Dellar Defends the Coursebook

ventril

Following my post on Challenging the Coursebook, there was an exchange of tweets led by Hugh Dellar, who said the following

  • “the talk seems based on number of bold claims and misconceptions. doesn’t he realise teachers mediate coursebooks?”
  • “of course teachers influence coursebook design yes. And if they showed less enthusiasm for grammar it’d all change.”
  • “if teachers were to stop buying grammar-dominated books tomorrow, publishers would stop publishing them.”
  • “Talk to publishing folk & see how in thrall they are to teachers’ demands and expectations.”

The gist here seems to be that teachers like coursebooks and coursebooks are based on the presentation and practice of discrete bits of grammar because that’s what teachers want.

Dellar has elsewhere defended the use of coursebooks with such arguments as

  • People teaching in very poor parts of the world would just love to have coursebooks
  • Coursebooks are well-researched
  • Coursebooks help teachers do their jobs

none of which addresses the criticisms I made of them. So let me go over the ground again.

My argument against coursebooks is, first, that they are based on 3 false assumptions:

  1. Declarative knowledge is converted to procedural knowledge by the presentation and practice of discrete items of grammar.
  2. SLA is a process of learning these discrete items one by one in an accumulative way.
  3. Learners learn what they’re taught when they’re taught it. .

In my presentation, I indicated why these assumptions are false, so I won’t repeat the reasons here, but perhaps it’s worth saying again that the reasons are based on the best model we have so far of SLA: the development of learners’ interlanguages. “Interlanguage” is a rich, complex, much studied construct in SLA, and it refers to learners’ mostly implicit, evolving representations of the target language. In the development of interlanguages there is an order of acquisition, a route (from a basic to a more sophisticated representation of the L2) which is impervious to instruction and which is completely at odds with the order in which coursebooks present the formal properties of the language. All the “items” artificially separated in coursebooks are, in fact, inextricably linked parts of language, and they’re learned by a complex route (involving “U-shaped”, circular, regressive, and other moves) which has NOTHING in common with the linear, one-by-one process assumed by coursebooks.

Product Process

The second part of my argument was that coursebooks embody what Breen (1987) calls a “product syllabus”, and that a product syllabus is a bad way to structure a course. Again, I refer you to my presentation for a summary of what’s wrong with a product syllabus and why a process syllabus is better.

And so we come back to the apologists who want to defend coursebooks. Absolutely nothing Dellar says answers the criticisms I’ve made of them. He says that not all coursebooks are the same, but he says not one word to refute my suggestion that false assumptions unify them, or that a product syllabus is defective. Dellar’s claim that he has replaced the grammar-based coursebook with one which embraces the principles of some ill-defined lexical approach fails to deal with the fact that if a teacher uses a coursebook to lead learners through a pre-determined series of steps, learners will not learn what they’re taught when they’re taught it. Whatever results learners might get from being led through a course based on Dellar’s ironically-named magnum opus “Outcomes”, replete with its endless fill-in-the-gap exercises and lexical chunks, they will not be those simplistically assumed by its author, because language learning is not what Dellar assumes it to be.

My argument is that the whole venture is fundamentally flawed: the ELT industry has imposed coursebooks on teachers, to the detriment of good teaching. In order to reply to this argument, Dellar must confront the three false assumptions on which coursebook use is based: he must confront the evidence of how SLA actually happens. That coursebooks are the dream of teachers working in Ethiopia; that coursebooks are cherished by millions of teachers who just really love them; that the Headway team have succeeded in keeping their products fresh and lively; that Outcome includes recordings of people who don’t have RP accents; that coursebooks are mediated by teachers; that coursebooks rule and that’s the way it is, so get real; none of these spurious statements carries any weight for those who base their teaching practice on critical thinking and rational argument.

In reply to my suggestion that he write up his criticisms of my presentation in something more coherent and cohesive than a series of tweets, Dellar replied “Life’s too short. I’ve got a coursebook to write.” And there it is: Dellar’s too busy peddling his wares to bother with principled criticism. A further measure of Dellar’s scholarship is that he’s never published anything in a refereed journal.

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Dellar Defends the Coursebook

  1. hi Geoff

    could an argument be made regarding assumption 1 that declarative knowledge is a necessary but not sufficient condition for procedural knowledge, hence “good” coursebooks are are at least providing what is necessary?

    ta
    mura

    Like

  2. Hi Geoff
    I find this topic fascinating and linked to our previous discussions on Acquisition order I hunk. I’m curious though, and I can’t remember if we’ve been over this…does the theory include vocabulary or just grammar. I remember Pieneman’s stuff and I remember we talked about relative clauses and Q forms, but what about vocab? Isn’t Dellar a fan of the lexical approach?

