Thank you @LjiljanaHavran for writing this post. Why don’t we start advocating for PD where teachers can really develop the skills and knowledge needed to support learners in their learning journey?
Paul Nation in Learning Vocabulary in Another Language (p.573) affirms that some teachers and course designers follow principles that go against research findings when comes to vocabulary learning for instance. I’m sure we can relate to/find all or some, either in our own practice and/or coursebooks:
“All vocabulary learning should occur in context.”
“The first language should not be used as a means of presenting the meaning of a word.”
“Vocabulary should be presented in Lexical sets.”
“Monolingual dictionaries are preferable to bilingual dictionaries.”
“Most attention should be paid to the first presentation of a word.”
“Vocabulary learning does not benefit from being planned, but can be determined by the occurence of words in texts, tasks and themes.”
Since I started reading research and reflecting on the past and present, I’ve realized that a lot of what we do, we do because we’ve always been done that way.
So, I agree with Nation when he says that course designers who follow these principles should read the relevant research and reconsider their position. I don’t believe that the unit of progression should be vocabulary only and neither it should be grammar like most coursebooks bring.
Students come to classrooms with all sorts of misconceptions regarding learning. One of them is that (1) learning a language can happen a lot faster than it does.
When I ask my teenage (intermediate) students who are fluent in English to explain how they study the language, they usually say that they have never studied English. This sounds strange, but it is true. They’ve been immersed into the English language and culture for years watching Cartoon network when they were very young, and later on watching films on some other popular English/American channels (films were not dubbed into Serbian!), playing games and chatting with their foreign friends, reading e-books, listening to music on the Net. They’ve picked up the language as they’ve been exposed to many Englishes (varieties/ dialects/accents) on a daily basis since a very early age.
It is really amazing teaching English to a new generation of students who…
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