ISLA / IFLA course design: Principles and practical proposals for beginners' courses
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DepartmentFilología Francesa e Inglesa
SourceInnovación Docente e Investigación en Arte y Humanidades. Avanzando en el proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje. pp. 833 - 846
00-Abstract: Everybody involved in teaching modern languages will have observed that even adults can still have access to some kind of intuitive knowledge (Coppieters, R. 1987) when exposed naturally to a new language, and this is independent of the language taught and the age of the students (Kim, et al, 1997). Looking for a theoretical explanation for these observational facts we came across an idea formulated by N. Chomsky (1965)1, who had claimed, in one of his few pronouncements on the relevance of his theories for language teaching, that the human mind must (automatically) possess ‘intuitive heuristics’, which, he argued, should be part of ‘teaching program(s) …. in such a way as to give free play to those creative principles that humans bring to the process of language learning’. In this paper we will try to show how this author’s ideas on competence (1965) and performance (1965, 1975, 1981) might serve as a general framework for foreign language teaching (A. Howatt, 1974, W. Littlewood, 1984 and Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991) as they offer a quite plausible vision for explaining how different mental capacities cooperate when people use language for communication. Starting with a brief description of Chomsky’s competence model we will then analyse input, Chomsky’s central concept for language acquisition. This will be done under the perspective of the processes that can be supposed for comprehension and in terms of Relevance Theory (RT) (Sperber & Wilson, 1986). RT will then be reinterpreted, as Javier Garcia (2007) proposes, in the light of Michael Long's here-and-now principle (1983). In the last part, we will offer first a brief summary of the practical measures for classroom interaction developed during our long-term study, carried out between 2005 and 2015, measures that pretend to assure a natural like language processing in the classroom, and the paper concludes with a first brief summary of observational data on the results obtained so far. The principal conclusions proposed are twofold: With respect to theory, this paper claims that adults still seem to have a limited access to children’s Language Acquisition Device: the Adult-LAD. And, in practical terms: foreign language teaching should not begin with grammar teaching, but with immersion centred on communication.