of meaning, and language learning was thought of as a matter of acquiring the ability to produce automatically ‘sentence patterns’, it was logical (or was it?) to group materials in a syllabus on the basis of superficial formal criteria. But with the increasing emphasis on language learning as training the learner in communication, the relevance of semantic criteria in organising the linguistic material increases. We are now trying to classify the linguistic material in terms of more abstract semantic categories as time, deixis, modality, aspectuality, futurity, possession, quantification, causation, etc. We have seen that the systematic interconnectedness of language makes it unrealistic to think of any item as teachable or learnable in isolation. We should consider an item in a more general way, i.e. as a process, or as some grammatical category, such as tense or number. (a) The syntactic syllabus Nowadays, descriptions of language give us a relatively satisfactory account of the structure of the system to be learned, that is, a characterisation of the ‘formation rules’ of the language. But we are concerned with more than this in language teaching – we are concerned with performance ability. There are some general types of syntactic processes, such as nominalisation, relativisation or thematisation, passivisation, interrogativisation, negation, which could be regarded as ‘items’ of performance ability in a syllabus. Linguistically speaking, all these involve performing certain operations. (b) The morphological syllabus The most frequent claim for the appropriate application of sequencing, otherwise denied in principle, is made at the level of morphology. For example, the verb "to have" and "to be" are used as auxiliaries in the formation of perfect or progressive aspect. Most logically, we must present and teach these verbs before introducing the formation of these aspectual forms. This seems a good argument until we specify what we mean by '‘teaching'’ the verbs to have and to be. Learning a verb involves not only discovering the relations in enters into with nominals, whether it is transitive or copulative, but also learning the morphological system together with their associated meanings: time, duration, completion, frequency, etc. The learning of something must surely involve the ability to use it acceptably,
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 31

i.e. discover its functions. The function of the auxiliary to be in the progressive aspect, or passive voice, is different from that of the verb to be in copulative structures. To say that in teaching copulative sentences one is teaching the verb "to be" so that it can be available for later auxiliary use is a categorial error. (c) The lexical syllabus In order to present and exemplify grammatical categories and syntactic structures, we have to use lexical words. This does not mean that the teaching of vocabulary is logically dependent on the teaching of grammar. The teaching of vocabulary provides us with another concept of syllabus grouping – lexico-semantic. An example of this could be the co-occurrence of adverbs of past time, yesterday, last week, three years ago, etc., with tense verbs; or co-occurrence of verbs of speaking and believing, say, tell, cry, believe, hope, expect, etc., with nominalised sentences of different types. We must outline ‘the network of relations’ which bind the vocabulary of a language into a structure. It is possible to isolate ‘sub-fields’ within the lexical structure of a language. Such groupings of lexical items bearing more or less close semantic relations to each other are usually called ‘semantic fields’. Semantic fields provide groupings of the vocabulary, which could serve as ‘items in a syllabus’. The field of cooking will be used as an example. Cooking words provide a good source of examples because there are clear reference relations that one can appeal to; the words do not normally carry strong connotations, so we can concentrate on the cognitive meaning. The basic words in the culinary field in English are cook, bake, boil, roast, fry, and broil (or grill for British English). The set also includes steam, simmer, stew, poach, braise, sauté, French-fry, deep-fry, barbecue, grill and charcoal. There are, in addition, a number of peripheral words: parboil, plank, shirr, scallop, flambere, rissoler and several compounds: steam-bake, pot-roast, oven-poach, pan-broil, pan-fry, oven-fry. It is more than obvious that not all of the words are widely used and need to be included in the syllabus. Some are even unknown to ordinary native speakers of English. Cook can be used in two ways – once as the
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 32

superordinate term of the field, naming the activity expressed (‘preparing food’), and second, as a more specific word opposed to bake. Cook and bake are the most general terms, they appear freely intransitively with human subjects. Boil and its subordinate terms (simmer, poach, stew, braise) differ from the others in the field in that water or liquid must be used, whereas the absence of liquid is necessary for fry, broil, roast and bake. It is easy to demonstrate the set of words of this kind as they pattern in semantic fields. But we must also add, and it is very important for language teaching, that this approach has a strong explanatory value – it enables us to predict and explain some semantic and cognitive processes in language. First, it enables us to explain how is it that words come to have new meanings in certain contexts. Secondly, we can predict what semantic and syntactic features a totally new word will have when added to a lexical field. And thirdly, we can offer an explanation as to how we are able to understand and even offer explanations of our understanding of the meanings of totally unknown words and expressions. The first question – the semantic extension of words – can be illustrated by looking at the items hot-warm-cool-cold. These exhibit more or less the same relationships to one another: Hot and cold are gradable antonyms at end points of a scale, and warm and cool are antonyms which are closer to some centre point that separates hot and cold. All four words are used and have standard meanings when talking about the weather, psycho-physical features (I feel cold; This water feels cold to me), emotions (John has a hot temper; My brother is a cold person; Our former warm friendship has cooled), guessing games like ‘I spy’, colours (You should paint this room a warm colour, like orange), etc. Other fields of discourse use only one or two words from the field: We speak of hot news items but not of a *cold or a *cool news item, a cold war or a hot war, but not a *cool war or a *warm war. There is hot jazz and cool jazz but not *warm jazz. One can get a hot tip on a horse, but not a *cool tip. Since hot, warm, cool, and cold bear a certain relationship to one another, even when a word does not possess a certain meaning, it can acquire a new one in a context by virtue of that relationship. Hence, these new coinages are so easily understood. Such extensions of meaning related to semantic fields are usually performed by means of metaphorical transfer. Cognitive psychologists claim that
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 33

metaphors are strongly memorable. This is due to the fact that they furnish conceptually rich, image-evoking conceptualisations. Metaphorical vehicles facilitate memory to the extent that they evoke vivid mental images. One question that is central to language learning is whether the occurrence of imagery with metaphor is simply epiphenomenal to its comprehension or a key element in understanding and memorising the meaning. Various empirical studies on the communicative function of metaphor suggest a number of possibilities about the positive influence of metaphor on learning. In the next chapter, we shall look at the development of language teaching methods in the twentieth century.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Chapter 2: Exploring Language Teaching Methods
In the twentieth century, the teaching of modern foreign languages has progressed through three major periods. In this chapter, we shall briefly sketch the facts and indicate the salient features of the teaching methods, which have been designed and implemented by several generations of methodologists and teachers. Our historical perspective is limited although we realize that there have been many interesting theories and practices through the ages. For example, this is what Joseph Aickin wrote in the year 1693: “for no Tongue can be acquired without Grammatical rules; since then all other Tongues, and Languages are taught by Grammar, why ought not the English Tongue to be taught so too. Imitation will never do it, under twenty years; I have known some Foreigners who have been longer in learning to speak English and yet are far from it: the not learning by Grammar, is the true cause” (quoted in Yule 1985, 150). Louis Kelly (1969) in his book 25 Centuries of Language Teaching provides an extensive historical analysis of the development of methodology from the time of Ancient Greece to the present. Many scholars have explored the development of language teaching in this century. Here, we shall mention but a few, whose work we have been using successfully with our students, William Francis Mackey (1965), H. H. Stern (1983), Anthony Howatt (1984), Jack T. Richards and Theodore S. Rogers (1986), Diane Larsen-Freeman (1986), H. Douglas Brown (1987, 1994). They, and many other colleagues, have inspired the discussion in this chapter.

2.1. Period I: Direct Language Teaching The first half of the century was dominated by the teaching method, which is known as Direct Language Teaching or Direct Method (DM). It emerged as a result of the language education reform movement at the end of the

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


nineteenth century and was prominent until the middle of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the century, the DM became the only officially approved method for the teaching of modern foreign languages in France through a decree of the French Minister of Public Instruction (1902). The term, which was used in the decree, was "methode directe". The method was soon established in many European countries and was used with enthusiasm by its proponents. Some of the commercial ventures in the area were very successful and became quite popular. For example, in 1878, the German born Maximilian Delphinus Berlitz opened his first language school in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. Today, Berlitz Languages Inc. ( is still thriving. Direct Method is of course only a general term, which covers a range of different teaching methods. We shall mention two of them, which have been influencing language methodology to present. In 1923, Harold Palmer developed his Oral Method to be adapted some fifty years later in the innovative approaches of the 1970s as the Total Physical Response Method (Asher 1977, 1982). The second one, Michael West’s Reading Method, was designed in 1926. And only two years ago, Stephen Krashen revived it in the method, which he named the Easy Way (1997). The basic premise of the DM is that a second language should be taught by making a direct connection in the mind of the learner between what he thinks and what he says. In other words, no use is made of the learner's own language. Thus, the target language becomes both the aim and the means of the teaching and learning process. The following list sums up eight salient features of direct language teaching: • Teaching is executed orally through the medium of the target language. • Teachers should be either native speakers or extremely fluent in the target language. • Grammar is taught inductively by situation. • Concrete vocabulary is taught in context through ostensive definition and pictures. • Abstract vocabulary is taught through association of ideas. • Language skills are ordered in a “natural way”: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


• Pronunciation is emphasized; the first few weeks are devoted to pronunciation. • All reading matter is first presented orally. However, in the second quarter of the century, the method began to decline. Its principles were questioned. A group of prominent American experts stated that "the ability to converse should not be regarded as a thing of primary importance for its own sake but as an auxiliary to the higher ends of linguistic scholarship and literary culture" (Report of the Committee of Twelve, Modern Language Association of America 1892). Moreover, the DM demanded highly competent teachers who have always been difficult to recruit. So by the middle of the twentieth century modern languages were being taught by the methods, most of which had been developed before the turn of the century. The era of the Direct Method had ended.

