On Teaching Foreign Languages: Linking Theory to Practice

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

2

Collaborating through Action Research

WHY ACTION RESEARCH?

S. N. Oja and G. J. Pine (1983), L. Street (1986), D. Goswami and P. R. Stillman (1987), and A. Lieberman (1986), among others, have provided ample evidence of the positive personal and professional effects that engaging in action research has on the practitioner. Through action research teachers acquire the knowledge and develop skills in research methods and applications that help them become more aware of the options and possibilities for change while they become more critical and reflective about their own practices: “teachers engaging in action research attend more carefully to their methods, their perception and understandings, and their whole approach to the teaching process” (ECU Research Symposium, 1998, p. 1). This type of research leads teachers to reevaluate current theories and challenges what is known about teaching, learning, and schooling.

Action research is important because, as has been said: “Teachers often leave a mark on their students, but they seldom leave a mark on their profession” (Wolfe, 1989), and “through action research teachers will do both” (ECU Research Symposium, 1998, p. 1). Teachers, thus, become active constructors of knowledge rather than passive consumers of it:

When teachers become agents of inquiry, the locus of knowledge about teaching shifts from sources external to the classroom (e.g., researchers, textbook publishers, administrators) to sources of practical experience (i.e., teachers). This shift enhances the professional status of teaching because teachers, through this knowledge-

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On Teaching Foreign Languages: Linking Theory to Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Foreign Language Teacher Education: Reflecting on Current Practices 1
  • 2 - Collaborating Through Action Research 5
  • 3 - Proficiency is the Organizing Principle 13
  • 4 - Why Use the Target Language in Class? 19
  • 5 - Making Language Learning Meaningful 29
  • 6 - Motivation and Discipline in the Language Classroom 35
  • 7 - Putting It into Practice 43
  • 8 - A Dialogue Established: What Comes Next? 51
  • Appendix A 57
  • Appendix B 59
  • Appendix C 61
  • Appendix D 65
  • Notes 163
  • Bibliography 167
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 177
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