To appear in System Journal, A Waters, C South

Tags: language teaching, approach, memorisation, language knowledge, skilled performance, learning, factual information, approaches, instruction, classroom-based research, ELT Journal, language learning, Psychological Review, Miller, G. A., Challenge and change in language teaching, The Matthew effect, magical number, Blackwell, Cognitive architecture, Seedhouse, Second language acquisition, Oxford, independent learning, problem solving, Task-based, oral communication, Christodoulou, D., Oxford University Press, teaching pedagogy, communication, communicating, Tom Hutchinson, language pedagogy, Peal, R., J. Willis, processing information, Littlewood, W., methodological framework, Merton, R. K., Macmillan Heinemann
Content: To appear in System Journal cognitive architecture and the Learning of Language Knowledge Alan Waters Department of Linguistics and English Language County South Lancaster University Lancaster LA1 4YL United Kingdom Email address: [email protected] (July, 2015) 1
Abstract In a recent study of trends in language teaching pedagogy, I identified a major professional dichotomy regarding preferred approaches to the teaching of `language knowledge'. In general, it was shown that the theoretical discourse of language teaching favoured a `communicating-to-learn' approach in the matter (e.g., task-based learning), whereas the practitioner `world' leaned more towards a `learning-tocommunicate' approach (e.g., Presentation-Practice-Production). The purpose of this paper is to build on these findings by attempting to determine to what extent either of these pedagogic stances can be justified. In doing so, recent research and theorising on the workings of memory in relation to the learning of factual information is reviewed. On the basis of the characteristics of cognitive architecture this literature describes, it is taken to indicate that i), long-term memorisation of knowledge is the key to skilled performance, and ii), guided or `direct' instruction is superior to problem-solving or discovery-oriented forms of pedagogy in facilitating the long-term learning of factual information. Following this, the implications of these findings for language teaching pedagogy are discussed. In particular, they are seen to provide a rationale for current professional perspectives concerning the teaching of language knowledge to be re-conceptualised. 2
`Fearful symmetry'
(The Tiger, Blake)
`Full fathom five thy father lies... Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change, Into something rich and strange' (The Tempest, Shakespeare)
The teaching of language knowledge1 is obviously one of the most important aspects of language teaching pedagogy. However, in a study of trends in language teaching methodology of the last 20 years or so (Waters, 2012), I identified a fundamental dichotomy with respect to this area: in general, the language teaching `professional discourse' (i.e., the `voice' of most leading theoreticians) was found to favour a `communicating-to-learn' approach in the matter (in which learners solve communicative problems in order to acquire language knowledge, as in, e.g., `taskbased learning'), whereas most language teaching practitioners were seen to prefer a `learning-to-communicate'-oriented approach (in which learners focus primarily on acquiring language knowledge via a series of graded exercises, which may or may not be followed by communication work, as in, e.g., `Presentation-Practice-Production').
In the article in question the evidence for the existence of this division was described, but there was insufficient scope to also address the important related issue of which ­ if either - of the two approaches can, in reality, be regarded as efficacious. Such a concern is therefore the purpose of this paper. In other words, it asks if the views 1 `Language knowledge' in this context means `language input' in the form of vocabulary, grammar, and so on, as well as information about such language (e.g., explanations of grammatical rules). 3
which lend support to a `communicating-to-learn' approach do or do not really hold water, on the one hand, and whether there is or is not more than meets the eye to the `learning-to-communicate' approach on the other. To this end, the remainder of this paper attempts to build on and extend existing work in this area (see, e.g., Swan 2005; Johnson 1996; Littlewood 1992) by drawing on recent research and theorising concerning the role of memory in the learning of factual information - a literature which, so far, does not seem to have received the attention it deserves within language teaching circles - and then goes on to consider the related pedagogical implications. A major part of the ensuing argument is that the body of work reviewed points to the need for a reprioritising and better integration of theoretical perspectives about the teaching of language knowledge, in order to attempt to resolve the deep and damaging division of views currently at the heart of this area of language teaching pedagogy. 1. Memorisation of factual information Firstly, thus, what are the main overall `messages' in the literature just referred to, i.e., in recent studies concerning the workings of memory in relation to the retention of factual information? There appear to be two main aspects to the matter. These are to do with, firstly, the importance for skilled performance of the long-term memorisation of knowledge, and, secondly, the way in which memory conditions operate in the process of learning such information. Each of these facets is therefore dealt with in turn in what follows. 1.1 The importance of long-term memorisation for skilled performance 4