    Secondly, deKyser would suggest that practice is effective. So how do we square this circle? On the one hand we know practice can help. Focusing students attention in forms is effective. Error correction is effective etc. On the other, a lot of research suggests students don’t acquire things until they’re ready. This is where I get stuck.

    Like

    • Hi Russ,

      1. Interlanguage theory is about developments of formal aspects of the language – including morphemes, syntax, pron. and some lexical chunks.

      2. DeKeyser says that learners need to have conscious knowledge of formal aspects before it becomes procedural, and Schmidt’s noticing hypothesis comes close to this. Most take the position that attention to form, error correction etc., is only effective if it’s given at the right moment. In any case there is general consensus that teaching affects rate not route.

      Like

  3. Your relentless baiting has finally drawn me in Geoff, if only to correct sme of the wilder claims you’ve made about me above.

    Firstly, let me just clarify the Tweets you’ve extracted from their original context above.
    I noted that your talk seemed to be based on a number of bold claims. I stand by this.

    For instance: “Teachers use coursebooks BECAUSE THEY’RE TOLD TO”.
    Well, obviously, sometimes this is true; plenty of other times it isn’t.
    Not sure it helps construct a reasoned debate to smear all coursebook users are mere slaves to the system as you see it.

    Onto the next slide: “Teacher use coursebooks to lead students through a sequence of lessons based on the presentation and practice of discrete items of structural grammar.” Now obviously it suits your argument against the unpacking of what Scott once called grammar McNuggets to frame things in this way, and this is obviously ONE of the things teachers do use coursebooks for, and I have as plenty of issues with the way discrete structural grammar has come to dominate coursebooks myself. However, it’s just plain wrong to assume this is ALL teachers use coursebooks for. They use them to introduce lexis, to bring reading and listening texts into class, to save time on lesson prep, to meet student and parental expectations, and so on. You conveniently neglect to mention all this as it suits the thrust of your argument better.

    I could go on with plenty of other bold claims and misconceptions that I felt were contained in the talk, but I hope the above will illustrate my basic point here.

    The next Tweet suggested that teachers influence coursebook design – and if they showed less enthusiasm for grammar it’d all change. I don;’t think the first part of this is even an opinion. It’s simply a fact. Publishing houses change and adapt material in response to feedback from users, both keen and less so, and I’ve seen plenty of examples of readers / teachers who’ve piloted material making suggestions that end up in books themselves. The idea that if teachers were to show less enthusiasm for grammar-driven courses, the market would change is based very much on my own experience of trying to introduce books NOT based on the kind of grammar-driven syallabi you’re critiquing, so it’s something I’ve seen and heard first-hand over the years.

    You summarise the gist of this spate of Tweets thus: “The gist here seems to be that teachers like coursebooks and coursebooks are based on the presentation and practice of discrete bits of grammar because that’s what teachers want.”

    That’s obviously an over-simplification of the points I was making – or trying to – but I would suggest that yes, many many teachers do like coursebooks and feel more secure with them than without. I’d also suggest that the kind of broad brush smearing of coursebooks you’re engaging in does those teachers a profound disservice as it’s essentially denying the possibility of them still being excellent practitioners. I’d also suggest that grammar DOES still seem to be the primary – though not the only – thing that the vast majority of teachers around the world expect and demand from material, whether you like it or not (and I don’t, personally, but there you go. We live in an imperfect world). To pretend this isn’t the case or to denigrate all those who believe this is wipe out a huge swathe of the teaching profession and preach mainly to the converted. But then of course, that seems to be pretty much what you get to do here on your own turf as it were, anyway. 🙂

    Not sure where you think I’ve ever said “people teaching in very poor parts of the world would just love to have coursebooks” and I resent the way that’s phrased in such a way of t make me sound maximally patronising. What I HAVE said before is that I have a friend who runs a school in Guinea Bissau, one of the poorest countries in the world, and they are always looking for classroom materials and if anyone has any old coursebooks, rather than throw them away why not send them there, where they’d be appreciated. Presumably this makes me part of the patriachal, post-colonial dominant hegemony. As opposed to someone trying to help someone else.

