X approaches to learning English gets on my soapbox.


In response to (but not solely to) a Dr. Luis S. Villacañas de Castro’s

“Teaching English as a foreign language in accordance with Social-constructivist pedagogy /
Enseñar inglés como lengua extranjera en consonancia con la  pedagogía socio-constructivista” – April 2013

At least he is one of few to have the courage to admit that a coursebook-baßed approach to L2 learning is absurd and, as he puts it, authoritarian.

My criticism meanwhile is that, while he is right on track with the latest approach (linking with neuro-science),
by focussing largely on what the teaching approach should be called, Socio-constructivism or TEIL, he defeats his own argument, that we tend to focus too much on the ‘linguist’ aspect when teaching by having to give something an[other] name for some concept which might just overlap another anyway (like a linguist being forced to differentiate Constructivism from Constructionism by the very mention of the term.)
Let’s take a different approach for argument’s sake: If we compare L1 and L2 acquisition to two kinds of soaps—bear with me on the uße of ‘s’ on soap since this is technical jargon—one liquid [L2]: easier to apply albeit less obvious to package versus the plain bar of soap, (mind you, not ‘soap bar’): difficult to apply but ‘easy’ to handle). In the beginning either one can ‘slips from grasp’, only one is a solid object that you can pickup again if you drop it [learning by watching parent until jelled enough to detect that this one is L1] while the other seeps through your fingers if you’re not careful [depending on a lot of factors not to mention just plain physics, g-force…]
I don’t think Ls need see English as foreign any more than I don’t see Ls seeing soap as a foreign product.
Either way, the soap is washed off and goes down the same drain hole, of course. But one lasts longer as an entity.
You cannot altogether dismiss linguistic aspects of a language, washing away what makes English english or bottling it and giving it a new name like ‘douche gel’ for example, or TEIL for that matter.
(Though, the name English is in itself just that, unfortunately. Mandarin, or Cantonese even, sounds better than ‘Chinese’, but it has ‘stuck’ and takes long before this gets unstuck or fades, like the phone’s ‘receiver’.)
As educator it is my duty—and paying customers expect it of me—to correct them in instances the moment the liquid soap is out of its neat [labelled] bottle, before it is applied (It’s all too obvious that the customer knows that the substance–subject is English and not, say, ‘soap’), to lather and apply in a such a way that most of the content goes onto the body… before going down the drain one way or another.
Smaller discrepancies aside, and as useful as English may be on a global scale, Dr Luis…de Castro still makes mistakes English native speakers would avoid. Only, given that Dr Luis…de Castro hasn’t bothered to have his work checked by an L1-english associate professor beforehand (or did that one overlook what might have been avoided), he might have avoided one or two oddities, like ‘specific similarity’ or ‘…interactive demands’, something which would go down well for a German- (and Spanish-?) native.
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About clasgtr

Ever have an idea or gut feeling, which you feel may have been mediated, for which there is no proof yet you feel nevertheless is valid and important enough to share? I put these down on blog to rid myself of them - it is a question of freedom of speech, and freedom of thought, and freedom from religious persecution. If anyone should feel offended, please be free to leave my blog.
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