Various types of memory exist, of course, but here we are concerned with only `working' or `short-term' memory, on the one hand, and long-term memory on the other. As is well-known (see, e.g., Stevick, 1996), short-term memory acts as a kind of mental `scratch-pad', enabling us to remember particular items of information for a relatively brief period of time before they are `overwritten' or forgotten . As such, the chief characteristic of short-term memory is its limited storage capacity. In a wellknown paper, Miller (1956) estimated this to be around seven items of information at any one time. However, as Sweller, van Merrienboer, and Paas (1998: p. 252) point out, the storage capacity of short-term memory is even more limited when (as is usually the case) information processing is also involved. This is because space is also needed within short-term memory for the processing operations, thus making less of it available for retention of items of information. As a result, as Sweller et al. (1998) go on to say: All conscious cognitive activity learners engage in occurs in a structure whose limitations seem to preclude all but the most basic processes. Anything beyond the simplest cognitive activities appear to overwhelm working memory. (pp. 252-3). It is therefore obvious that for learning to occur, apart from the kind which involves only `the most basic processes', other forms of cognitive activity have to also be involved. The role of long-term memory is crucial in this respect, since information stored in this way can be accessed without time restrictions, thereby obviating the temporal restrictions of short-term memory (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006: p. 77). Thus, long-term memorisation of factual information is vital in order to overcome the limits of short-term memory. But the importance of long-term memory for learning is 5
not simply because it acts as a large-scale repository for the accumulation of items of knowledge. Rather, it is the effects on learning and performance of the build-up of information of this kind which is equally or more important. Firstly, information stored in long-term memory operates in a manner akin to the `Matthew effect' (Merton, 1968), whereby pre-existing `capital' is the primary factor in the potential for further capital to be acquired. In other words, because of the wellestablished principle that the key to learning new information is for connections to be formed between it and existing knowledge, the greater the amount of pre-existing information stored in long-term memory, the greater the potential for additional knowledge to be acquired (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987: pp. 49-51). Secondly, when knowledge acquired in this manner accumulates in sufficient quantities, there is evidence that it provides the primary basis for skilled performance. This effect of the large-scale accumulation of factual information in long-term memory is demonstrated very tellingly in Research Reported in Sweller et al. (1998: pp. 253-5; cf. Kirschner et al., 2006: pp. 76-77), involving expert versus less-expert chess players. When the two kinds of players were shown real-life chess board configurations for a period of a few seconds, the experts could subsequently reproduce the layout of most of the pieces, whereas the less expert players were able to replicate far fewer of them. These results were not due to differences in individuals' short-term memory capabilities, since, when both groups of subjects were also shown randomly-configured chess boards, neither performed better than the other. Rather, these findings were therefore taken to indicate that the main factor involved in the different performances was the very large number of chess-board 6
configurations which the experts had learned during their many years of playing chess. Because their long-term memories contained thousands of examples of reallife games, such players were already familiar with the configurations of this kind that they were exposed to in the research, and could therefore easily recall them from memory. However, by the same token, they were unable to process randomlyconfigured boards in a similar way, because of their lack of familiarity with them, thus accounting for the lack of difference between the performance of the two groups when exposed to such layouts. As Sweller et al. (1998: p. 254) also explain, this means that expert players can use their long-term memory of multiple chess-board configurations to determine appropriate board moves, rather than having to rely on short-term memory for this purpose, in the manner of less-skilled players. In addition, as they also point out, the success of chess experts is therefore based on the amount of knowledge they have in long-term memory, rather than, as is commonly assumed (cf. Christodoulou 2014), by use of superior thinking processes. Thus, the primary source of the experts' more creative play is the amount of factual information stored in long-term memory: in other words, the quantity of their factual knowledge affects the quality of their play. Accordingly, skilled performance would therefore seem to depend crucially on accumulation of sufficient factual knowledge in long-term memory. Why is this the case? A primary reason appears to be the role played by schemaformation in long-term memory processing (Sweller et al., 1998: pp. 255-6; Kirschner et al., 2006: p. 83). A `schema' in this sense is group of items of knowledge in long-term memory which has formed itself into a complex web of 7
