Issues confronted by language learner and teacher identities

The universal conception of teaching has been labeled by Freire as Banking, in which the authoritative teacher deposits information into the student vessel or account of the passive learner.  The idea being that teachers have the information that students need. But this form of knowledge transfer is considered inadequate, and future teacher/learner relationships must embrace new identities.  No where is this more evident than in the language classroom, where learners must participate as active learners, and not just obtain information. Depositing knowledge in the language learner is ineffective, and counter productive, but due to the powerful role of culture, this conceptualization, and occurring or actual relationship continues through out the world. 

In the abstract world of ideas and concepts, definitions of truth and reality can be subjective, fleeting and fluid. While we social scientists make every effort to be objective, knowledge is an individual construct that depends on embodiment of language, symbols, feelings and emotions. These emotions, though real, are not grounded in the outside world, and are fleeting. Our emotions are there, real to our selves, but not real to the world. These emotions can change, as they do and are meaningless to our greater purpose, but emotions while unrelated to reality, are significant for learning, and making meaning, especially in regard to Language. 

No one would deny the dynamic affect of real life living in the target language on second language acquisition. 

Hofstede identifies Thailand as low in individualism, high in both uncertainty avoidance and power distance, and relatively high in indulgence, which tends towards developing fun loving groups at the expense of individual progress.

In university, students bond in groups that may be counter to their goals.

Proactive, intervention could help students establish groups that encourage language development. Using mindfulness could be a point of interest.

It is a natural pursuit for educators to find the links between teaching and learning, and even further inquiry into the links between language and learning, and teaching and language learning. Language development is essentially an individual enterprise, but the process can not be done without others, unless of course an individual after learning to read, reads insistently alone, but even that would suggest a connection to the author, and all involved with their writings.

We must examine the lifeworld, or allow the students to examine their past experiences in order to allow transformation… K. Lewin gave us: phenotypic and genotypic viewpoints, and Vygotsky gave us: phylogenesis, soicocultural history, ontogenesis and microgenesis; and Halliday.

For the upcoming Intensive English program, I’m designing a curriculum that allows students to discover their own path to English acquisition, starting with their early years. To do this, students need the time to look back, and search their own prior experiences.

Students must discover for themselves that they have never/seldom attempted to communicate with another in English, the only way to acquire English. Through emotional reflection… via the media: songs and movies, young adults can grasp the importance of using English instead of wasting their time. Related to this is intrinsic/extrinsic motivation.


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