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Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching

Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching

Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching
    Book Description:

    In this original book, B. Kumaravadivelu presents a macrostrategic framework designed to help both beginning and experienced teachers develop a systematic, coherent, and personal theory of practice. His book provides the tools a teacher needs in order to self-observe, self-analyze, and self-evaluate his or her own teaching acts.The framework consists of ten macrostrategies based on current theoretical, empirical, and experiential knowledge of second language and foreign language teaching. These strategies enable teachers to evaluate classroom practices and to generate techniques and activities for realizing teaching goals. With checklists, surveys, projects, and reflective tasks to encourage critical thinking, the book is both practical and accessible. Teachers and future teachers, researchers, and teacher educators will find the volume indispensable.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12879-6
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    “It is not instruction,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, “but provocation that I can most accept from another soul.” What I have attempted to offer in this book is not instruction but provocation, though provocation of the positive kind. I have tried to

    stimulate the critical thought processes of those involved in second and foreign language (L2) learning, teaching, and teacher education;

    spur them to self-reflective action that is firmly grounded in a situational understanding of their own learning and teaching environment, and

    urge them to go beyond the limited, and limiting, concept of method and consider the challenges and opportunities...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Conceptualizing Teaching Acts
    (pp. 5-22)

    We often hear educators say that teaching is both an art and a science. I take this to mean that teaching is basically a subjective activity carried out in an organized way. In fact, there are educators who believe that teaching lacks a unified or a commonly shared set of rules, and as such cannot even be considered a discipline. As Donald Freeman points out,

    when we speak of people “teaching a discipline” such as math or biology, we are separating the knowledge or content from the activity or the teaching. These traces of activity that teachers accumulate through the...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Understanding Postmethod Pedagogy
    (pp. 23-43)

    William Mackey, a distinguished professor of language teaching at the University of London and the author of an authoritative book on method,Language Teaching Analysis, lamented that the wordmethod“means so little and so much” (1965, p. 139). The reason for this, he said, “is not hard to find. It lies in the state and organization of our knowledge of language and language learning. It lies in wilful ignorance of what has been done and said and thought in the past. It lies in the vested interests which methods become. And it lies in the meaning of method” (p....

  7. CHAPTER 3 Maximizing Learning Opportunities
    (pp. 44-76)

    Our first and foremost duty as teachers is to maximize learning opportunities for our learners. To say that is to state the obvious. It is difficult to disagree with such a commonplace statement. We may, however, disagree on the details. That is, we may have different responses to questions such as: What constitutes learning opportunities? How do we know learning opportunities have or have not been created? Do learners utilize learning opportunities created by teachers? Is it the responsibility of the teacher alone to create learning opportunities? Can learners also create learning opportunities? Do teachers recognize learning opportunities created by...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Minimizing Perceptual Mismatches
    (pp. 77-100)

    We learned in the previous chapter that generating learning opportunities in class is the joint responsibility of teachers and learners alike, because both are co-managers of learning. Even if the co-managers believe that they have carried out that responsibility successfully, it is perfectly possible that they have very different perceptions about what constitutes a successful learning opportunity. An anecdote reported by Allwright (1987, p. 99) makes this point clear: “An ESL teacher used to handle ‘conversation’ classes by going in with a dialogue which the learners first practise and then build into a more general discussion. One day he went...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Facilitating Negotiated Interaction
    (pp. 101-130)

    One of the aspects of learning to talk in an L2 is talking to learn. Studies on L2 learning and teaching point to the significance of talk in the learners’ comprehension of linguistic input exposed to them. As Swain and Lapkin (1998, p. 320) recently concluded on the basis of an experimental study, dialogue “provides both the occasion for language learning and the evidence for it.” A remarkably similar statement was made a hundred years ago by one of the pioneers of language teaching methods, Henry Sweet (1899–1964), when he observed that “conversation in a foreign language may be...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Promoting Learner Autonomy
    (pp. 131-155)

    The concept of autonomy, in one form or another, has long engaged the minds of people everywhere. It is grounded in a human tendency to seek control over one’s life. It is displayed in different ways by different people. How it is theorized and practiced varies from time to time, context to context, and culture to culture. In its most basic form, it represents a fundamental longing for freedom of thought and freedom of action in personal, economic, social, political, and other walks of life. Individuals and societies alike have often turned to educational institutions looking for tools that can...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Fostering Language Awareness
    (pp. 156-175)

    Language is intricately woven into the fabric of human life. It is closely linked to the relationship between mother and child, between self and society, between thought and action, between war and peace. It is all-pervasive. We use it, misuse it, and abuse it. And yet, we seldom think about it. We hardly notice its presence around us. We rarely recognize when people use it to control others. We barely notice when politicians manipulate it to manage public opinion.