information, based on its use. For example, `chess grand masters have schemas that categorize board pieces into patterns that tell them which moves are appropriate' (Sweller et al., 1998: p. 255). Furthermore, `lower level' schemas can combine with `higher level' ones to develop more complex schemas, thereby enabling increasingly skilled types of performance, as in, e.g., the acquisition of literacy by children (Sweller et al., 1998: p. 255). In other words, the schematic organisation of factual knowledge in long-term memory means that a complex network of knowledge, consisting of many items of information, can be brought into short-term memory as a single entity, thereby bypassing its storage limitations and engendering highly-skilled performance. A second important reason for the effect of quantity of information stored in longterm memory on quality of performance is the way in which such knowledge is also potentially subject to `automation' (or `routinisation'). This process occurs when awareness of items of information stored in long-term memory becomes largely unconscious as a result of repeated practical application (Sweller et al. 1998: pp. 2568; Johnson, 1996: Ch. 4). Since automated knowledge involves very little or no conscious processing, such information can be deployed without any noticeable effect on short-term memory capacity. As Sweller et al. (1998) put it, in discussing the results of research into problem solvers' strategies: Problem solvers using automated rules [i.e., schema] had substantial working memory reserves to search for a problem solution. When using nonautomated rules, most or perhaps all working memory capacity may have been devoted to retrieving the rules. (p. 257). As a consequence, as Sweller et al. (1998) also go on to say: 8
Learners who have a more automated schema have more working memory capacity available to use the schema to solve more sophisticated problems. [For example], a reader who has automated the schemas associated with letters, words and phrases has working memory capacity available to devote to the meaning of the text, whereas less sophisticated readers may be able to read the text perfectly well but not have sufficient working memory capacity available to extract meaning from it. (pp. 257-8, my substitution). Automation can therefore be seen as another important aspect of the way in which factual knowledge stored in long-term memory has a crucial effect in overcoming the constraints of short-term memory and in enabling `expert' performance. In short, thus, these findings indicate in overall terms that i) information stored in long-term memory is the key to bypassing the shortcomings of short-term memory, and ii), as a result of schematisation and automation, such knowledge typically undergoes a `sea-change' in long-term memory, thereby enabling information to be used for increasingly complex forms of problem-solving, without at the same time overloading short-term memory capacity. Such characteristics of `cognitive architecture' have obvious pedagogical implications. Kirschner et al. (2006: p. 77) argue that, since skilled performance depends on the accumulation of sufficient knowledge in long-term memory `the architecture of long-term memory provides us with the ultimate justification for instruction' and `[I]f nothing has changed in long-term memory, nothing has been learned'. From this perspective, the primary issue for pedagogy is to identify what form of instruction is most likely to facilitate storage of information in long-term memory, the second of the two main matters to be discussed in this section. 9
1.2 Facilitating long-term memorisation of factual information The same literature which has already been reviewed also argues that, despite its widespread popularity, the use of so-called `inquiry-based instruction' ­ that is, of a problem-solving, inductive approach to pedagogy ­ is ineffective for the long-term memorisation of knowledge, because of the demands it places on short-term memory. As Kirschner et al. (2006: p. 77) explain, this is because the search for problemsolving information takes up space in short-term memory, thereby making it unavailable for supporting the acquisition of long-term information storage. In other words, because so much effort - and therefore working memory ­ is employed in solving the problem itself, there is not enough capacity available for long-term learning. Kirschner et al. (2006: pp. 83-4) therefore argue that a more `structured' approach to the teaching of knowledge is needed instead, one in which there is plenty of direct pedagogical guidance, since only in this way can the necessary `mental space' be created in short-term memory to facilitate the transfer of knowledge into the longterm memory store. They see this position as widely-supported by research on the topic, which in almost every case shows that relatively guided, `direct' forms of instruction produces better results than less guided approaches, especially for beginner- to intermediate-level learners. In particular, major empirical support for the effectiveness of `guided' or `direct instruction' for the long-term memorisation of information is provided in Hattie (2009) (cf. Peal 2014: pp. 182-4). Hattie's work is based on a study of more than 800 10
