Linguistics in Language Teacher Education

By Dogancay-Aktuna, Seran; LaFond, Larry | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Linguistics in Language Teacher Education


Dogancay-Aktuna, Seran, LaFond, Larry, Academic Exchange Quarterly


Abstract

Linguistic theory has been a traditional component in the training of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), but recently the relevance of theoretical training has been questioned by some TESOL teacher educators. In this article, we highlight the problem that the voices of teachers-in-training have often been missing in this debate, and we call upon teacher educators to investigate how the perceptions of theory may change from the time teacher trainees first enter academic programs to the time they become seasoned professionals.

Introduction

What exactly do language teachers, including Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), need to know in order to be able to teach effectively? English grammar? Pedagogical practice? Linguistic theory? Intercultural communication? During the last decade, attempts to define the parameters of language teachers' knowledge base have intensified within the language teacher education community. [1] Some scholars have suggested the need for a broad knowledge base for language teachers. Shulman (1987), for instance, argues that teachers need to acquire content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, curriculum knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, knowledge of learners and their characteristics, knowledge of educational contexts, and knowledge of educational ends, purposes, and values. Yet, Byrnes' (2000) review of disciplinary knowledge in language learning and teaching shows that throughout the history of language education, essentially two academic disciplines have been in the foreground: linguistics and philosophy. Grabe, Stroller, & Tardy (2000), on the other hand, believe that four disciplines should be the foundation for teacher preparation--linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and education--and argue that the demands of teaching require professionals to integrate knowledge in these four disciplines. Freeman and Johnson (1998) have called for a 'reconceptualization' of the knowledge base in language teacher education in such a way that teachers focus somewhat less on theory and more on the activity of teaching itself, also paying more attention to social contexts and pedagogical processes of teaching. In a similar vein, Johnston and Goettsch (2000: 438) maintain that "... it is the teaching that is most important, not the language: that language teaching is first and foremost an educational enterprise, not a linguistic one."

Linguistic Theory in Language Teacher Education

A common thread through much of the recent debate is to call into question the extent of the grounding that language teachers need in theory, especially linguistic theory, as part of their training. [2] This debate arises in a context where the role of linguistic training in language teacher education programs has long been taken for granted. A review of graduate program requirements in TESOL clearly shows the prominent role linguistic study still plays in the education of second/foreign language teachers. Govardhan, Nayar, & Sheorey (1999), for example, surveyed the core courses in TESOL Master of Arts (MA) programs in US universities, basing their analysis on data collected from 194 US institutions as presented in Garshick (1998). They found that most programs mandate linguistic study. A review of Garshick (2002) indicates that this trend continues today.

Most teachers in language education programs are offered elective courses in linguistics as part of their professional education. However, we have observed that in our program many students choose to fill their elective options with methodology courses, while non-required courses dealing with aspects of linguistic theory are less frequently selected. Our conversations with colleagues at other institutions suggest that we are not alone in this observation. The same pattern can also be observed in professional gatherings of language teachers, such as the annual TESOL convention. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Linguistics in Language Teacher Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.