On Teaching Foreign Languages: Linking Theory to Practice

By Marcela T. Ruiz-Funes | Go to book overview
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Preface

This book addresses a number of salient issues related to foreign language (FL) teaching, learning, and acquisition. Its ultimate goal is to help prospective FL teachers understand the theories and practices in FL education while making such connection more accessible. The selection of topics has been made considering primarily their relevance in the learning-acquisition process of second language (L2) learners and the challenge they pose to beginning FL teachers and interns (student-teachers). This book is the result of a year-long research project conducted during 1999-2000 at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, in collaboration with four experienced FL high school teachers from the same region. This project was funded by the Schools' Partnership Grant and the BellSouth Foundation.

The main contribution of this book to the FL profession is the integration of the theoretical and practical planes. Both the knowledge of researchers and the voices of experienced FL teachers are brought together. This link aims at helping ease the tension that beginning teachers and interns experience when they move from the FL methods course into the real FL classroom. This connection, in turn, will provide FL interns with a realistic view of FL education.

Four experienced FL teachers from eastern North Carolina participated in this project and discussed their beliefs and experiences in relation to the following theoretical issues: the proficiency movement, the role of input, teaching language in context, class participation, motivation, and discipline. Both a review of the theories and an analysis of the teachers' beliefs are included.

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