meta-analyses of research articles involving 138 educational `interventions'. He calculated an `effect size' for each of these `influences', based on the average improvement in student performance results reported in the studies, divided by the standard deviation. The overall average was 0.4, which Hattie therefore regarded as the `hinge [i.e., cut-off] point' for categorising the studies' findings. Consequently, interventions/influences with an effect size greater than the hinge point (i.e., > 0.4) are classified as `effective', and those with an effect size of 0.6 or greater as `highly effective'. By this method `direct instruction' was shown to have an effect size of 0.59 (i.e., just short of `highly effective'), whereas the effect size of `problem-based learning' was only 0.15 (Hattie, 2009: p. 243) (cf. Peal 2014: pp. 185-7, regarding similar results obtained in relation to `Project Follow Through'). A concrete illustration of the positive effect on memory load of `direct' instruction, and thereby of its potential pedagogic effectiveness, is provided in Christodoulou (2014). As she explains, in describing one of her writing lessons: By using direct instruction and drill, I broke down the knowledge required to be a clear and coherent writer, sequenced it logically and taught each bit in isolation. I then asked students to practise it repeatedly. Whenever they learned a new piece of knowledge, I would ask them to practise that and to practise combining it with what they had learned before. This approach is effective because it means working memory is not overloaded. Pupils are able to learn and practise each piece of knowledge in isolation... . (pp. 40-41). In comparison with her earlier attempts to use an `independent learning' (i.e., problem-solving) approach for this purpose, she characterises her use of direct instruction as much more effective: `Pupils were able to learn concepts which I had 11
previously thought were just too tricky or difficult to bother with... they seemed to quite enjoy the lessons, too' (p. 40). In addition, she also goes on to observe that a major flaw in the independent learning approach she originally used was that it `asked pupils to fulfil an aim without actually teaching them how to do it' (p. 40). This comment touches on what seems to be one of the primary sources of confusion about the supposed effectiveness of `problemsolving' forms of pedagogy as a basis for acquiring factual knowledge. As Kirschner et al. (2006: pp. 78-79) say, the misunderstanding seems to revolve around a failure to distinguish between what is involved in practicing a discipline, on the one hand, and the learning of it on the other, a difference of teaching it `as inquiry' (i.e., instruction in the research processes associated with the field) vs. `by inquiry' (i.e., instruction based on the research processes of the field). As a result of this erroneous line of thinking, the knowledge and skills possessed by experts and beginners in the field are insufficiently differentiated. In reality, however, being an expert problemsolver and learning to become an expert problem-solver involve quite different states of knowledge, and it is therefore fallacious to attempt to base pedagogy intended for the latter on the former (cf. Hutchinson and Waters 1987: pp. 60-63). To shed further light on the matter, it would be instructive to attempt to also account for the reasons why this type of illogicality is nevertheless so widespread. However, lack of space unfortunately precludes doing so here. To sum up: as should by now be clear, there is considerable evidence that, because of the nature of human `cognitive architecture', the long-term memorisation of the factual information that is crucial for skilled performance is likely to be achieved 12
more effectively in most cases through `direct' forms of instruction than by more indirect, problem-solving methods. We now move on to consider the implications of both main parts of this section for the theory-practice `divide' within language teaching regarding approaches to the teaching of language knowledge, as noted earlier. 2. Implications for language teaching The primary pedagogical implication of the theorising and research which has just been reviewed can perhaps best be summed up in the words of Kirschner et al. (2006): `The aim of all instruction is to alter long-term memory' (p. 77). This is the case because, as has been shown, long-term memory of information is the primary basis for skilled performance. It therefore follows that the fundamental criterion that should be used for evaluating the merits of competing language teaching pedagogies is the extent to which they can be seen to facilitate the long-term memorisation of language knowledge. It is obvious that the `communicating-to-learn' approach which, as identified in Waters (2012), has been favoured by much of the language teaching theoretical discourse in recent years, strongly resembles pedagogies which have been referred to variously in earlier parts of this paper as `inquiry-based', `Problem Solving', `problem based' and `independent learning'. As such, `communicating-to-learn' pedagogy must also be regarded as subject to the same criticisms as have been levelled at these approaches in terms of lack of potential for facilitating long-term memorisation of information. In other words, from this perspective, because the overall focus in a 13