    As for my two other supposed earlier quotes not addressing the arguments you made in your talk, Geoff, that’d be because they were made before you did this talk and were uttered in different contexts. Not quite sure how selectively quoted things I may have said in the past in different contexts can really be criticised for not addressing points you’ve only recently made, but there you go.

    Anyway, thought it wise to just set the record straight on all of that first.
    As for the rest of your points, I think some of them are interesting, as usual.
    I guess I’m just slightly bewildered that you somehow seem to feel these are all questions I personally have to answer for, given the fact I’ve spent my entire writing career trying to move coursebooks away from the kind of grammar-driven courses you mainly seem to be having a bash at.

    I guess, though, it helps to drive readers over here if you manage to bait someone like me in.
    Should anyone here really be interested in what I actually believe about language or how I think it gets learned – and of course, I’m not stupid enough to believe there’s any particular reason why they should – can I ask that rather than take Geoff’s skewed summaries of what he believes I believe at face value, they check out our own site: http://www.lexicallab.com/category/resources/core-principles/

    Given the enthusiasm for critical engagement and participation espoused above, perhaps you might like to compare and contrast and find the biases in the way our ideas have been distorted. 🙂

    Like

    • 1. I’m not baiting you Hugh, and your suggestion that I’m doing so in order to “drive readers over here” is contemptible. In this post I reply to your attempts to defend coursebooks; in other posts I criticise your public statements about the lexical approach. I have no interest in making personal attacks on you, or baiting you. My intention is simply to encourage teachers to question the hopelessly muddled and lazy thinking which runs through the stream of pronouncements and advice which you confidently offer them.
      2. I’ll let readers judge for themselves whether this badly-written string of non-sequiturs has anything to say about the main points I raised. And if they’d like to read your staggeringly inarticulate attempt to express your “core principles” then they should certainly click on the link you provide.

      Like

      • Given that you seem unable to engage in the kind of academic debate that you suggest it’s your mission to encourage others to engage in without resorting to loaded slurs and generalisations such as “staggeringly inarticulate”, “badly written string of non-sequiturs” and “hopelessly muddled and lazy thinking”, Geoff, you’ll have to excuse me if I find little of actual content in this response to get my teeth into.

        To my mind, making sweeping statements about my perceived inability to put ideas together one after the other does little to further your argument. And at worst, it actually undermines some of the otherwise interesting issues you raise above and weakens your critique of material you have, for some obscure reason, chosen t make me the poster boy advocate for.

        Like

  4. I am not a fan of textbooks and the way grammar takes the main role in most of the ones I’ve used. I don’t believe it represents the true linguistic needs of students, and I also resent the view that we can learn a language by piling up grammar points one by one. I also think it is way more interesting to learn a language through projects, authentic tasks, and language which is relevant to the students’ lives. Having said this, I do agree that many teachers demand these textbooks and believe in them. I wish I could have data to support my view, but based on what I’ve experienced teaching in Colombia, Turkey, China, and the US, I see that most teachers rely on their textbooks for many reasons. I also see a lot of photocopying textbooks not being used as a main text in class to supplement materials. As much as I wish we actually created our own materials locally and taught not based on some grammar syllabus, but based on tasks and topics of interest to our students, there are strong reasons why this isn’t happening. Again, I’m only speaking from my personal experience, but here are some of those reasons I’ve witnessed in my teaching context.

    -Lack of support: teachers don’t get enough time to develop materials needed for class and textbooks provide that content. Where I teach now, we have 20 contact hours a week with the same students and zero paid planning time. We don’t even know which level we’ll teach until a day before school starts. Again, I don’t like textbooks, but I just don’t have the support to be able not to use them.

    -Training: many of us have started teaching with little or no training and have later gone on to get MAs or teaching certificates. When I started teaching ELLs in Colombia, textbooks provided a guide as to what I could do in class. Fortunately, there where PD opportunities at work, but I can’t imagine what I would have done without those textbooks at first. Now that I have 8 years of ELT experience behind me, I feel much more comfortable going into situations where I create the curriculum and rely on projects and resources online, like when I taught in China.

    -Students: with the exception of Turkey, where I taught a content-based composition class to C1 learners, my students have always asked me for worksheets to practice grammar or vocabulary. I don’t really like worksheets, and despise standardized tests. BUT…. what I am realistically to do when students ask me for these materials? What to do when they want to pass IELTS, TOEFL, or any of those exams and ask additional support?

