Interactive Teaching

Dear readers, today I would like sharing about what teacher should do in order their lesson keep interesting. If you are a language teacher, there comes a point at which you have to make up your mind about what your language teaching is geared to do. It seems to be assumed nowadays that the teaching of foreign languages is geared to being able to interact linguistically with a variety of foreigners, mostly anonymous. Some of these interactions are ‘on the spot’: some are ‘delayed’. If you are English, you have to be taught how to order (‘on the spot’) a ham sandwich in a French cafe, or how to negotiate a commercial contract (possibly ‘delayed’) with a French company, or how to read the novels of Balzac (‘delayed’ indefi nitely), or how to follow a film (‘on the spot’) by the latest French film director. Or some miscellaneous combination of those.
It is far from clear that any metalinguistic analysis of French, or even of particular dialects or other varieties of French, will help anyone to achieve success in these various objectives. I am nevertheless struck by the fact that precisely such a metalinguistic emphasis in language teaching has been maintained for centuries. It is a striking paradox that the metalanguage was never designed for our modern priorities; but we continue to use its terminology (or some historical derivatives thereof) in our present-day discussions. And this is undoubtedly one source of current confusions. All the more reason for an intelligent language teacher to take seriously the question of whether languages exist.

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