Is TEFL parasitic? If so, upon whom, and by whom?

<b>Forum for the discussion of Applied Linguistics </b>

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Post by fluffyhamster » Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:19 am

woodcutter wrote:FH, You talk about your ideas so theoretically, it's difficult to give them the hard spanking they no doubt deserve!
I thought it was obvious I was talking about a "practical" undertaking (albeit of considerable scope, hence the scare quotes). As I have said several times before, I prefer to put the language before the methodology and see what comes to mind and transpires in terms of materials, methodology and "learning".
How many new textbooks do there have to be before some dictionary sized volume tickles your fancy? Plenty of people have had a go at writing them. The problem with textbooks is that they are textbooks. Each teacher can find their own road to solve that problem, a way to humanize, to adapt. Linguistic accuracy will be a positive in the endless quest, but a common sense methodology and empathy may rank above.
There don't need to be many more textbooks, just the one decent one would do.
Linguists certainly won't never create no magic textbook. They won't come up with a corpus of super-sentences.
I must disagree with that! There are many corpuses of super sentences - look at what Longman have compiled for starters. Then there's the (connected) BNC, The Bank of English (a bit skewed, but valuable for its size), the CIC and its CANCODE offshoot, whatever the Macmillan one is called, plus the work that Oxford and Chambers are doing with their Reading Programme and Wordtrack respectively (not sure if these are just glorified computerized citation files rather than proper, tagged corpora, though...I guess they're probably sophisticated enough by now). This is why I bang on about the spin-off dictionaries in such glowing terms, and think it's a shame that what's in them isn't being dug out and fed into coursebooks (obviously, a dictionary isn't organized, beyond the alphabet, for teaching, but it does cover the A-Z of words, phrases, functions, topics and notions much more comprehensively than any coursebook currently does. The challenge is therefore to reorder the dictionary for teaching purposes - well that's the challenge I'm setting meself, anyways!).
In the end, y'know (I'm turning into Blair now), I'm just saying we ought to be more positive about the status quo, more supportive of the diversity, the wild, dirty and rainbowic world of TESOL. It's a glory of the age!
You got my vote there. :lol:

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Post by woodcutter » Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:07 am

You really do believe then, that the release of a very plump (and surely somewhat intimidating) text book based on the findings of corpus linguistics is what TEFL is really missing. :shock: I thought I must have it wrong.

How will this wonder tome differ substantially from the mighty Headway then? We will no longer be teaching the much the same old phrases and structures up to advanced level? The interview with Phil Collins will have the sub-standard sentences with offbeat phrases blacked out?

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