On Teaching Foreign Languages: Linking Theory to Practice

By Marcela T. Ruiz-Funes | Go to book overview
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8

A Dialogue Established: What Comes Next?

This chapter includes a reflection on the following issues: the value of the beliefs and practices of FL teachers as complements to theory, the need to offer prospective FL teachers a realist view of FL education in American schools, and the value of action research in strengthening the collaboration between university and school educators with the purpose to evaluate and improve teacher development. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the latest breakthroughs in FL education including the move towards communicative language teaching, the design and implementation of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1996), the work on articulation, and the efforts towards voicing the knowledge of practicing FL teachers.


BELIEFS AND PRACTICES AS COMPLEMENT TO THEORY

The exploration of the teachers' beliefs and experiences on issues on second language learning, acquisition, and teaching has enlightened what the theories state, and moreover, it has helped complement such theories. In all occasions the teachers' beliefs and experiences have concurred with what researchers have proposed and suggested to be done in the classroom, yet the teachers' voices make such recommendations even more applicable as they are seen through the eyes of the practitioner.

In Chapter 1 (Proficiency) the teachers emphasized the need for authentic and meaningful language use in the classrooms. They insisted on

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