Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Interesting TEFL Quotes

One thing that is good about taking the TEFL course is that I get an inside view of what preparation is given and what are the foci of such preparation. I hope to get a good idea of TEFL's view of itself, pedagogically, politically, socially, and ideologically. I know that they likely do their best to extract anything that is obviously colored with a bias, but it's there. The following quotes don't paint a complete picture, but offer pieces to the ideological puzzle that is Check it.

"Speaking and writing are termed productive because these skills require active participation on the part of the student such as writing a paragraph or answering a question."

My original inference was that reading was passive. Here's their attempt to clean this up:

"Listening and reading are receptive skills, but that does not mean they are passive. An EFL student who is listening to you, another student, a song, or a listening activity is probably participating in a very active manner to develop his/her listening skills as much as possible. And certainly, if a student finds a reading passage to be interesting, his/her mind is fully engaged in trying to understand the reading."
So, they've cleaned it up...or have they? In fact, what they've said is that the brain, on a physiological level, and a cognitive level, is active. That is to say that human beings, especially those dealing with a foreign language, have to use their brains to understand the text they're reading or the language they're listening to. However, what they in no way mention is the act of meaning creation as an activity in which the student is involved. They make no mention of hte flitering that the message contained within the text undergoes in its spacially short journey from the page in a book to the brain a mere two feet away.

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