`communicating-to-learn' approach is on relatively independent problem-solving, there is unlikely to be sufficient `mental space' in short-term memory for language knowledge to be absorbed into long-term memory. Such a perspective helps to explain why a number of empirical studies within language teaching have indicated that lack of relevant language knowledge can significantly hamper learners' ability to engage successfully in task-based communication activities (see, e.g., Carless 2007), or have shown that such activities often do not produce the anticipated language knowledge learning opportunities (Seedhouse 1999; Constantine 2010). This stance is also consonant with Swan (2005), which, on the basis of a wide-ranging review of the relevant literature, found no evidence for the claimed superiority of task-based instruction with respect to the learning of new language knowledge. It should by now also be clear that what has been referred to in the previous section as `guided' or `direct instruction' closely resembles the `learning-to-communicate' approach identified in Waters (2012) as the enduring preferred methodology of the language teaching practitioner for the teaching of language knowledge. Furthermore, given the evidence reviewed in the previous section, it also follows that this approach must be regarded as having considerable potential for facilitating the long-term memorisation of such information. This is primarily because pedagogy of this kind, rather than overloading short-term memory, is instead capable of creating the `mental space' needed for transfer of knowledge to the long-term memory store. Such a perspective lends further theoretical support to the skills-based language learning models of Littlewood (1992) and Johnson (1996), and to the work of DeKeyser (2009) concerning the role of `practice' in language learning. It also raises major questions about the validity of criticisms in parts of the language teaching theoretical 14
discourse about the effectiveness of forms of `direct instruction', such as `Presentation-Practice-Production' (PPP). For example, in such a vein Skehan (1996) claims that: The underlying theory for a PPP approach has now been discredited. The belief that a precise focus on a particular form leads to learning and automization... no longer carries much credibility in linguistics or psychology. (p. 18). Rather, it would seem to be the theoretical basis of such criticism that needs to be reviewed. As Spada (2015) argues, much of it appears to be based on a widespread and pervasive `misapplication' to language teaching pedagogy of a range of findings from SLA studies. However, at this point it may be objected that the line of argumentation outlined so far simply reaffirms what is already wide-scale existing language teaching practice: as mentioned at the outset, there is evidence that a `learning-to-communicate' pedagogy is the kind used by most language teaching practitioners around the world (Waters 2012); probably non-coincidentally, it also appears to be the approach used in most language teaching coursebooks (Tomlinson 2001). It is therefore already very much the norm throughout the world of language teaching pedagogical practice. But it is important to also take into account the effect of the wider professional context in this matter. In other words, it is one thing for such an approach to predominate in the majority of language teaching classrooms; it is very much another for it do so in the face of concerted theoretical opposition from influential and powerful parts of the professional discourse, as is the case for the area of pedagogy in question (Waters 2012). It is essential, of course, that well-established pedagogical 15
procedures are regularly reviewed and challenged, in order to guard against `fossilisation' and to take into account new discoveries about language and learning. However, for critiques of this kind to be useful, they also need to be accompanied by a sufficient degree of sympathy with and appreciation of the merits of existing practitioner approaches. This is because, as innovation theory indicates, meaningful change in teaching practices (like any form of `learning', for that matter, as already indicated) can only occur by building sufficiently on existing understandings (Wedell 2009). The absence of such a stance can all too readily result in a sense of guilt and fear on the part of teachers: guilt, because they are not following the `approved' professional approach, and fear because they run the risk of being `found out' and censured. It also breeds a negative attitude towards `official' forms of theorising, since they are seen as insufficiently in touch with practitioner motivations influencing the use of alternative forms of instruction. Furthermore, such a theoretical position encourages professional energies to be devoted one-sidedly to the study and advocacy of only certain forms of pedagogy, while simultaneously giving much less attention to others than may be deserved. In addition, such an overall state of affairs is all the more negative in its operation, of course, when, in fact, there does not appear to be sufficient evidence, as has been argued above, to justify the theoretical stance being promoted. All this said, though, and more positively, the other side of the coin is also the case, of course: forms of theoretical discourse which are less oppositional and more in tune with practitioner perspectives are likely to result in improved professional relations 16