2.2. Period II: Audio-lingual Teaching and the Innovative Methods of the 1970s The next stage of development started with the decade of 1940 to 1950 and continued until the mid-seventies. Language teachers and the general public were dissatisfied with the methodological theory and practice of the previous era. For example, Leonard Bloomfield (1942) stated, “Often enough the student, after two, three, or four years of instruction, cannot really use the language he has been studying.” In 1943, The American Army initiated the Army Specialized Training Program (hence, "Army Method") to teach intensive language courses that focused on aural/oral skills. The “revolution” in language teaching of that period created a new methodological ideology, which came to be known in the late fifties as the Audio-lingual Method (ALM). According to the U.S. Army Language School in California, 1300 hours are sufficient for an adult to attain near-native competence in Vietnamese (Burke, quoted in Reich 1986). Two major scientific theories were applied as methodological principles: linguistic structuralism (e.g. Bloomfield 1933) and psychological neobehaviorism (e.g. Skinner 1957). The proponents of the ALM believed that language learning was a process of habit formation in which the student over-learned carefully sequenced lists of set phrases or "base sentences".
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 37

The method was extremely successful and enjoyed considerable popularity. Courses like English 901 (Strevens 1964), the British edition of the original textbook in American English, English 900, and Realistic English (Abbs, Cook & Underwood 1968) became widely accepted in Europe in the 1960s. In 1961, the American linguist William Moulton proclaimed the linguistic principles of ALM: “language is speech, not writing… a language is a set of habits… teach the language, not about the language… a language is what native speakers say, not what someone thinks they ought to say… languages are different” (quoted in Richards & Rogers 1986). The following list sums up eight salient features of audio-lingual teaching: • Language input is provided in dialog form. • Learning activities are based on mimicry and memorization and pattern practice. • Successful responses are immediately rewarded. • Mistakes are not tolerated. • Language structure is taught using pattern drills. • Vocabulary is strictly controlled and learnt in context. • Pronunciation is emphasized. • Audio-visual technology is used extensively, e.g. slide projectors, tape recorders, language laboratories. Robert Ian Scott invented a “sentence generator” (1969, quoted in Roberts 1973, 99) as an aid to be used in the teaching of reading. The machine could be programmed to generate 4-word sentences of the simple, active declarative type. Words of each syntactic function could be entered on a separate wheel, the machine consisting of 4 wheels mounted side by side on a cranking device. The wheels could be turned independently of each other to make a new sentence at each spin. With 60 words on each wheel, it would be possible to generate 12960000 sentences, which, assuming that it were possible to speak one sentence per second, would take about half a year of talking to get through. The machine did not gain popularity though. The comparative merits of the ALM and the traditional grammar-translation instruction were evaluated in a two-year study of beginning students of German in America (Scherer & Wertheimer 1964, quoted in Reich 1986). At the end of the two years, the results were that ALM and traditional instruction were equal on listening, reading and English-to-German
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 38

translation; ALM was far superior to traditional instruction in speaking but traditional instruction was superior to ALM in writing and far superior to ALM in German-to-English translation. Thus neither method is clearly superior. Which you prefer depends on what you deem most important. In the late sixties, the ALM was subjected to criticism and its popularity waned. Controlled studies of the effectiveness of the language laboratories as actually used in schools in the 1960s found that they were either a not particularly effective teaching aid or they were actually detrimental to language learning (Keating 1963, quoted in Reich 1986). Noam Chomsky openly criticized audio-lingual theory and practice in his address to language teachers at the Northeast Conference, U.S.A., in 1966, “I am, frankly, rather skeptical about the significance, for the teaching of languages, of such insights and understanding as have been attained in linguistics and psychology”. The pattern practice procedure was rejected together with the disillusionment over neo-behaviorism as a psychological theory. Structural linguistics was also denounced and with it the ALM gave way to fresher teaching methods. The innovative approaches of the seventies were an attempt to bring methodology in line with modern scientific developments in the related areas and to discover the new orientations in the teaching of modern foreign languages. The theoretical basis of Caleb Gattegno’s method (1972), The Silent Way, is the idea that teaching must be subordinated to learning and thus students must develop their own inner criteria for correctness. Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers and creates in a problem-solving process involving the material to be learnt. All four skills are taught from the beginning. Students’ errors are expected as a normal part of learning. The teacher’s silence helps foster students’ self-reliance and initiative. The teacher is active in setting up situations using special teaching aids, Fidel charts and Cuisenaire rods, while the students do most of the talking and interacting. Georgi Lozanov’s Suggestopedia (1972) seeks to help learners eliminate psychological barriers to learning. The learning environment is comfortable and subdued, with low lighting and soft slow music in the background. Students choose a name and character in the target language and culture and imagine being that person. Dialogues are presented to the accompaniment of Baroque concertos. Students are in a relaxed but focused state of “pseudoWhole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 39

passiveness”. They listen to the dialogues being read aloud with varying intonations and a coordination of sound and printed word or illustration. The students are expected to read the texts at home “cursorily once before going to bed and again before getting up in the morning” (Lozanov 1972). In Charles Curran’s method (1976), Community Language Learning, learners become members of a community - their fellow learners and the teacher - and learn through interacting with the members of that community. The teacher considers learners as “whole persons” with intellect, feelings, instincts and a desire to learn. The teacher also recognizes that learning can be threatening. By understanding and accepting students’ fears, the teacher helps students feel secure and overcome their fears. The syllabus used is learner-generated, in that students choose what they want to learn to say in the target language. Learning is linked to a set of practices granting “consensual validation” in which mutual warmth and a positive evaluation of the other person’s worth develops between the teacher and the learner (Curran 1976). James Asher’s Total Physical Response (1977) places primary importance on listening comprehension, emulating the early stages of native language acquisition, and then moving to speaking, reading and writing. Asher (1977) claims that “the brain and nervous system are biologically programmed to acquire language… in a particular sequence and in a particular mode. The sequence is listening before speaking and the mode is to synchronize language with the individual’s body”. Students practice their comprehension by acting out commands issued by the teacher. Activities, including games and skits, are designed to be fun and to allow students to assume active learning roles.

2.3. Period III: Communicative Language Teaching The year 1975 constitutes a “watershed” between the second and the third period of development of language teaching in this century. That year saw the publication of The Threshold Level document of the Council for Cultural Cooperation of the Council of Europe (Van Ek 1975). The document is "a specification of an elementary level in a unit/credit system for individuals who, from time to time, have (personal or professional) contacts in the target
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 40

countries" (Trim 1980, 5). It marks the appearance of a new approach, the so-called Communicative Language Teaching or the Communicative Approach (CA). John Trim (1980, 5), Director of the Modern Languages Project, writes, "the Threshold Level is remarkable for the systematic way in which the language behavior appropriate to the defined target audience is specified in its various interrelated parameters". Since then, the Threshold Level documents for many European languages have been published, e.g., in alphabetical order, the threshold levels for French, Un Niveau Seuil (1976), for German, Kontaktschwelle. Deutsch als Fremdsprache (1981), for Spanish, Un nivel umbral (1981), for Portuguese, Nivel Limiar (1988), etc. Information on those documents is available on the web-site: ( On the European level, the most recent work in this area is the document of the Council of Europe entitled A Common European Framework of Reference for Language Learning and Teaching (publicly accessible on the web-site: We shall return to it in Section 4.4. Many scholars have contributed to the development of the CA. For example, Dell Hymes introduced the construct of “communicative competence” in his famous paper, On Communicative Competence (1971). He explores the influence of the social context in which a language is learnt on the linguistic competence, which the individual attains. Hymes claims that “a normal child acquires knowledge of sentences, not only as grammatical, but also as appropriate. He or she acquires competence as to when to speak, when not, and as to what to talk about with whom, when, where, in what manner. In short, a child becomes able to accomplish a repertoire of speech acts, to take part in speech events, and to evaluate their accomplishment by others” (1971, 269). In the cited paper, he asks his famous four questions of “communication culture”: “1. Whether (and to what degree) something is formally possible; 2. Whether (and to what degree something is feasible in virtue of the means of implementation available; 3.Whether (and to what degree) something is appropriate (adequate, happy, successful) in relation to a context in which it is used and evaluated; 4. Whether (and to what degree) something is in fact done, actually performed, and what it’s doing entails.” (Hymes 1971, 281)