    Bottom line is that textbooks are not the issue here. The issue is our lack of critical thinking and innovation when it comes to deciding what and how to teach. Many teachers haven’t even questioned the notion that language isn’t learned in morsels the way it is presented in textbooks, and those teachers are not reading these blogs or engaging in these discussions. Why is that? There’s a larger issue at stake here. I believe that until ELT professionals aren’t supported in doing research about their contexts, or supported to create materials and curricula that suits their needs, very little is going to change. Taking the textbooks out of the equation without providing an alternative is not a solution. And speaking of alternatives, Geoff, I hear your criticisms, but I’ve missed your take on what could realistically be done as an alternative to using textbooks when we don’t get time/support to develop our courses, are not properly trained, or can’t go out and form a teaching collective because our peers simply don’t care. Those are not extreme examples, unfortunately, those have been real conditions in my teaching experience, and I’m sure I’m not alone here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Laura,

      Marvellous stuff! Thanks so much for these great comments.

      Let me just pick out two sentences: “Bottom line is that textbooks are not the issue here. The issue is our lack of critical thinking and innovation when it comes to deciding what and how to teach.” I think coursebooks are an issue because they dominate ELT, but I agree wholeheartedly with the second sentence. .

      I’ll do a post on what can realistically be done as an alternative to using textbooks.

      Thanks again.

      Like

      • Looking forward to your post, Geoff. Even though I don’t appreciate it when other ELT members like Dellar and Harmer are put down (I don’t see the need, quite frankly), I do enjoy having this conversation. I think it would even attract more people if it didn’t have this unnecessary confrontational tone, but I digress.

        Like

    • Hi Laura,
      I agree with a lot of what you’ve written and particularly the bit that Paul and Geoff have already picked up on: “Bottom line is that textbooks are not the issue here. The issue is our lack of critical thinking and innovation when it comes to deciding what and how to teach.”

      Like you as an untrained teacher I was very glad near the beginning of my career to have a coursebook to lean on. I’m even more glad that I started off with the Direct Method where had to rely just on myself, the students and pedagogical technique. When I left Berlitz after a year and went to a school where they put a coursebook in my hot little hands – I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Just turn the pages with the students and do what the book said to do. I couldn’t go wrong, I didn’t have to think… but it was hellish boring. Luckily I was in Paris and in the 70s the British Council was putting on lots of “days” and “weekends” on alternative methods: Suggestopedia, Silent Way, Total Physical Response, Community Language Learning, etc. I made my choice of the one that created the classroom environment I found most convivial. I’ve never used a coursebook since – except when obliged to prepare students for the TOEIC or something similar.

      I realise that most EFL teachers in the world don’t have the freedom not to use a coursebook – usually not even to choose which one. I don’t criticise them but I do criticise experienced teachers who are not constrained as to how they teach and still fall back on a coursebook. A bunch of intellectually lazy slobs who might as well be working on a production line.

      I don’t think just replacing the content in standard coursebooks by content teachers select as hopefully being closer to their students’ interests is much of an improvement either. I once saw a leftwing film which started off with a vignette of foreigner workers learning the language of their host country. The adult students sat in rows copying down what the teacher was writing on the board: “Ali is a good worker. He arrives at the factory and says ‘Good morning, Sir’ to the boss.” An hour and a half follows showing the workers taking power. But the foreign workers still don’t master the local language. Final vignette back in the same classroom, same students sitting in the same rows and copying down what a different teacher is writing on the board: “Ali is a good revolutionary. He arrives at the factory and says ‘Good morning, comrades’ to the other workers.” I appeared to be only one in the cinema to see the grim humour.

      I didn’t pretend to know what subjects would interest my students – they chose the subjects (usually they chose to talk about themselves and their day-to-day lives). I saw my job as helping them to express themselves as well as they could in Standard International English.

      You ask, Laura, “BUT…. what I am realistically to do when students ask me for these materials?” I think there are two different situations:
      1) You’ve been hired to prepare them for IELTS, TOEFL, etc. If that’s what you’ve contracted to do, well you get the appropriate prep book and do what you’re expected to do. And try and find another job.
      2) You haven’t been explicitly hired to do test preparation and the pressure comes from the students themselves (or their parents, or their employer). I quite often had this kind of pressure and I used to say, “So if you go to the doctor and he prescribed you green pills, you replied, ‘I prefer pink ones because they’re prettier’, would you respect him if he gave in to your wishes?” In my classroom, the students were free to choose the content “pushpin or poetry”, but not the pedagogy. I don’t mean I never made pedagogical mistakes (far from it!) but it was my responsibility.