and the development of more productive teaching ideas. And in this vein, it is important in re-theorising the teaching of language knowledge to avoid creating a reverse form of the polarisation of views that currently exists, by using literature of the kind that has just been reviewed to throw out the communicative `baby' with the language knowledge `bathwater'. Rather, it is important to recognise that, whatever the shortcomings of a `communicating-to-learn' approach in terms of the long-term acquisition of language knowledge, it is nevertheless capable of playing a potentially helpful role in language teaching pedagogy. As argued in Swan (2005), forms of this kind of pedagogy, such as `task-based instruction', can usefully reinforce existing knowledge of language, by providing additional and more `holistic' `communicative' practice (cf. Littlewood 2004) and thereby supporting additional schematisation and automation of language knowledge already stored in long-term memory. There is also evidence of practitioner support for such a stance: as one of the teachers in Carless (2007) puts it, `"We need to find some other method, not a task-based one and not a traditional one, something between the two"' (p. 600). A viewpoint of this kind is also consonant with the overall findings of recent classroom-based research into teaching Language Pedagogy. These are seen by Lightbown & Spada (2006: p. 179) to provide evidence that a combination of `form-focused' and `communicative' teaching is more effective than a pedagogy based mainly on only one or the other of these elements. In other words, research of this nature indicates that a blend of `learning-to-communicate' and `communicating-to-learn' pedagogies can be more effective than the exclusive use of either approach. As a corollary, Lightbown and Spada (2006: p. 180) go on to say that the main professional challenge is therefore to identify the optimum combination of the two 17
approaches. This is obviously an important further issue. In the search for such a balance, it can be argued that the scales have for too long been tilted unjustifiably in too much of a `communicating-to-learn' direction. Rather, from the perspective of this paper, a properly balanced amalgam of `communicating-to-learn' and `learningto-communicate' pedagogies for the teaching of language knowledge should instead take a reverse form. In other words, it should involve a `learning-to-communicate' approach being accorded a primary, rather than secondary, pedagogic role in the matter, on the grounds that only such an approach can facilitate the long-term buildup of language knowledge which is indispensable for the proper operation of a `communicating-to-learn' pedagogic element (cf. DeKeyser, 2009; Waters, 2006). As Peal 2014 puts it, `Learning by doing [i.e., `communicating-to-learn'] is an impoverished philosophy: learning then doing is the principle that should guide teachers' (p. 204, my interpolation and emphasis). Such a rebalancing of priorities can also be seen as lending renewed theoretical support to allied ideas already existing within language teaching pedagogy, such as `task-supported language teaching' (Ellis 2003)3. However, this said, given the respective roles of the two main pedagogical elements involved, as just outlined, the term `task-enhanced language teaching' (Tom Hutchinson, personal communication) would be a more appropriate label for the concept, since it is the `learning' element within it which is envisaged as primary, while the `doing' component, although also important, of course, is viewed as `secondary'. As a corollary, it would also seem useful for more to be done in language teacher education to raise awareness among trainees and teachers of the rationale behind and 3 `Teaching that utilizes tasks to provide free practice in the use of a specific linguistic feature that has been previously presented and practised in exercises' (Ellis, 2003: p. 351). 18
the forms that can be taken by elements of existing good practice in `learning-tocommunicate' approaches, as illustrated, for example, by the writing lessons of Christodoulou (2014) presented in section 1.2 above. By the same token, more might also be done to raise teacher awareness about how to effectively link such elements of `learning-to-communicate' work to a closely-related `communicating-tolearn'/`doing' pedagogical element. To do so would include an emphasis in lesson planning and delivery on aspects of both main matters such as the following: · first of all identifying the main language knowledge elements needed for the `target' communication work; · putting them in a logical teaching sequence; · working out ways of teaching and getting learners to practice each of them thoroughly, one by one; · then also providing practice in combining each of newly learned items with the previously learned ones; · then (and only then) proceeding to the related communication (`doing') work (cf. Hutchinson & Waters, 1987: Ch. 10). In addition, much of value might also be gleaned from the careful study of coursebooks (published Teaching materials) which contain well-designed `learning then doing' units, such as, for example, the `English for Life' series (Hutchinson, 2007). Finally, it would also seem important for much more language teaching research than at present to be focused on the study of such `learning then doing' forms of pedagogy, in order to expand understanding in this area. 19