    It is no wonder, therefore, that educational centers seek to play a pivotal role in fostering students’ awareness of the role...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Activating Intuitive Heuristics
    (pp. 176-203)

    In educational contexts,heuristicsrefers to the process of self-discovery on the part of the learner. It also refers to a particular method of teaching—“a method of teaching allowing the students to learn by discovering things by themselves and learning from their own experiences rather than by telling them things” (Cambridge International Dictionary of English, 1995, p. 666). When applying it to language learning and teaching it means that an important task facing the language teacher is to create a rich linguistic environment in the classroom so that learners can activate their intuitive heuristics and discover the linguistic system...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Contextualizing Linguistic Input
    (pp. 204-224)

    Language communication is inseparable from its communicative context. Taken out of context, language communication makes little sense. What all this means to learning and teaching an L2 is that we must introduce our learners to language as it is used in communicative contexts even if it is selected and simplified for them; otherwise, we will be denying an important aspect of its reality.

    The reality of language is represented in some of the terms used recently to refer to language: language as text (Halliday, 1974), language as communication (Widdowson, 1978), language as context (Goodwin and Duranti, 1992), and language as...

  14. CHAPTER 10 Integrating Language Skills
    (pp. 225-238)

    In the previous chapter, we learned that there exists a deep and inseparable connection between language use and the context in which it is embedded. A different kind of connectedness exists in the way we use the primary skills of language identified traditionally as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In the practice of everyday life, we continually integrate these skills. Rare indeed is the day when we only listen, or only speak, or only read, or only write. Just think how artificial and tiresome it would be if, for some peculiar reason, we decide to separate these skills and use...

  15. CHAPTER 11 Ensuring Social Relevance
    (pp. 239-266)

    No classroom is an island unto itself. Every classroom is influenced by and is a reflection of the larger society of which it is a part. The termsocietyitself refers to a very large unit consisting of a community of communities. In the specific context of language education, it stands for “all of those wider (and overlapping) contexts in which are situated the institutions in which language teaching takes place. These include—but are not limited to—the international, national, community, ethnic, bureaucratic, professional, political, religious, economic and family contexts in which schools and other educational institutions are located...

  16. CHAPTER 12 Raising Cultural Consciousness
    (pp. 267-285)

    “Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language,” says Raymond Williams (1976, p. 87), the author ofKeywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society.Culture is such a complicated concept that it does not lend itself to a single definition or a simple description. It brings to mind different images to different people. In its broadest sense, it includes a wide variety of constructs such as the mental habits, personal prejudices, moral values, social customs, artistic achievements, and aesthetic preferences of particular societies. Recognizing the amorphous nature of the concept of culture, anthropologists...

  17. CHAPTER 13 Monitoring Teaching Acts
    (pp. 286-315)

    In the previous chapters, I presented a pedagogic framework consisting of ten macrostrategies or guiding principles that teachers can use to make informed decisions about classroom processes and practices. Recall one of the basic premises of this framework: L2 learning and teaching needs, wants, and situations are unpredictably numerous; therefore, it is a futile exercise to try to prepare teachers in advance to tackle so many unpredictable needs, wants, and situations. What teacher educators can and must do is to help prospective and practicing teachers develop a capacity to generate their own context-specific theories of practice based on their professional,...

  18. Afterword
    (pp. 316-318)

    The purpose of this Afterword is to have a personal word with prospective and practicing teachers.

    My primary goal in this book has been to provide a postmethod pedagogic framework to enable you to develop the knowledge, skill, attitude, and autonomy necessary to devise for yourself a systematic, coherent, and relevant personal theory of practice.

    The postmethod pedagogic framework is founded on the parameters of particularity, practicality, and possibility. Consistent with that conceptual foundation, I have suggested ten macrostrategies derived from theoretical, empirical, and experiential knowledge. One way you can actualize this framework is by using the suggested macrostrategies to...

  19. References
    (pp. 319-330)
  20. Index
    (pp. 331-339)