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


The “four questions” prompt a new way of judging utterances in context. In that sense, Hymes’ paper was programmatic, suggesting a new line of research. In the 1960s, Roger Brown studied early development of the mother tongue of American children. The acquisition of English grammatical morphemes was tackled through the speech samples of three children, the now famous Adam, Eve and Sarah Brown. He found that they developed their language at different chronological ages and at different rates. However, he also found that they each went through roughly the same sequence of stages. Brown tried to find the principles underlying the order he discovered and concluded that a combination of linguistic and semantic complexity must cause it. Research extended to other language structures. Courtney Cazden and Roger Brown describe “three major progressions in first language acquisition: evolution of the basic operations of reference and semantic relations in twoword utterances of very young children; the acquisition of 14 grammatical morphemes and the modulations of meaning they express; and, still later, the acquisition of English tag questions like doesn’t it or can’t it” (Cazden & Brown 1975, 299). The order of acquisition of 14 English grammatical morphemes and the meanings they express is the following (Cazden & Brown 1975, 301): (1) Present Progressive: riding (temporary duration; process, state), (2-3) in, on (containment, support), (4) Plural: two dogs (number), (5) Past, irregular: saw; went (earlierness), (6) Possessive: Mommy’s hat (possession) (7) Uncontractible copula: Here I am in response to Where are you? (number; earlierness), (8) Articles: a, the (specific-non-specific), (9) Past, regular: walked, wanted (earlierness), (10) Third person, regular: goes (number, earlierness), (11) Third person irregular: has, does (number, earlierness), (12) Uncontractible auxiliary: I am in response to Who’s coming? (temporary duration, number, earlierness), (13) Contractible copula: He’s sick. (number, earlierness), (14) Contractible auxiliary: He’s running. (temporary duration, number, earlierness).

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


In the seventies, several investigators of instructional accuracy orders replicated and extended Brown’s experiments for English as a second language. In their “morpheme studies”, Heidi Dulay and Marina Burt (1974) examined the natural sequences in second language acquisition applying the Bilingual Syntax Measure. They used 151 Spanish-speaking children learning English. The acquisition sequences obtained from their subjects were strikingly similar. Other language structures were also investigated. For example, Fred Eckman, Lawrence Bell and Diane Nelson (1986, 12) tested the generalization of relative clause instruction in the development of English as a second language. They found that “maximal generalization of learning will result from acquisition of relatively more marked structures. Such generalization will be unidirectional and will be in the direction of those structures, which are relatively less marked” (Eckman, Bell & Nelson 1986, 12). And they concluded that “if only a single structure of a set of implicationally related structures is to be taught, maximal generalization will result from teaching that which is most marked” (op. cit., 12). The first published adult study of acquisition order (Bailey, Madden & Krashen 1974) investigated 73 adult students of English at Queens College, New York. The Bilingual Syntax Measure was applied. The study showed that the contours for the acquisition sequences of children and adults are very similar. Several other investigators have looked at acquisition sequences for adults from different language backgrounds (Krashen et al. 1976, Perkins and LarsenFreeman 1975, Makino 1979, Lee 1981, Pica 1983, etc.). The general result of the acquisition order research was that a “natural order” of acquisition of the structure of English as a second language characteristic of both children and adults and similar for both speaking and writing was discovered. Some scholars consider this conclusion one of the most significant outcomes of second language research (Dulay & Burt 1980, Cook 1989). In sociology and education, the Futures Movement evolved. Futures research “concerns itself with conceptualizing and inventing the future by examining the consequences of various plans of action before they become tomorrow’s reality” (Pulliam 1987, 261). Educators and politicians agree on the fact that “the changes currently in progress have improved everyone’s access to information and knowledge, but have at the same time made considerable adjustments necessary in the skills required and in working patterns” (White Paper on Education and Training, European Commission, 1996, 6). They use different terms to refer to the period of transformation through which we
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 43

are passing, “post-industrial”, “post-modern” “information age”, “learning society” and the like. But they all believe in the challenges of the new reality. We shall look at the educational paradigm shift in Chapter 2. John Naisbitt (1982) describes the most important trends that shape the world at the end of the century. His megatrends include shifting from: • • • • • • • • • an industrial society to an information based society, a forced technology to a high tech/high touch mode, a national economy to a truly global economy, short range planning to long-term planning, centralization to decentralization, institutional help to self-help in various fields, representative democracy to participatory democracy, authority dominated hierarchies to networking, single option choices to multiple option choices.

All that facilitated the development of the theory and practice of language teaching giving it a strong impetus. Today, numerous methodology textbooks expound on the nature of communicative language teaching. All the work that has been done on the CA has led to the evolvement of two quite distinct orientations: a “weak” version and a “strong” version of the method. Anthony Howatt (1984, 279) holds that if the former could be described as ‘learning to use’ the target language, the latter entails ‘using [the target language] to learn it’. The weak version advances the claim that communicative syllabi and teaching materials should provide the learner with opportunities to acquire communicative competence necessary and sufficient to be used in actual communication. This idea is the basis for the unfolding of a whole new field of study in language teaching methodology, referred to as communicative syllabus design, which we shall discuss separately. Howatt (1984, 280) writes that language teaching requires “a closer study of the language itself and a return to the traditional concept that utterances carried meaning in themselves and expressed the meanings and the intentions of the speakers and writers who created them”. The strong version of the CA, on the other hand, has given rise to the planning and implementation of realistic communicative tasks, which give
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 44

the learner a chance to acquire the target language itself while using it. The proponents of the strong version did not go to the radical solution of “deschooling” language learning altogether but they advocated real communication within the language classroom. If the teacher shows genuine interest in the concerns and activities of the students, and if the students can talk to each other and share their thoughts and feelings, real communication is likely to occur. The CA stresses the need to teach communicative competence, i.e. the ability to use the target language effectively and appropriately, as opposed to linguistic competence. Thus, language functions are emphasized over language forms. Students usually work in small groups on communicative activities, during which they receive practice in negotiating meaning. Authentic teaching materials are used. Opportunities are provided for the students to deal with unrehearsed situations under the guidance, not control, of the teacher. The teacher’s role changes from being “the sage on the stage” to becoming “a guide on the side” (Mowrer 1996). Ken Goodman (Goodman et al. 1991) expands on this idea, suggesting four roles for teachers: (1) kid-watchers, who observe the students, watching for signs of growth, need and potential, (2) mediators, who offer guidance, support and resources for learning, (3) liberators, who help students take ownership of their own learning, and finally, (4) initiators, who rely on their professional knowledge and creativity to create exciting learning environments. The following list sums up eight salient features of communicative language teaching: • Communicative competence is the desired goal (“learning to use”). • Minimum general intelligibility is sought in the teaching of pronunciation. • Use of the native language and translation is accepted where feasible. • Fluency is emphasized over accuracy. • Students cooperate in the classroom, using the language in unrehearsed contexts (“using to learn”). • Systematic attention is paid to functional as well as structural aspects of language. • Drilling occurs peripherally. • Discourse is at the center of attention.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


In summary, the Communicative Approach and the other language teaching methods can be seen as specific teaching proposals in which learning content is critical for the achievement of the educational aims. We believe that the aims and content of language courses are determined by the overall educational philosophy prominent in the community. That constitutes the relatively abstract approach level of teaching methods, which refers to the theories about the nature of language education and other theories. Chapter 3 presents a discussion on this theme. Concrete plans for a language curriculum, which constitutes the relatively concrete design level of teaching methods, are made in Chapter 4. In it, we shall examine the question of language curriculum design and development.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Chapter 3: Paradigm Shift in Education
That language teaching should be democratic has long become a fact of life. That it is democratic has yet to become a reality. Our claim is that, at the end of the twentieth century, we are experiencing an educational paradigm shift, in which language teaching has its share. First, we shall look into the change in the overall concept of the complex process of education. 3.1. Changing the Focus of Education The mission of educational institutions is to educate people. As John Dewey (1933) noted, “A primary responsibility of educators is that they not only be aware of the general principles of the shaping of actual experience by environing conditions but that they also recognize in the concrete what surroundings are conductive to having experiences that lead to growth. Above all, they should know how to utilize the surroundings, physical and social, that exist so as to extract from them all that they have to contribute to building up experiences that are worthwhile”. But what constitutes an educated person? To the business world, an well-educated person is one who has the skills required to succeed on the job. The lay public’s view of an educated person is one who has accumulated a large body of information. None of these views seems really acceptable though. A saying is circulating in the universities these days: Georgie Porgie, Puddin’ and pie, Kissed the girls and made them cry, When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away, Guess what, Georgie Porgie, We have a sexual harassment subpoena for you, Georgie Porgie. The times, they are a-changing. Indeed, the times are changing rapidly. In the age of the learning society, education is seen as a process, not a product. During the teaching and learning process, the student should learn how to think and to listen, how to