3. Conclusion To sum up: it is obviously important for language teaching to make progress towards resolving the current dichotomy regarding approaches to the teaching of language knowledge, one that has, for some time now, created an unfortunate theory-practice divide at the heart of the profession. As I have tried to show, there is nowadays a body of theorising and research concerning the cognitive architecture of memory that sheds useful light on the matter. The upshot of it is that there appear to be sound reasons ­ both necessary and sufficient - for the language teaching theoretical discourse to accord a good deal more credence to `learning-to-communicate' approaches to the teaching of language knowledge, instead of mainly or only to `communicating-to-learn' forms of such pedagogy. Furthermore, rather than thereby simply creating a reverse form of polarisation, more effort should be devoted to the design of `hybrid' forms of such pedagogies, in keeping with the findings of classroom-based research, of a `learning then doing' nature. Above all, `communicating to learn' approaches, while they may serve as a supplement to or enhancement of `learning to communicate' forms of pedagogy, should not be seen as a substitute for them. It is hoped that in such ways the current `schizophrenic' division of views within the language teaching profession about this central area of pedagogy can be ameliorated. References: Carless, D. (2007). The suitability of task-based approaches for secondary schools: perspectives from Hong Kong. System, 35(4), 595-608. Christodoulou, D. (2014). Seven myths about education. London: Routledge. 20
Constantine, J. (2010). A study of Jane Willis's task-based learning (TBL) model. In B. Beaven (Ed.), IATEFL 2009 conference celections (pp. 104-105). Canterbury, England: IATEFL. DeKeyser, R. (2009). Cognitive-psychological processes in second Language Learning. In M. H. Long & C. J. Doughty (Eds.), The handbook of language teaching (pp. 119-138). Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell. Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning : a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London; New York: Routledge. Hutchinson, T. (2007). English for life pre-intermediate student's book. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hutchinson, T. & Waters, A. (1987). English for specific purposes : a learningcentred approach. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Pres,. Johnson, K. (1996). Language teaching and skill learning. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, MAss.: Blackwell. Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based reaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86. Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N.. (2006). How languages are learned (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Littlewood, W,. (2004). The task-based approach: some questions and suggestions. ELT Journal, 58(4), 319-326. 21
Littlewood, W. (1992). Teaching oral communication : a methodological framework. Oxford: Blackwell. Merton, R. K. (1968). The Matthew effect in ccience. Science, 159(3810), 56-63. Miller, G. A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two. Some limits of our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 101(2), 343352. Peal, R. (2014). Progressively worse. Stevenage, England: Civitas. Seedhouse, P. (1999). Task-based interaction. ELT Journal, 53(3), 149-156. Skehan, P. (1996). Second language acquisition research and task-based instruction. In D. Willis & J. Willis (Eds.), Challenge and change in language teaching (pp. 1730). Oxford: Macmillan Heinemann. Spada, N. (2015). SLA research and L2 pedagogy: Misapplications and questions of relevance. Language Teaching, 48(1), 69-81. Stevick, E.W. (1996). Memory, meaning & method : a view of language teaching. 2nd ed. Boston, Mass.: Heinle & Heinle. Swan, M. (2005). Legislation by hypothesis: the case of task-based instruction. Applied Linguistics, 26(3), 376-401. Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Paas, F. G. W. C. (1998). Cognitive architecture and Instructional Design. Educational Psychology Review, 10(3), 251-296. Tomlinson, B. (2001). Materials development. In R. Carter & D. Nunan (Eds.), Teaching English to speakers of other languages (pp. 66-71). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Waters, A. (2006). Thinking and language learning. ELT Journal 60(4), 319-327. 22
Waters, A. (2012). Trends and issues in ELT methods and methodology. ELT Journal 66(4), 440-449. Wedell, M. (2009). Planning for educational change - putting people and their contexts first. London: Continuum. 23

A Waters, C South

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Title: Microsoft Word - Cognitive_Architecture_and_the_Learning_of_Language_Knowledge.docx
Author: A Waters, C South
Published: Fri Jul 31 10:17:24 2015
Pages: 23
File size: 0.17 Mb


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