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Log In Sign Up. Beyond Methods. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form beyond that copying permitted by Sections and of the U. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press , without written permission from the publishers.

Cupo Designer: James J. Printed in the United States of America. ISBN paperback : alk. Language and languages—Study and teaching.

The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources. Thirukural, verse 67, circa A. It has been a pleasure to work with them all. My debt to those who have contributed to the thinking under- lying this book is immeasurable.

I cannot mention them all here, but they include professors R. Ghosh, N. Krishnaswamy, N. Prabhu, and M. My personal and professional association with these colleagues have immensely shaped and reshaped my own ped- agogic orientation.

I also owe a debt to my past and present gradu- ate students—too many to name here—who argued with me, chal- lenged me, and forced me to clarify my thoughts, thereby making me a better teacher and a better thinker.

Always supportive of my academic ambitions, my family mem- bers—Arunagiri, Velliangiri, Janaki, and Gowri—have encouraged me to go where they have never gone before. My wife, Revathi, her- self an academic, has always been there for me, offering me profes- sional critique and personal care.

Our two little children, Chandrika and Anand, have not only happily adjusted to the demands of their professorial parents but have also created for us a joyous space outside our demanding professional pursuits.

To all of them, I say: Thank you. To shape the practice of everyday teaching, teachers need to have a holistic understanding of what happens in their classroom. In other words, they have to become strategic thinkers as well as strategic practitioners. As strategic thinkers, they need to re- flect on the specific needs, wants, situations, and processes of learn- ing and teaching.

As strategic practitioners, they need to develop knowledge and skills necessary to self-observe, self-analyze, and self-evaluate their own teaching acts.

To help teachers become strategic thinkers and strategic practi- tioners, I present in this book a macrostrategic framework consist- ing of ten macrostrategies derived from theoretical, empirical, and experiential knowledge of L2 learning, teaching, and teacher edu- cation.

The framework represents a synthesis of useful and usable insights derived from various disciplines including psycholinguis- tics, sociolinguistics, cognitive psychology, second language acqui- sition, and critical pedagogy.

It has the potential to transcend the limitations of the concept of method and empower teachers with the knowledge, skill, attitude, and autonomy necessary to devise for themselves a systematic, coherent, and relevant theory of practice.

How the Book Is Organized The book consists of thirteen chapters. The first deals with the con- cept of teaching in general and the second with the concept of post- method pedagogy in particular. Thus, these two chapters lay the philosophical and conceptual foundation needed to make sense of what follows. The last chapter pulls together ideas from different chapters, and offers a classroom observational scheme that can be used by teachers to monitor how well they theorize what they prac- tice, and to practice what they theorize.

Each of the ten intervening chapters focuses on individual mac- rostrategies. All the chapters have built-in reflective tasks that encourage read- ers to pause at crucial points along the text and think critically about the issues in light of their own personal as well as professional ex- perience. In addition to these reflective tasks, several chapters con- tain authentic classroom interactional data that illustrate the issues raised and the suggestions made.

How to Use the Book The chapters in the book need not be read and used sequentially. Each is written as a self-contained unit and, therefore, can be used separately. It would, however, be beneficial to start with the first two chapters to understand the rationale behind the macrostrategic framework. The next ten chapters on specific macrostrategies can be read in any order although, as will become clear, certain macro- strategies closely relate to each other to form a meaningful cluster.

The last chapter shows how the framework can be used for moni- toring classroom aims and activities. This is not a recipe book with ready-made solutions for recurring problems. Rather, it is designed to give teachers broad guiding prin- ciples to assist them in the construction of their own context-specific postmethod pedagogy.

Readers will quickly recognize that neither the suggested microstrategies nor the proposed projects can be used without suitably modifying them to meet the linguistic, con- ceptual, and communicative capacities of a given group of learners. To do so, I believe, is to dimin- ish the complexity of teaching as well as the capacity of teachers. Using their own language learning and teaching experience as a personal knowledge base, the theoretical insights on macrostrate- gies as a professional knowledge base, the suggested microstrate- gies as illustrative examples, and the exploratory projects as inves- tigative tools, teachers should be able to develop their own distinct way of teaching.

In their attempt to become self-directed individu- als, teachers may follow the same operating principles discussed in this book, but the style and substance of the theory of practice they eventually derive will be quite different. I take this to mean that teaching is basically a subjective ac- tivity 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.

These traces of activity that teachers accumulate through the doing of teaching are not seen as knowledge; they are referred to as experience. Experience is the only real reference point teachers share: experiences as students that influence their views of teaching, experiences in professional preparation, experience as members of society. This motley and diverse base of experience unites people who teach, but it does not constitute a disciplinary community. Freeman, , p.