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


participate in dialogue, how to analyze issues and how to read critically. Students should learn how to write so that others can follow their thinking. Fifteen years ago, A. McLeod pointed out that “Being literate in the 1980s means having the power to use language – writing and reading, speaking and listening – for our own purposes, as well as those that the institutions of society require of us. The classroom processes by which that power is achieved include the first exercise of that power” (1986, 37). In our opinion, that is true about both first and second language development circumstances. Students should learn to take responsibility for their own learning, to find joy in learning and to open their minds to new ideas. They should learn the skills and attitudes necessary to achieve lasting success during the remainder of their lives no matter what their goals are. The learning process should continue throughout their lifetime, not just while attending formal schooling. Educators emphasize that one of the most important things students should learn is how to think for themselves. Students must learn how to choose consciously what direction their lives should take professionally as well as personally. They need to be able to solve problems in a rational manner, to experience compassion toward others and to be willing and able to acknowledge conflict and contradiction and resolve differences satisfactorily. John Pulliam (1987) suggests several specific characteristics of the educational paradigm shift. We shall present them below and return to the most important issues in the following section. Replacing linear with synergetic processes is the first one. Linear organizations can only make linear decisions. Thus, the school can only receive information that it is designed to receive. It tends to repress unfavorable information. The teachers cannot make decisions from the perspective of the students. Alternatively, a synergetic system is perceived as an “ad-hocracy” (Toffler 1985). It is based on the cooperation of individuals to complete temporary tasks. Education is more than training. This is the second feature of the new focus of education. Education is process-oriented; if students are asked questions for which the answers are known, the system is training. Thirdly, students need education for the unknown. In the past, students attended schools to learn what they did not know from teachers who were presumed to know. Now, focus should be on cooperative problem analysis and sharing of sources of information. The school should move away from
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 48

the exclusive treatment of what is well understood towards helping students cope with the unknown. The fourth characteristic is the structural versus sapiential authority controversy. Structural authority, which is he dominant pattern in schools, is derived from one’s title or rank in the institution. Position rather than competence establishes the authority of the teacher. Sapiential authority, on the other hand, is based on the possession of wisdom and knowledge which finds support among others. Both teachers and students have the opportunity for critical analysis of any given piece of information. Sapiential authority is considered a necessary part of education for future survival. Fifth, lifelong learning is an important characteristic of the new educational paradigm. Preparation for a life of learning should replace the idea of terminal schooling. Sixth, there should be an end to zero sum games in education. Competitive teaching modes promote the “I win – you lose” structure. The winners, the good learners, are also losers because they will perpetuate competition in their lives. This is a zero sum game in which everyone eventually loses. Therefore, an educational mode of cooperation should substitute competition among students. Seventh, students in the twenty-first century will need a well-developed skill in evaluation and critical thinking. Eighth, the future school must become a resource distribution center for creating and spreading unbiased information. Modern information and communication technology has changed the focus of education from the input of information to the application of data to problem situations in a cooperative and action-oriented environment. In a word, what schools should help students acquire is a wisdom that they will continue to develop for the rest of their lives (see Section 3.5). To reduce all the experiences that lead to it to mastering skills for satisfactorily answering long series of test questions to obtain a certificate stating that a required curriculum has been met is a shallow and inaccurate representation of education.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


3.2. A Teaching Paradigm to Meet Psychosocial Needs The overused traditional frontal teaching paradigm places responsibility for the student learning solely upon the shoulders of the teacher. The instructor writes the curriculum and the syllabus, selects the readings, delivers the information via lectures and prepares evaluative instruments. She or he presents the same information, lectures to and tests all students regardless of individual differences among them. Little or no concern is given to the individual psychosocial needs of the individual. We know, however, that students are social individuals each with vastly different needs, learning styles, goals and abilities. Some students have inadequate reading skills. Some have computer phobia or “keyboard fright”. Some have difficulty constructing simple sentences. Many have “library anxiety” or have not the slightest clue of how to find information. A few continue to experience difficulty with computational skills. Is it any wonder that the “sacred” bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution of achievement predominates in the teacher’s grade book if the students receive the same information via lectures and all read the same textbooks? Most students play a passive role in the classroom. Action flows from the teacher to the students and seldom vice versa. Some students, especially minority students, are isolated from positive social contacts with their classmates or their instructor. Others are shy and seldom if ever speak in class. For example, Karp and Yoels (1987) found that in classes of less than 40 members, four to five students accounted for 75 percent of all interactions and in classes of over 40, two to three students accounted for over 50 percent of all interactions. Rather than continue the traditional teaching strategy that selects the best students and weeds out the poorer ones, we can use a system that cultivates and develops the talents of every student. We cannot permit students to leave our classes with an inferior grasp of the subject matter. Every student, not just the elite few, must reach the competency levels set by the teacher. This is not to suggest that educators should produce student robots. The point is that we cannot be content with inferior teaching and inferior learning. We cannot be content with a teaching approach that is only partly effective.
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 50

If we wish to help students learn how to think critically, to work constructively with members of their community, to enjoy scholarly activities and how to embellish their learning experiences when they leave the school, we must focus our attention on the individual needs of the student. This shift from simply providing decomposed language and inert course content to meeting psychosocial needs of the individual student is what the new teaching paradigm is about. David Johnson (Johnson et al. 1991) lists five principal activities that should be incorporated in a new teaching paradigm structured to increase student achievement and, at the same time, meet psychosocial needs of students. Firstly, teachers must structure the learning environment to help students construct, transform and extend knowledge. Knowledge is not a static entity. It is an ever-changing variable. This is not to infer that “anything goes”, that there is no “right” or “wrong”. Relativism in this context refers to helping students to keep an open mind, to be willing to listen and to learn, to discuss and argue and to counteract the dogmatism of the moment. Students must construct their own knowledge and understanding through active social interaction with their peers and teachers. Learning occurs when the student activates her or his existing cognitive schemata by applying new knowledge to practical situations. Students gather information from their courses so they can utilize it in their professional careers as well a their life as citizens. Unfortunately, possession of knowledge and skills alone does not guarantee comprehension. Without understanding, rote knowledge and routine skills serves students poorly. David Perkins and his colleagues at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have adopted a “performance perspective” on understanding that involves generative performances, where learners “go beyond the information given”, which “demand somewhat different kinds of thinking” and which are organized in an incremental fashion. “Understanding is not a matter of ‘either you get it or you don’t’. It is open ended and a matter of degree. You can understand a little about something (you can display a few understanding performances) or a lot more about something (you can display many varied understanding performances), but you cannot understand everything about something because there are always more extrapolations that you might not have explored and might not be able to make” (Perkins 1992, 78).

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Understanding a concept involves being able to execute a number of “performances” that demonstrate the concept in new and novel ways. These performances must consist of applications that take the students far beyond what they already know. Traditional measures of comprehension such as multiple-choice questions, true/false quizzes and conventional short essay questions, while easy to mark and assess, do not even begin to tap into a student’s understanding of a topic or concept. One demonstrates one’s ability to swim not by answering questions about swimming but by performing the act. The teacher must closely monitor student learning to ensure that each competency level is met. Education is a social process that involves frequent student-to-student and teacher-to-student interaction. Learning is increased when individuals work with one another in a caring environment that helps each student gain understanding of the course material. Interactional peer support is needed to encourage achievement and proper orientation to learning tasks. Shopov and Fedotoff (in press) conclude, after examining students’ course evaluation reports, that group dynamic structuring interaction between learners can provide the conditions, which have been thought to facilitate learning. Thomas and Stock (1988) in their study of what makes people happy observe that young adults associate the word “friendship” with heir concept of happiness. Bonding friendships promote student achievement while isolation, competition and individualistic classroom activities demote achievement and lower self-esteem. Lastly, the use of a variety of small-group cooperative activities is the most effective procedure to encourage students to think creatively in divergent ways that foster new and novel solutions to problems. Bligh (1972), in his review of about 100 studies of college teaching methods, found that students who participate actively in discussions with classmates spend more time synthesizing and integrating concepts than do students who simply listen to lectures. In almost every study, the cooperative learning format was far superior to competitive and individualistic learning models (Johnson, Johnson and Smith 1991). Implementing cooperative learning is not an easy task nor is it without problems. The authors caution that simply assigning students to small groups with the instruction to begin discussing a topic or work on a project may result in little or no student learning. Left unsupervised within a loosely structured environment, some students may choose to be uncooperative
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 52

forcing other group members to complete the work. More conscientious students may feel compelled to complete the work on their own and act independently of the group. Insecure students may assume a “back bench” attitude. Often, ingroup struggles for power develop. Feichtner and Davis (1985) concluded, after interviewing students who reported negative experiences with cooperative learning, that an instructor’s misuse of and lack of knowledge about structuring effective cooperative learning activities is responsible for student dissatisfaction.

