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Connecting with teachers: the case for language teaching research in the social sciences

Connecting with teachers: the case for language teaching research in the social sciences
Connecting with teachers: the case for language teaching research in the social sciences
Paul Stapleton’s assessment of the current state of language teaching research (LTR) raises important issues. However, his proposal that social science research approaches in ELT have failed, and that that they should be replaced by approaches from the biological sciences, is unlikely to connect with the knowledge-building needs of ELT professionals. In this Counterpoint article, I first identify some areas where Stapleton’s analysis seems valid. Second, I examine the alignment of claims and evidence set out by Stapleton, illustrating misunderstandings and misrepresentations in his core arguments. Third, I attempt to show that despite a problematic theory–practice relationship over many decades, LTR has made a contribution to professional practice. Finally, I suggest areas for further research in ELT that illustrate the need to embed our activity even more firmly in the social sciences, and continue to be wary of the allure of an easy solution from neuroscience.
0951-0893
442-450
Kiely, R.
2321c0cb-faf6-41e2-b044-2c3933e93d6e
Kiely, R.
2321c0cb-faf6-41e2-b044-2c3933e93d6e

Kiely, R. (2014) Connecting with teachers: the case for language teaching research in the social sciences. ELT Journal, 68 (4), 442-450. (doi:10.1093/elt/ccu041).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Paul Stapleton’s assessment of the current state of language teaching research (LTR) raises important issues. However, his proposal that social science research approaches in ELT have failed, and that that they should be replaced by approaches from the biological sciences, is unlikely to connect with the knowledge-building needs of ELT professionals. In this Counterpoint article, I first identify some areas where Stapleton’s analysis seems valid. Second, I examine the alignment of claims and evidence set out by Stapleton, illustrating misunderstandings and misrepresentations in his core arguments. Third, I attempt to show that despite a problematic theory–practice relationship over many decades, LTR has made a contribution to professional practice. Finally, I suggest areas for further research in ELT that illustrate the need to embed our activity even more firmly in the social sciences, and continue to be wary of the allure of an easy solution from neuroscience.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 3 September 2014
Published date: October 2014
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368988
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368988
ISSN: 0951-0893
PURE UUID: 885443af-b429-41a1-8e44-89f7660fbe75

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Date deposited: 15 Sep 2014 15:44
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 21:44

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Author: R. Kiely

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