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The Firewall in the Mind (Slide 9) Way back when: The door is yellow!

Apart from this one act of rebellion, inauthentic creation of unnatural dialog was favored because dialogs could be constructed heavily weighted toward the linguistic forms being taught. This approach was rife with avoidance of authentic and natural speech acts in the materials creation processes (didn't want to confuse the learners with realia). The needs of students to genuinely communicate would have been given short shrift in a classroom where an inexperienced teacher dogmatically applied these methods. The result was that language learning was not necessarily fun. I don't mean it couldn't be fun -- it was as fun as it's practitioners could make it! But practitioners didn't have the means at their disposal to bring the language to real life, and so in the hands of the most assiduous practitioners of these methods, students were having suppressed in them the instinct to express themselves, and teachers could all too easily be turned into automatons.

Cassette tape played at this juncture, not digitized

I should point out that this teacher did not believe in the validity of what he was doing. He was doing it because he was paid to do it, and he was getting paid to do it in this way. This was the way his clients expected him to teach. They had constructed a wall in their minds that, in their minds, they had to get over to get to the other side where everyone could speak the language. And vestiges of that wall are with us today.

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Last updated: May 23, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0