It is no wonder that diverse experiences lead to diverse percep- tions about teaching. It com- prises highly repetitive tasks that are not defined and developed by those performing them. However, profession differs from voca- tion in two important ways. First, persons can conduct them- selves professionally but not regard the work as a calling, and can derive their sense of identity and personal fulfillment elsewhere. Second, perks such as public recognition and rewards normally associated with professions run counter to personal and moral dimensions of vocations.

The goal of teaching, however, seems to be rather obvious. Teaching is aimed at creating optimal conditions for desired learn- ing to take place in as short a time as possible. Even such a seem- ingly simple statement hides a troublesome correlation: a cause- effect relationship between teaching and learning. That is, the statement is based on the assumption that teaching actually causes learning to occur. Does it, really? The entire edifice of education, however, is constructed on the foundation that teaching can contribute to accelerated and accom- plished learning.

The overall process of education certainly involves several play- ers—educational administrators, policy makers, curriculum plan- ners, teacher educators, textbook writers, and others—each consti- tuting an important link in the educational chain. However, the players who have a direct bearing on shaping and reshaping the de- sired learning outcome are the classroom teachers. This is not very different from saying that the success or failure of a theatrical pro- duction depends largely on the histrionic talent of the actors who actually appear on the stage.

It is true that several individuals have worked hard behind the scenes to make that production possible: the director, the scriptwriter, and the production manager, to name a few. But if the actors do not perform well on the stage, and if they are not able to connect with the audience, then all the behind-the- scenes activities will come to naught.

In fact, the educational role played by teachers in the classroom is much more demanding and daunting than the theatrical role played by actors on the stage for the simple reason that the failure of an educational enterprise has more far-reaching consequences for an individual or for a nation than the failure of a theatrical produc- tion.

Such is the significance of the teacher. Nevertheless, there is very little consensus about the precise role the teacher is expected to play. The Role of the Teacher The role of the teacher has been a perennial topic of discussion in the field of general education as well as in language education. Un- able to precisely pin down the role and function of the teacher, the teaching profession has grappled with a multitude of metaphors.

The teacher has been variously referred to as an artist and an ar- chitect; a scientist and a psychologist; a manager and a mentor; a controller and a counselor; a sage on the stage; a guide on the side; and more. There is merit in each of these metaphors. From a histor- ical perspective, one can glean from the current literature on gen- eral education and language teaching at least three strands of thought: a teachers as passive technicians, b teachers as reflec- tive practitioners, and c teachers as transformative intellectuals.

Teachers as Passive Technicians The basic tenets of the concept of teachers as technicians can be partly traced to the behavioral school of psychology that empha- sized the importance of empirical verification.

In the behavioral tradition, the primary focus of teaching and teacher education is content knowledge that consisted mostly of a verified and verifiable set of facts and clearly articulated rules. Content knowledge is bro- ken into easily manageable discrete items and presented to the teacher in what might be called teacher-proof packages. Teachers and their teaching methods are not considered very important because their effectiveness cannot be empirically proved beyond doubt.

Therefore, teacher education programs concentrate more on the education part than on the teacher part. Such a view came to be known as the technicist view of teaching and teacher education. The primacy of empirical verification and content knowledge associated with the technicist view of teaching overwhelmingly privileges one group of participants in the educational chain—pro- fessional experts!

They are the ones who create and contribute to the professional knowledge base that constitutes the cornerstone of teacher education programs. Classroom teachers are assigned the role of passive technicians who learn a battery of content knowl- edge generally agreed upon in the field and pass it on to successive generations of students.

They are viewed largely as apprentices whose success is measured in terms of how closely they adhere to the professional knowledge base, and how effectively they transmit that knowledge base to students. The primary goal of such an ac- tivity, of course, is to promote student comprehension of content knowledge. If any context-specific learn- ing and teaching problem arises, they are supposed to turn once again to the established professional knowledge base and search for a formula to fix it by themselves.

Viewing teachers as passive technicians is traditional and is still in vogue in many parts of the world. It might even be said, with some justification, that the technicist view provides a safe and se- cure environment for those teachers who may not have the ability, the resources, or the willingness to explore self-initiated, innovative teaching strategies.

The technicist approach to teaching and teacher education is clearly characterized by a rigid role relationship be- tween theorists and teachers: theorists conceive and construct knowledge, teachers understand and implement knowledge.

Cre- ation of new knowledge or a new theory is not the domain of teach- ers; their task is to execute what is prescribed for them. Such an outlook inevitably leads to the disempowerment of teachers whose classroom behavior is mostly confined to received knowledge rather than lived experience.


Beyond methods : macrostrategies for language teaching

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Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching

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