Mitchell, Rosamond and Lee, Jenny Hye-Won
Sameness and difference in classroom learning cultures: interpretations of communicative pedagogy in the UK and Korea
Language Teaching Research, 7, (1), . (doi:10.1191/1362168803lr114oa).
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This paper is a contribution to the growing sociolinguistic literature on classroom foreign/second language learning and teaching (Duff 1995; Willett, 1995; Bailey and Nunan, 1996; Bremer et al., 1996; Coleman, 1996; Toohey, 1998; Heller, 1999; Rampton, 1999). We report two case studies of mainstream beginner-level FL instruction, using observational and interview data gathered in schools in Seoul, Korea, and in Southern England. In both cases, the public rationales offered for foreign language learning include a mix of 'internationalist' and 'instrumental' values (MoE, 1995; DES, 1991; DfEE/QCA, 1999). The dominant language-teaching ideologies to which the teachers in the different locations declare allegiance are also similar, involving commitment to various principles of the 'communicative approach' to language teaching. (In both settings, for example, the speaking skill is given priority, there is use of group work, etc.) Through analysis of selected lesson excerpts we identify similarities and differences in the classroom interpretations of communicative methodology, and in particular the opportunities available for individual students to engage in L2 interaction. We examine how the identity of the 'good language learner' is constructed in the different settings, for example, through differing teacher emphases on individual vs. collective responsibility for learning. Differences between the two classrooms are linked to broader features of the educational setting, but we show that these differences do not reflect common stereotypes about Anglo and Asian teaching styles in any simple way.
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