martes, 10 de diciembre de 2013

My summary of last Sat Nov 30 1500 gmt IATEFL free Webinar with Scott Thornbury: Interlanguage Fossilization, no way out?

This is by no means a thourough report but a summary of the notes I took during the session which will be available online only for a short period before it becomes archived to be available only for IATEFL members. Link to the announcement

The L2 motivational self system helps us visualize our own ideal L2 speaker and aim at achieving that.  What is it I want to be able to do in the target language? By aligning my needs to that target, which is probably not to be functional at C1 or C2 level,  we allow ourselves to set realistic goals.

Advice to language learners: Work with whatever the level you have, but DO it!  The classroom is a good environment for the incidental learning that occurs naturally, and is important to develop communicative confidence in students.  Classroom practice is ok because it provides a space for us to experiment and take risks and get support from the teacher at the same time, interacting in a safe environment like this is an important confidence builder.

In order to make progress once one has achieved a certain level of proficiency, and because progress is less evident, we need to set up new scenarios for practice mainly for us to keep us motivated.  Social interaction proves a good ground for taking our progress a little bit higher.  Language is a social construct and as teachers we often tend to forget this when we overemphasize grammar or spelling.  My adult learners bring to class a high filter which is difficult to break so it is necessary for them to acknowledge that it is ok to make mistakes, because our interlocutors are not paying attention to them, they are focusing on the message and our willingness and persistence in communicating.  Silence would be the opposite option and it does not conduct to any kind of progress.  Silence is an outcome rooted in fear.

I liked this quote by Widdowson that Scott shared: "Make the target language your own, rather than simply submit to the dictates of its form."

I also liked the (to me new) acronym ELF : English as a Lingua Franca.

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