3.3. Factors of Cooperative Learning A number of factors or essential elements of cooperative learning, according to Donna Johnson and her colleagues at the University of Arizona, Tucson (1991), who have conducted extensive research concerning effective group management, are necessary to make cooperative learning successful. The first factor, positive interdependence, means that each group member depends upon every other group member to achieve a goal. If other members have little or nothing to contribute, then there is no reason for the group to exist. For example, to score points in a basketball game, each member depends upon the skills and abilities of the other players. One or two players alone cannot win games. The team sinks or swims together as a group. If one member can accomplish a task satisfactorily without the aid of others, then there is no reason to form a group. One way to structure an assignment to foster a positive interdependent relationship is to give the students more work to do than any single individual could complete within the time limits allotted. Another way to encourage interdependence is to provide specific information to two of the group members and different information to other two members. This, two of the members will depend upon the information possessed by the other two members. A valuable technique to promote interdependence is to assign each member a role to perform within the group (see Section 3.4). A group leader is appointed to organize, manage and direct activities. A recorder takes accurate notes and records data for group activities. A checker assures that
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 53

each member understands the tasks or concepts. An encourager is appointed to make sure that each member has ample opportunity to contribute to the group. Finally, part of the final grade is derived from the group’s performance on the task. Thus, if one member of the group does not understand the concepts to be learnt, the assessment scores of the other group members will suffer. The second factor needed to make cooperative learning successful is faceto-face promotive interaction. Promotive interaction occurs as students encourage each other, reward one another, provide assistance to help each other learn, exchange information and ideas and challenge ideas of other group members. This may be accomplished through trusting and caring relationships formed within each group as students interact. If one student attempts to impress other students with his or her knowledge to increase his or her self-esteem, positive interaction does not occur. There must be a caring attitude of concern for the learning of their peers and a genuine willingness to share information through a helping relationship before positive interactions can occur. Individual students must learn that they are responsible for understanding the course content. This third factor, referred to as individual accountability, must be assessed frequently. The teacher may call at random upon individual students to answer questions. Also, individual tests are given periodically to evaluate students’ achievement. Inevitably, some students exploit the group structure to avoid working and let the others do the bulk of the work. This behavior is called “social loafing". Group members can monitor individual accountability by constructing quizzes to each other. Records can be kept of the frequency and quality of each group member’s contribution during a cooperative learning assignment. The important point is that there must be a system to continually assess each student’s knowledge and contribution to insure that learning is occurring. Building social collaborative skills is the fourth important factor. We cannot assume that each student possesses well-developed interpersonal and group communication skills. A large proportion of students has not had the experience of working with other students in small group activities. Some students distrust others; some feel uncomfortable working with minority students. Others, to avoid verbal interaction with peers, prefer to listen rather than participate, especially when they are among aggressive peers.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


The cooperative learning environment, if well organized, provides an opportunity for students to grow socially and learn effective group communication skills. The importance of mastering these skills is undeniable. If one of the most important missions of the school is to help students develop wisdom, then certainly helping them to acquire effective interactive social skills is an important activity. Teachers should encourage students to develop these skills by identifying, explaining and rewarding students for engaging in effective social interaction activities. Skills such as active listening, turn-taking, offering constructive and encouraging criticism, showing concern for the feelings of others and actively participating in group discussions are but a few important skills students must learn by participating in a promotive interactive framework. David Johnson and Roger Johnson (1989) report research findings showing that the combination of positive interdependence and the use of effective social skills promotes highest achievement among students within a cooperative learning environment. The last factor, group processing, describes the group’s self-evaluation of each member’s contribution. Individual contributions either help or hinder achievement of the desired goals. Group processing also includes an analysis of improvements that could be made to help the group function more effectively in the future. A combination of teacher and student processing results in significant improvement and success within a cooperative learning format. Student interactive evaluations provide a way to maintain good working relationships among group members and ensure that individual members receive feedback about the quality of their participation. Group processing also occurs when the instructor provides feedback to the class based on observations of individual student contributions. This processing serves as a model for students who are learning how to critique peers effectively. Positive feedback for work well done creates a feeling of enthusiasm, of being successful and of increased elf-esteem among students. It is not possible to incorporate all these factors within each group encounter but the greater the number of features used, the greater the learning. Cooperative learning fosters growth in many areas: learning to use interpersonal skills effectively, understanding and applying the course content to life situations, developing self-esteem and ability to explain concepts to others. These are only a few of the outcomes resulting from well-structured small group cooperative activities. However they are sufficient to distinguish positively the cooperative learning paradigm from
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 55

the traditional individualistic and competitive “lecture only” teaching. Johnson and Johnson (1989) report that in almost every study conducted during this century that compares the effectiveness of cooperative and competitive learning formats, the cooperative model results in higher achievement and greater productivity, more caring committed interpersonal relationships, greater psychological health and social competence.

3.4. Cooperative Language Learning In her book Second Language Learning through Cooperative Learning, Julie High (1993) reports her discovery that effective language learning depends on structuring social interaction to maximize the need to communicate in the target language. We have always accepted this principle; for example, it is behind the theory and practice of the immersion programs in North America, the “foreign language medium schools” in Bulgaria, the “cognitive academic language learning approach” (Chamot & O’Malley 1994), etc. We have always believed that memorizing conjugations, grammar structures and vocabulary produces at best some knowledge about a language. Knowledge about a language, however, is very different from acquiring the language. Julie High describes a number of classroom activities, which structure social interaction in the classroom. They are based on a simple formula: Structure + Content = Activity. In fact, Julie High adapts Spencer Kagan’s original ideas about cooperative learning structures which he calls “co-op structures” in his book, Cooperative Learning (1992) published by his Californian company, Kagan Cooperative Learning Co. Several such participation structures, we have been using in our language classes. Our students love them, confiding that achievement should not be divorced from enjoyment. 4-S Brainstorming. This structure is based on speed, synergy, silliness and support. The class is divided into teams of four students. Each team member has a special role to facilitate the creative potential of brainstorming and has a phrase to say in the target language that encourages her or his partners:

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


• • • •

Speed: “Let’s hurry!” Synergy: “Let’s build on that!” Silly: “Let’s get crazy!” Support: “All ideas help!”

Students brainstorm an idea for a while and then all teams pair up and interview each other. Pairs Check. Teams break into two sets of pairs each of which works on a worksheet. One student is the problem solver and the other one is the coach. The coach helps and checks his or her partner’s work. After a while, the teams reunite and the pairs on the team compare answers. If the team disagrees, they ask the teacher to help them. If the team agrees on the answer, they do a team handshake. Pairs Check is a particularly good structure for practicing new skills. Numbered Heads Together. This is a four-step cooperative structure, which can be used with any language teaching content and at various places in a lesson: (1) Students number off, (2) Teacher asks a question, (3) Heads together, (4) Teacher calls a number. Each student on a team has a different number. He or she will answer to that number when it is called. The teacher formulates a question as a directive, e.g. “Make sure everyone on your team can…” The students put their heads together and discuss the question until everyone knows the answer. After a while, the teacher will call a number at random and the students with that number raise their hands to be called upon, as in the traditional classroom. Co-op Co-op. The emphasis in this structure is on bringing out and nourishing the natural intelligence, creativeness and expressiveness of students. In Co-op Co-op, the structure indicates that we value the interests and abilities of the students. This cooperative language learning structure has ten steps:

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


(1) Student-centered class discussion. This discussion leads to an understanding among the teacher and the class about what the students want to learn and experience in relation to the topic or unit to be covered. (2) Selection of student learning teams. (3) Teambuilding and cooperative skill development. This is an important phase in which the members of each team feel they are a “we” and have developed trust and communication skills. (4) Team topic selection. The team members settle on the topic of most interest to themselves as a group. (5) Mini-topic selection. The team members divide the topic of the team into mini-topics for each member to work on. (6) Mini-topic preparation. Individual students work on their own topics. (7) Mini-topic presentations. Individual students present their own topics to their teammates. (8) Preparation of team presentations. The team discusses and integrates the material presented in the previous step in order to prepare their team presentations. (9) Team presentations. (10) Reflection and evaluation. Students reflect on their work and their achievements. The whole class evaluates team presentations. Individual presentations are evaluated by teammates. Research on teaching has shown that whole-class discussion, individual seatwork and lecture prevail as the favorite organizational structures in the traditional classroom. In relation to participation structures which promote meaningful interaction, Spencer Kagan maintains that by participating in planned formats “students become responsible for learning and sharing what they have learnt. The structure prepares students for participation in a democratic society” (Kagan 1992). And he goes on, “How we structure a classroom is an important, perhaps the most important, form of communication we make to students. If we structure the classroom so that the goal of learning is a good team score, we communicate that the most important value is a competitive victory. If we structure so that the teacher is in full control of what and how students study, we communicate that students are empty or that their intelligence and curiosity are not valued. If we choose an autocratic authority structure, we communicate a lack of faith in the potential of students to choose positive directions for development. By taking full responsibility for students’ learning, we leave them none. We do not leave students room to come out and become fully engaged in the