      Like

  5. First of all, I want to thank Geoff for being one of the people who is UNAFRAID to question the status quo. You may disagree with his way of approaching the subject, and I’m sure Geoff would agree that he takes no prisoners, but I get the feeling that behind this is a genuine desire to give the status quo a kick up the a**e–which is sorely needed in my opinion and those of others too!

    Secondly, Laura raises some important points here, primarily the point that: “Bottom line is that textbooks are not the issue here. The issue is our lack of critical thinking and innovation when it comes to deciding what and how to teach.” There are many questions arising from this, but a few that spring to mind are:

    – support for teachers. How can the teaching of language improve when the conditions of ELT teachers are so precarious? How can teachers conduct research when they are not paid enough money to cover their rent? (the ever-present moan at conferences – “But teachers don’t conduct research….” – does anyone wonder why?)

    – what is the alternative to top-down, imported materials? For example, Dogme approach (of which I have a lot of sympathy, for going against the grain of PPP) only goes so far, and there are implementation problems in particular contexts e.g. ESP, Business English. What might a methodology for creating local materials look like? And why aren’t teachers encouraged to develop their OWN methodology? (It’s not that difficult, I did it – you can too)

    – how can we introduce a critical awareness into teaching practice at an earlier stage in the life of an ELT teacher. Should we wait until ELT teachers get to MA or PhD level until they acquire a critical consciousness?

    These questions all revolve around one central point also: are we an industry or a profession?

    Like

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for this great follow-up to Laura’s comments.

      I know I’m considered outspoken, but when I give my opinion that some published text is hopelessly muddled, inarticulate and badly-written, that it lacks coherence and cohesion, that it flies in the face of research findings, and that it totally fails to address the issues raised, well that’s exactly what I want to say about it, and all I ask is that readers judge for themselves. Dellar, Harmer, Produmou, Scrivener and others should not, in my opinion, be allowed to get away with their persistently poor quality publications. Those of us interested in making ELT a critical, well-informed activity should be vigilant in the face of such dross and speak out against it.

      Like

  6. For me, the ‘teacher feedback’, from what I’ve seen in schools, has been a bit biased. We trialled advance copies of Inside Out and some other things and it was all very positive. This was because they were more of the same. We had used the previous editions so these new ones were even better, it seemed. Also, it was an honour to be chosen etc etc. Not to mention that the CELTA is coursebooks and coursebooks are the CELTA. The same way that the Cambridge exams are. It is all the same system and it works well. Take away a piece and there is a hole.

    From what I learned on my CELTA and have heard from others, we are trained to use books or activities from are very similar to books. This creates an autonomous teacher who can use a class set one EFL coursebooks. That’s good for our churn em out production style. Now, if you start changing books, teachers won’t like what they see because they aren’t used to it. It could be better but they won’t see that.

    This is the same argument as the Hollywood ‘they make crap movies but they make them cos people watch them’ argument. People do go to see crap movies, the same as I eat bad food sometimes. I am quite sure that teachers will keep buying Murphy and students too. I am not a fan and I think it should be replaced. People will complain and they will protest but it has to be done. The same as kids drinking Coca Cola. Companies want profits though so profits and innovation are at odds.

    My lost point, and one I raise a lot, is that a lot of teachers are not as experienced as some of us here. Many do not have the CELTA or even a TEFL. For them, the DOS gives them a book and says ‘here, teach this’. The book is their method, their course, their everything. They will copy everything in that teacher’s book. That school may also have a 70% coursebook rule. I have seen cases where those people have chucked the book or done something else and it is not always pretty. Common sense doe snot always apply. Teen lessons done with infants. C1 stuff taught to A2. Lectures, chats, grammar after grammar. For a heck of a lot of international schools out there, books draw in clients, help ‘teachers’ teach, or maybe I should say backpackers or kids. They also provide a syllabus. It is quite common from what I know that even the DOS might not have the CELTA and so nobody is in a position to design and provide an effective solution without books. This is the real world outside of the British Council inspected UK industry.

    Like

  7. Hi Phil,

    I wish this could have a much wider audience. “The CELTA is coursebooks and coursebooks are the CELTA The same way that the Cambridge exams are. It is all the same system and it works well.” Exactly so. And, as you say, it’s unrealistic to expect any radical change. But maybe, just maybe, our discussion of these issues will lead to change.

