Methodology and Related Sciences

September 7th, 20115:58 am


Methodology and Related Sciences

Methodology and Related Sciences

The belief that it is necessary to relate language teaching to an established scientific discipline is certainly not new. Indeed, it has been an important feature of several methods and approaches. M. West, G. Losanov and the methods associated with them looked almost exclusively to psychologists for guidance. Charles Fries based his concept of language teaching on structural linguistics.

The generative-transformational approach to the analysis of language, which has become dominant since the appearance of Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures in 1957, is very much concerned with the possibility of establishing a direct connection between grammatical rules and a human being’s competence to produce speech.

Noam Chomsky challenged behaviorist principles of language acquisition as well as phrase-structure grammars. Language learning is not a matter of habit acquisition and conditioning, outside stimuli and response to them, but a creative process, a rationalistic, cognitive activity.

The basic elements in any teaching situation are the teacher, the subject matter, the learner, the principles, and the aims of instruction. These elements are related to one another in a way very similar to the terms of equation. In other words, language teaching should be based on at least four cornerstones: (a) what is known about the nature of the language; (b) what is known about the nature of the learner; (c) the principles of instruction; (d) the aims of instruction.

The aims of instruction have been scientifically determined and include practical, instructional, educative, and formative ones.

The science which analyzes the nature of language in general as well as that of a particular language is linguistics.

The science that studies the process of human behaviour is psychology.

The principles of instruction are underlying provisions which reflect and generalize the most essential aspects of cognitive and practical activity.

Previously, it was believed that the only basic tool a language teacher needed was a sound knowledge of the language. He was then trained in the methodology currently in vogue and sent into the classroom. Now we know that linguistics is not the only area in which a teacher should be trained and use its results in the teaching/learning process. The importance of psychology and sociology, as well as more extensive teaching in pedagogy is being widely recognized. The relevance of each of these disciplines can easily be seen by numerous publications related to the topics under discussion.

While the emphasis in education today is on the student as the focus of learning (learner-oriented), it must be remembered that the teacher is still the person specially trained to guide the student, help him select appropriate learning materials, and create a positive classroom environment. In order to perform these tasks, the teacher should have access to three main types of information about his students: linguistic, psychological and social factors. Three areas are of particular importance here: schemata (clusters of concepts or knowledge structures that people have learned through experience), cognitive styles, and affective factors (interests, attitudes and self-concepts).

In order to sustain students’ motivation, teachers need the courage to scrutinise, challenge and question non-productive approaches and theories. They should be committed to a teaching profession and to the idea that all pupils can learn a foreign language. They need confidence in themselves to use their intuition and to develop their strong points. They need to have the conviction that their mission constitutes a most crucial task in any society. It is the teacher who will have the opportunity to meet, touch and mould the minds and hearts of the majority of young people in a community.

The language teacher, in particular, is aware that while teaching materials must be timely and relevant, it is infinitely more important that they be timeless and universal. A teacher is cognizant of the fact that materials should be designed not only to teach language, literature or culture but also to foster the moral, spiritual, and ethical values which can contribute to the goal of All-European citizenship.

The methodology of FLT, as we have seen, is closely related to pedagogy, psychology, physiology, linguistics, logic and other sciences.

Використані джерела:
1. Близнюк М.І. Курс лекцій з методики викладання англійської мови. – Чернівці: ЧДУ, 1999 – с.