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


learning process”. Thus, planning participation structures at the micro-level of language teaching is seen as an aspect of “precision teaching”.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Chapter 4: The Language Curriculum
The term curriculum has been in English usage for a long time (see Josef Dolch 1959, quoted in Kansanen 1995, 101). In German, it was substituted for the term Plan and later in the eighteenth century, for the term Lehrplan (see Kansanen 1995 for a detailed study of the development of this construct). “Curriculum” comes from Latin and means “a running, course, race”. The noun is related to the verb “currere” which means, “to run”. A Modern English dictionary defines “curriculum” in the following way: “all of the courses, collectively, offered in a school, college, etc. or in a particular subject” (Webster’s New World Dictionary 1988). As is seen from the definition, the term is commonly used in two related senses. It refers to (a) a programme of study at an educational institution or system and (b) content in a particular subject or course of studies. In the latter sense, “curriculum” is synonymous with the British term “syllabus”. In fact, the use of the two terms in Europe and North America has caused a great deal of confusion in second language teaching. Within the framework of the Tempus Scheme of the Commission of the European Communities, DG XXII – Education, Training and Youth, the following definitions for the terms, curriculum, course and syllabus are used. Curriculum is the totality of an organised learning experience; it provides the conceptual structure and a set time frame to acquire a recognisable degree, and describes its overall content, e.g. the curriculum of a five-year degree programme in “Mechanical Engineering” at a certain higher education institution. Course is the totality of an organised learning experience in a precisely defined area, e.g. the course on “Fluid Dynamics” within the curriculum “Mechanical Engineering”. Syllabus is the prescription of details on a specific course, such as what will be learnt (and when) the texts to be read, the areas in which expertise is expected to be demonstrated. We need to establish a clear distinction between the terms. Here is a definition by J. P. B. Allen, which is adequate to our purposes: “curriculum is a very general concept which involves considerations of the whole complex of philosophical, social and administrative factors which contribute to the planning of an educational programme; syllabus, on the other hand, refers to that subpart of curriculum which is concerned with a specification of what units will be taught”.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Here, we are interested in the educational aspects of curriculum design and development. But let us consider an example from recent history of education first. Here is an excerpt from the so-called Siman Act, Nebraska Legislature, U.S.A., April 1919, “No person shall … teach any subject to any person in any language other than the English language. Languages other than the English language may be taught as language only after a pupil shall have … passed the eighth grade”. The case of Meyer versus State of Nebraska was based on the Siman Act. Robert T. Meyer was arrested for teaching German to a ten-year-old boy in Nebraska on 25 May 1920. His case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled on 4 June 1923 that anti-foreign-language laws were in violation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The majority decision stated, “No emergency has arisen which renders knowledge by a child of some language other than English so clearly harmful as to justify its inhibition”. This and many other examples indicate that modern foreign languages, and all other disciplines for that matter, as a school subject should not be taken for granted. In relation to that, John Clark (1987) asks several important questions: “whether to include languages other than the mother tongue in the school curriculum; which languages to include; to whom to teach them and for how long; what objectives to seek to achieve”. The answers, according to him, should be sought in the particular educational value system of society at a particular moment in time. Bednar et al. (1992, 19) propose that “Instructional design and development must be based upon some theory of learning and/or cognition; effective design is possible only if the developer has developed reflexive awareness of the theoretical basis underlying the design”.

4.1. Constructivism Constructivism is a theory of leaning and instruction that “emphasizes the real-world complexity and ill-structuredness of many knowledge domains” (Spiro et al. 1992, 57). Constructivist view of cognition contends that learning is a process of personal interpretation of experience and construction of knowledge. Constructivists adopt the notion of Wittgenstein
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 61

that context is an integral part of meaning. “Learning is an active process in which meaning is developed on the basis of experience” (Bednar et al. 1992, 21). Constructivism is an alternative epistemological perspective to objectivism (see Lakoff 1987). Constructivism in language education has been explored extensively by Seppo Tella and his colleagues at the Media Education Center, University of Helsinki. They relate constructivism to the concept of dialogism: “dialogue is a crucial element in the creation of any language organization and especially in establishing an open mulimedia based collaborative and networked learning environment. It suggests that the learning environment in the framework of dialogism cannot be a physical space, a classroom, nor any particular media education tool. The learning environment is – dialogue” (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998, 103). Tella (1998, 117) cites seven ingredients needed to promote dialogic education: (a) presence, (b) unanticipated consequences, (c) otherness, (d) vulnerability, (e) mutual implication, (f) temporal flow, (g) authenticity. Theory of constructivism has been developing and new versions have been emerging. Neo-constructivists of the cognitive school believe that “(a) understandings are constructed by using prior knowledge to go beyond the information given; and (b) the prior knowledge that is brought to bear is itself constructed, rather than retrieved from memory, on a case-by-case basis” (Spiro et al. 1992, 64). Social constructivists focus on social interaction in the community as a source of knowledge. Social constructivism has been described by Burton, Moore and Magliaro (1996, 48). Jim Cummins (1994, 48) describes the pedagogical and social assumptions underlying educator role definitions in language teaching (Figure 1 and Figure 2). He distinguishes the objectivist from the constructivist positions in methodology (the transmission versus critical orientation) and in sociology (the social control versus social transformation orientation). Cummins concludes, “Educators’ role definitions reflect their vision of society, and implicated in that societal vision are their own identities and those of the students with whom they interact. The outcome of this process for both educator and student can be described in terms of empowerment. Empowerment can thus be regarded as the collaborative creation of power insofar as it constitutes the process whereby students and educators
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 62

collaboratively create knowledge and identity through action focused on personal and social transformation” (Cummins 1994, 55).

Transmission Orientation: Language – Decomposed, Knowledge – Inert, Learning – Hierarchical internalization from simple to complex. Critical Orientation: Language – Meaningful, Knowledge – Catalytic, Learning – Joint interactive construction through critical inquiry within the zone of proximal development. Figure 1: Educator Pedagogical Assumptions (Cummins 1994, 48)

Social Control Orientation: Curricular Topics – Neutralized with respect to societal power relations, Student Outcomes – Compliant and uncritical. Social Transformation Orientation: Curricular Topics – Focussed on issues relevant to societal power relations, Student Outcomes – Empowered, critical. Figure 2: Educator Social Assumptions (Cummins 1994, 48) Nicholas Burbules (1997, 8) maintains that teaching “is not a process of conversion, but of translation: of making sufficient associations between the familiar and the foreign to allow the learner to make further associations, to find other paths, and eventually to become a translator, a path-maker, on their own. Learning how to ask a good question is in one sense the central task, yet one that is almost never taught explicitly, and rarely taught at all.”

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


In conclusion, we claim that the implications for language curriculum design are quite straightforward. One is that content cannot be predetermined. Perhaps learning objectives cannot be pre-specified either. The curriculum developer cannot define the boundaries of what may be relevant. All he or she can do is plan authentic, real-world tasks, which will provide the necessary and sufficient contexts for the learners to realize their objectives and construct their knowledge. This can be achieved by providing a collaborative learning environment based on communicative interaction containing sufficient comprehensible language input and output.

4.2. The General versus Specific Courses Conjecture In the early seventies, Anthony Howatt stated, “Special courses have fairly specific objectives and are rather simpler to discuss. General courses tend to be diffuse in their aims and take their overall shape more from tradition, contemporary fashion and the vague but powerful influences exerted by the social attitudes and economic needs of the community” (1974). In fact, the distinction is embedded in the objectivist tradition of language teaching. It is best expressed by William Mackey (1965) in his famous claim that there is no language teaching without “selection, gradation, presentation and repetition” of the content. In that period, techniques like frequency, coverage and availability were applied in the process of choosing common everyday language for “communicative syllabi”. In addition, the notion of “appropriate language” was used as a criterion of usefulness. The organization of the course was based on a priori decisions on the order in which “new teaching points should come” and on “how much to teach”. The method of needs identification was developed by a Swiss scholar, Rene Richterich (Richterich & Chancerel 1977). A British linguist, John Munby (1978), elaborated the theory and methodology of language needs analysis and curriculum design. Language courses for specific purposes (e.g. English for Specific Purposes or “ESP”) were represented by their proponents as an alternative to general courses. The English in Focus series of “specialist English materials for students who use English as the medium of instruction for the subject they are studying” was published in England in the seventies (e.g. Allen & Widdowson 1994).
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 64

The authors wrote, “The series assumes that students have already completed a basic course in English and that they have some knowledge of their specialist subject. This course is therefore intended for students […] who already know how to handle the common English sentence patterns and who need to learn how these sentences are used in scientific writing to convey information…” (op. cit.). The course had a great success because the approach adopted was new. Peter Strevens outlined the “new orientations in the teaching of English” and of any language for that matter in the mid-seventies. Some ten years before, he had published one of the most successful audio-lingual textbooks, English 901 (see Section 1.2.). The times had changed though. Strevens argued, “Broadly defined, ESP courses are those in which the aims and the content are determined, principally or wholly, not by criteria of general education (as when ‘English’ is a foreign language subject in school) but by functional and practical English language requirements of the learner” (Strevens 1977, 90). This was certainly new a quarter of a century ago but today we find the conjecture rather misleading. It seems to us, at this junction, that the methodological opposition of “general purposes” to “specific purposes” in language teaching is inadequate and inappropriate. We do not think that “the aims and the content are determined” a priori by any criteria. They cannot be precompiled or prepackaged. We can discern two arguments in the literature to support this strong claim. One refers to the fact that language teaching is a complex process characterized by network of relationships in a social and cultural context and the other to the idea that language teaching is an ill-structured knowledge domain. We claim that a holistic approach, which emphasizes the priority of the whole over its parts, can solve the problem of curriculum design. In that respect, an improvement on the theory of curriculum design has been offered by Rand Spiro and his colleagues at the University of Illinois in their theory of Random Access Instruction (Spiro et al. 1992). We shall discuss this theory in the next section.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