    Like

    • Hi Geoff. Great post, discussion and thoughts, as always. You continue to be a very welcome voice of reason in our industry.

      Cambridge exams were the VHS of their day. Oxford ones were Betamax. Cambridge had the power and the quality, logistics etc and the others fell by the way. As did Betamax. One system really made things simpler for us teachers. Anti-competitive? Maybe. Monopoly? Dunno. Then came TOEFL and TOEIC… and they messed things up. We’d have an English school with British teachers and students wanted British English and the term 1 book led nicely up to CAE prep and the books fit in well but suddenly dumping a US English course onto a teacher was trouble, in my opinion. I have the same now. We do British English and then suddenly they want to do TOEIC. It doesn’t work.

      What I have seen, and many disagree with me, is the decreasing use of coursebooks. The last place I worked at that used one and asked students to buy them was in 2010. Very few students could get hold copies and some refused. Schools don’t have budgets now for books, teacher books, CDs etc etc. Now, if they could pick and choose from units and buy a tailored book to download, that would work BUT people would copy. People have always copied. That free review copy? Wahey, free book! Sad but true.

      The rules have changed and demand has changed too. EF and Wall Street both have their own materials. EF used to buy lots of coursebooks. No more. Other schools are similar.

      Books are good but it is just a format for the content. It could be in a magazine or on a screen. The trick, I think, is rebranding and reconstructing all that to meet demands. As they did with apps. Of course, some just turned books into apps and forgot that iPads are different. If you follow the often cited ‘grammar is grammar’ and ‘vocab is vocab’ then the only thing new books bring are topical texts, listenings and some nicer pictures. If so, you could have an Amazon site where you create your own and then select pamphlets, apps, online elearning etc i.e. the format and it is branded with your logo, then everyone should be happy. This bank of content could be updated daily. This is what e360 tried to do.

      Now, back to the TEFL/CELTA system. I had a discussion with a CELTA trainer recently about what I see as the ‘TEFL method’. for me, it doesn’t work and hasn’t since about 2004. People got used to it, it got copied and is now just normal and seen, sometimes, as unacademic. If you look at the lines of teachers rebranding themselves as trainers, skills trainers, coaches, mentors, tutors.., you notice that obviously ‘TEFL teacher’ is no longer pulling in the punters. Should we scrap the CELTA? No. It is very effective. Should we make sure it prepares teachers for a modern TEFL career? Yes. EAP, ESP, EPPLDPP… But I think it is very important that teachers see books as luxuries and are trained to teach as people and not slaves to copies and books. This though is not creating worker bees. It is building thinking, critical and adult teachers who will push and develop and question. Our industry, in my own opinion, has a glass ceiling at 3 years post-CELTA. Not many people seem to stick around after that unless they do the DELTA and get serious or commit to stay at the same position.

      Like

  8. Pingback: To coursebook or not to coursebook? is that really the question? | ROSE BARD – Teaching Journal

  9. Pingback: My Favorite Coursebooks (or: Not All Coursebooks Are the Same) | Anthony Teacher.com

  10. Pingback: Coursebooks: the Thick and the Thin End of the Wedge | Freelance Teacher Self Development

  11. Pingback: Oh heck – not another course book debate post! | hotel3001

  12. Dear Geoff,
    I think you are listing three straw men in your argument. I doubt that any coursebook writer starts with the assumptions you are posing as key arguments against coursebooks.

    You refer to SLA findings that should lead the way on ELT. Your favorite is the construct of interlanguage.

    Questions about interlanguage I have: Any process has a beginning. We call this A. We can assume that language acquisition is a somewhat goal oriented process–we can call the end state B. Thus the process would evolve from A to B in stages as in starting with AAA moving to AAb, to AAB, to AbB, to ABB, to bBB, to BBB. These combinations would describe a person’s interlanguage at any given moment. The claims are now that a) the sequence is fixed, AbB can never precede AAB, b) there is indeed a state AAB, or AbB, etc. that can be identified, and c) these states are necessary states, i.e. if AAb has not happened AAB cannot happen, d) that these states express themselves indifferently to the quality or nature or type of sense input (hence the argument that PPP is ineffective).

    Did I get it right? Did I omit any further claim?

    Regards,

    Tk.

    Like

  13. Hi Thom,

    Coursebooks assume that teachers will use them to organise classroom-based courses by working through them from the start to the end. This assumption implies the 3 assumptions I refer to.

    Yes, you got the interlanguages development argument right.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s