4.3. Random Access Instruction in Complex and Ill-Structured Knowledge Domains Random Access Instruction is a theory, which accounts for the complexity of the process of language learning and the ill-structuredness of the domain of language knowledge and/or proficiency. Eve Sweetser and Gilles Fauconnier (1996) maintain that “The initially overwhelming complexity of linguistic usages is, then, not an independent and autonomous complexity. It is a reflection of the complex – and economically interrelated – structure of cognition”. Eric Lenneberg sees language proficiency as a process of “(a) extracting relations from (or computing relations in) the physical environment, and (b) of relating these relationships” (Lenneberg 1975, 17). Continuous, not discrete, cognitive and physiological processes produce those relationships. Lenneberg argues persuasively that “These deeper continuities [the continuous cognitive and physiological processes] are reflected in the “fuzzy” nature of semantic, syntactic and phonological categories, making sharp, formal distinctions and decisions difficult” (op. cit., 17). He concludes that “everything in language is of relational nature and what has to be learnt in language acquisition is how to relate, or how to compute a relationship upon given physical data” (op. cit., 32). Constructivists hold that “Characteristics of ill-structuredness found in most knowledge domains (especially when knowledge application is considered) lead to serious obstacles to the attainment of advanced learning goals (such as the mastery of conceptual complexity and the ability to independently use instructed knowledge in new situations that differ from the conditions of initial instruction). These obstacles can be overcome by shifting from a constructive orientation that emphasizes the retrieval from memory of intact preexisting knowledge to an alternative constructivist stance which stresses the flexible reassembling of preexisting knowledge to adaptively fit the needs of a new situation. Instruction based on this new constructivist orientation can promote the development of cognitive flexibility using theory-based hypertext systems that themselves possess characteristics of flexibility that mirror those desired for the learner” (Spiro et al. 1992, 59).

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Complex and ill-structured domains have two properties: “(a) each case or example of knowledge application typically involves the simultaneous interactive involvement of multiple, wide-application conceptual structures (multiple schemas, perspectives, organizational principles and so on), each of which is individually complex (i.e. the domain involves concept- and case-complexity); and (b) the pattern of conceptual incidence and interaction varies substantially across cases nominally of the same type (i.e. the domain involves across-case irregularity)” (Spiro et al. 1992, 60). For example, basic grammar is well structured, while the process of applying grammar rules in real-world communication is ill structured. Random Access Instruction can be represented by the metaphor of a rhizome, spreading in all directions. It was first used by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in the book On the Line as a method of organizing information (quoted in Burbules 1997). Seppo Tella uses it to describe open learning environments based on a communal educational value system. He maintains that “it [rhizome] transmits the idea of something growing, something developing, yet it gives ample scope for individual action and decision-making” and suggests that “a rhizome is a rhizome is a rhizome…” (Tella et al. 1998, 132). Nicholas Burbules (1997, 3) holds that “Each particular step or link within a rhizomatic whole can be conceived as a line between two points, but the overall pattern is not linear, because there is no beginning and end, no center and periphery, to be traced”. Random Access Instruction is a rhizomatic system. It can be applied in the design of nonlinear learning environments, which we shall present in the next section.

4.4. Language Curriculum as a Knowledge Strategic Hypertext What is “knowledge” and what does “knowledge strategy” mean? Tella (Tella et al. 1998, 26) maintains that knowledge is to be “understood as mental information structures modified by the individual on the basis of thinking and earlier knowledge”. Clearly, knowledge is not simply data and information. Tella defines knowledge strategy as the “long-term methodical reflection […], which finds concrete expression as operational procedures or tactical measures, slogans, goals, forms of operation, working methods
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 67

arising from discussion about values, and evaluation measures connected with them”. He emphasizes the view that “instead of simply reforming their curriculum, we think schools and municipalities should progress towards developing their knowledge strategic thinking” (Tella et al. 1998, 25). We define the Knowledge Strategic Hypertext (KSH) as a nonlinear and non-sequential language curriculum model based on constructivist epistemology and the idea of knowledge strategy (Figure 3). The term model is employed here somewhat loosely. It is a way to make clear how our hypothesis hangs together to make a coherent explanation. As far as the components of the KSH are concerned, their number is unlimited. That reflects the complexity and ill-structuredness of the language proficiency domain. In such a nonlinear and non-sequential learning environment, each element is related to all other elements. The KSH is a network model, which allows the user to move from node to node following the links between them. Nodes store linguistic, etc., information and links represent semantic associations between the nodes. Learning is seen as a process that modifies the information structures in specified ways under specified conditions. The semantic nature of the links in the KSH forms the basis of the model. This is supported by scientific research, which has shown that the mind holds memories semantically, according to meaning (Fauconnier & Sweetser). The model accommodates two conditions for learning, which are necessary and sufficient. The first is the automatic processing passively invoked by the incoming data. And the second is the active control of the incoming data. Thus, the KSH can predict what parts of the input would be accepted and what would be tuned out. The constructive process leads the user “beyond the information given” (Perkins 1992) by reconstructing information itself. In Figure 3, we present our KSH language curriculum model including communicative language competence, language activities, domains, etc. It has been developed under the LAC 2000 Project (Shopov 1999). The model contains components derived from the definition of language behaviour in Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment: A Common European Framework of Reference (CEF). It is publicly accessible on the web-site The CEF provides:
Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 68

“(a) A descriptive scheme, presenting and exemplifying the parameters and categories needed to describe, first, what a language user has to do in order to communicate in its situational context, then the role of the texts, which carry the message from producer to receiver, then the underlying competences, which enable a language user to perform acts of communication, and finally the strategies, which enable the language user to bring those competences to bear in action; (b) A survey of the approaches to language learning and teaching, providing options for users to consider in relation to their existing practice; (c) A set of scales for describing proficiency in language use, both globally and in relation to the categories of the descriptive scheme at a series of levels; (d) A discussion of the issues raised for curricular design in different educational contexts, with particular reference to the development of plurilingualism in the learner” (Trim 1999, 9). In the CEF, the general competences of the individual are defined by “the knowledge, skills and existential competence (savoir-etre) he or she possesses, and the ability to learn”. Three components constitute communicative language competence. They are the linguistic component, the socio-linguistic component and the pragmatic component. Language activities are the actual behaviors in which language is used. They are reception, production, interaction or mediation (in particular interpreting or translating) in oral or written form, or both. The domains, in which activities are contextualized, are the public domain, the personal domain, the educational domain and the occupational domain. Tasks, strategies and texts complete this model of language use and learning. All these constructs are defined in Chapter 3 of the CEF.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Starting level of L2 proficiency ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Personal domain Pragmati c compon ent

Sociolin guistic compon ent

Educatio nal domain

Linguisti c compon ent

Receptio n

Empty because model is open

Producti on

Interacti on

Public domain

Occupati onal domain

Mediatio n

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Starting level of L2 proficiency ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Figure 3: The KSH curriculum model, including the nodes and links of communicative language competence, language activities, domains, etc.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


This is obviously a comprehensive and exhaustive model. However, with its 18 elements in 7 categories, it is a complex one. Stochastic theory estimates the possible combinations of the elements at 163 (18 times 17, divided by 1 time 2). These 163 combinations produce an infinite number of concrete instances of language use. Therefore, in our opinion, only a KSH approach to curriculum design can guarantee quality in second language development. The model proposed is based on the idea of whole language development. The KSH includes language styles and registers incorporating them into “a form of metalinguistic, interlinguistic or so to speak ‘hyperlinguistic’ awareness” (CEF, 97). This leads to a better perception of what is general and what is specific concerning the linguistic organization of the target language. So each component of the model may become the starting point for the use of the KSH.

4.5. Instead of a Conclusion “Whatever the style, there are ample opportunities to orient instruction toward higher levels of understanding, introduce and exercise languages of thinking, cultivate intellectual passions, seek out integrative mental images, foster learning to learn and teach for transfer. The smart school makes the most of these opportunities. It informs and energizes teaching by giving teachers time and support to learn about the opportunities and by arranging curriculum, assessment and scheduling to encourage tapping them.” (Perkins 1992, 130)

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Abbs, Brian, Vivian Cook and Mary Underwood, 1968, Realistic English, London: Oxford University Press. Alatis, James E., Howard B. Altman and Penelope M. Alatis, 1981, The Second Language Classroom: Directions for the 1980s, New York: Oxford University Press. Allen, J. P. B. and S. Pit Corder (Eds.), 1973 - 1977, The Edinburgh Course in Applied Linguistics, Volume 1 – 4, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Allen, J. P. B. and H. G. Widdowson (Eds.), 1973 - 1977, English in Focus, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Asher, James, 1977 (Second Edition 1982), Learning Another Language through Actions: The Complete Teacher’s Guidebook. California: Sky Oak Productions. Bednar, Anne, D. Cunningham, T. M. Duffy and J. D. Perry, 1992, Theory into Practice: How Do We Link? In Duffy and Jonassen 1992. Blair, R. W. (Ed.), 1982, Innovative Approaches to Language Teaching, Massachusetts: Newbury House. Bligh, D., 1972, What’s the Use of Lectures. Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. Bloomfield, Leonard, 1933, Language, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Bloomfield, Leonard, 1942, Outline Guide for the Practical Study of Foreign Languages, Baltimore: Linguistic Society of America. Brown, Roger, 1974, A First Language: The Early Stages, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Hadvard University Press. Brown, H. Douglas, 1994a, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Third Edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents. Brown, H. Douglas, 1994b, Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents. Burbules, Nicholas, 1997, Aporia: Webs, Passages, Getting Lost, and Learning to Go On, Web-site Burton, J, D. Moore and S. Magliaro, 1996, Behaviorism and Instructional Technology, In D. H. Jonassen 1996. Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology 72

Cazden, C. B. and R. Brown, 1975, The Early Development of the Mother Tongue, In Lenneberg and Lenneberg 1975. Chamot, Anna Uhl and J. Michael O’Malley, 1994, The CALLA Handbook. Implementing the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. Chomsky, N., 1966, Topics in the Theory of Generative Grammar, The Hague: Mouton. Chomsky, N., 1968, Langauge and Mind, New York: Harcourt, Brace and World. Clark, John L., 1987, Curriculum Renewal in School Foreign Language Learning, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cook, Vivian, 1989, University of Essex, Personal Communication. Corder, S. Pit, 1982, Introducing Applied Linguistics, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Cummins, Jim, 1994, Knowledge, Power and Identity in Teaching English as a Second Language, In Genesee 1994. Curran, Charles, 1976, Councelling-Learning in Second Languages, Apple River, Illinois: Apple River Press. Dewey, John, 1938, Experience and Education, New York: Macmillan. Duffy, Thomas M. and David H. Jonassen (Eds.), 1992, Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: A Conversation, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Dulay, Heidi and Marina Burt, 1974, Natural Sequences in Child Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning 24, 37-53. Eckman, F. R., L. Bell and D. Nelson, 1988, On the Generalization of Relative Clause Instruction in the Acquisition of English as a Second Language, Applied Linguistics, Vol. 9, No. 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-20. Sweetser, Eve and Gilles Fauconnier (Eds.), 1996, Spaces, Worlds, and Grammar, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Fries, C., 1945, Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Gardner, Howard, 1991, The Unschooled Mind, New York: Basic Books.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Gattegno, Caleb, 1972, Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way. Second Edition, New York: Educational Solutions. Genesee, Fred (Ed.), 1994, Educating Second Language Children, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goodlad, John I. and Pamela Keating (Eds.), 1990, Access to Knowledge, New York: The College Board. Goodman, K., L. Bird and Y. Goodman, 1991, The Whole Language Catalog, Santa Rosa, California: American School Publishers. High, Julie, 1993, Second Language Learning through Cooperative Learning, California: Kagan Cooperative Learning. Howatt, Anthony, 1984, A History of English Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hymes, D., 1971, On Communicative Competence, In Pride and Holmes 1972. Johnson, D. W. and R. Johnson, 1989, Cooperation and Competition. Theory and Research, Minnesota: Interaction Book Co. Johnson, D. W., R. Johnson and K. Smith, 1991, Active Learning, Minnesota: Interaction Book Co. Jonassen, D. H. (Ed.), 1996, Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology, New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan. Kagan, Spencer, 1992, Cooperative Learning, California: Kagan Cooperative Learning. Kansanen, Pertti, 1995, The Deutsche Didaktik and the American Research on Teaching, In Kansanen (Ed.) 1995. Kansanen, Pertti, (Ed.), 1995, Discussions on Some Educational Issues VI, Research Report 145, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. Karp, D. and W. Yoels, 1987, The College Classroom, Sociology and Social Research, 60. Kelly, Louis, 1969, 25 Centuries of Language Teaching, Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House. Krashen, Stephen, 1997, Foreign Language Education. The Easy Way, California: Language Education Associates.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Krashen, S., V. Sferlazza, L. Feldman and A. Fathman, 1976, Adult Performance on the SLOPE Test, Language Learning, 26, 1, 145 – 151. Krashen, Stephen and Tracy Terrell, 1983, The Natural Approach, New Jersey: Alemany Press Regents/Prentice Hall. Lakoff, George, 1987, Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What They Reveal about the Mind, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Larsen-Freeman, Dianne, 1986, Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Larsen-Freeman, D. and M. H. Long, 1991, An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Research, London: Longman. Lenneberg, E., 1975, The Concept of Language Differentiation, In Lenneberg and Lenneberg 1975. Lenneberg, Eric H. and Elizabeth Lenneberg (Eds.), 1975, Foundations of Language Development: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Volume 1, Paris: The UNESCO Press. Lozanov, Georgi, 1978, Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy, New York: Gordon and Breach. Mackey, William F., 1965, Language Teaching Analysis, London: Longman. McLaughlin, B., 1990, 'Conscious' versus 'Unconscious' Learning, TESOL Quarterly, 24. McLeod, A., 1986, Critical Literacy: Taking Control of Our Own Lives, Language Arts, 63, 37-50. Mikes, G., 1970, How To Be an Alien, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Mowrer, Don, 1996, Arizona State University, Tempe, Personal Communication. Munby, John, 1978, Communicative Syllabus Design, London: Cambridge University Press. Naisbitt, John, 1982, Megatrends, New York: Warner Books. Osgood, C. E., G. J. Suci and P. H. Tannenbaum, 1957, The Measurement of Meaning, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Perkins, David, 1992, Smart Schools, New York: The Free Press.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Perkins, K. and D. Larsen-Freeman, 1975, The Effect of Formal Language Instruction on the Order of Morphee Acquisition, Language Learning, 25. Pica, T., 1983, The Role of Language Context in Second Language Acquisition, Review Article, Interlanguage Studies Bulletin, 7. Prabhu, N. S., 1987, Second Language Pedagogy, Oxford: Oxford University Pres. Pride, J. and J. Holmes (Eds.), 1972, Sociolinguistics. Selected Readings, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. Pulliam, John D., 1987, History of Education in America, Fourth Edition, Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, A Bell & Howell Information Company. Reich, Peter A., 1986, Language Development, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Richard-Amato, Patricia A., 1988, Making It Happen, New York: Longman. Richards, Jack C. and Theodore S. Rogers, 1986, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Richterich, R. and J.L. Chancerel, 1977, Identifying the Needs of Adults Learning a Foreign Language, Strasbourg: CCC/Council of Europe. Roberts, John, 1973, The LAD Hypothesis and L2 Acquisition, Audio-Visual Language Journal, Vol. XI, 2. Selinker, L., 1969, Language Transfer, General Linguistics, Vol. IX, 67 - 92. Sharer, Rolf (Responsabile di redazione per il tema), 1999, European Language Portfolio, Babylonia, 1, Council of Europe. Shopov, T. and A. Fedotoff, 2000, An Analysis of Student Course Evaluation Reports, Sofia: Koreana. Shopov, T., 1999, The LAC 2000 Project, Tempus Phare JEP 13533-98, Torino: European Training Foundation. Skinner, B. F., 1957, Verbal Behavior, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. Spiro, R. J., P. J. Feltovich, M. J. Jacobson and R. L. Coulson, 1992, Cognitive Flexibility, Constructivism and Hypertext; Random Access Instruction for Advanced Knowledge Acquisition in Ill-Structured Domains, In Duffy and Jonassen 1992. Stern, H. H., 1983, Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Strevens, Peter, 1964, English 901, New York: The Macmillan Company. Strevens, Peter, 1977, New Orientations in the Teaching of English, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tella, Seppo (Ed.), 1998, Aspects of Media Education. Strategic Imperatives in the Information Age, Media Education Publication 8, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. Tella, Seppo and Marja Mononen-Aaltonen, 1998, Developing Dialogic Communication Culture in Media Education: Integrating Dialogism and Technology, ME Publications 7, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. Thomas, J. and W. Stock, 1988, The Concept of Happiness, International Journal of Aging and Human Development 27. Toffler, Alvin, 1985, The Adaptive Corporation, New York: McGraw-Hill. Trim, John L. M., 1980, In Van Ek 1980. Trim, John L. M., 1999, Common tools to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, respect, tolerance and understanding in Europe, Babylonia, 1, Council of Europe. Van Ek, J., 1975, The Threshold Level in a European Unit/Credit System for Modern Language Teaching by Adults, Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Van Ek, J. and L. G. Alexander, 1980, Threshold Level English, Oxford: The Pergamon Press. Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, 1988, New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc. West, Michael, 1953, The Teaching of English: A Guide to the New Method Series. London: Longman. White Paper on Education and Training, 1996, European Commission, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Widdowson, Henry G., 1979, Explorations in Applied Linguistics, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Widdowson Henry G. and Christopher J. Brumfit, 1981, Issues in Second Language Syllabus Design, In Alatis, Altman and Alatis 1981. Wittgenstein, L., 1953, Philosophical Investigations, New York: Macmillan.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Yule, George, 1985, The Study of Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Whole Language, Whole Person: A Handbook of Language Teaching Methodology


Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.