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From Applying
   Theory to
  Theorising
   Practice
 Achilleas Kostoulas
  Epirus Institute of
     Technology
Presentation Outline
                      Applying Theory
        What it is                         Problems


         ...
Applied
Science                  Linguistics
          Pedagogy



                     Literature




               Prac...
What is wrong with Applied Science?
• Professional development and practice are
  physically and temporally disconnected.
...
Theorising   theory
Practice
In brief…


            Applying        Theorising
             Theory          practice
                  Theory   theory...
Communicative




                                              WHY?
                       Transmissive                  ...
Content
What should be taught in an ELT class?


  “Another preposterous disadvantage of
  the book is the heroes’ pronunc...
Content
Building a theory         Is a native-like accent a
                          requisite for communicative
        ...
Media
How can I use the tools at my disposal?


  “Learners cannot survey the grammar
  that they are taught because there...
Media
Building a theory             How can these media be used
                              to develop communicative
   ...
Ends
Why are students made to learn English?




                                          “Whoever dreamt up
            ...
Ends
Building a theory             Is communicative
                              competence a useful goal?
              ...
We build theory by questioning
 practice…
                                                       Is it useful to teach ‘Wo...
Questioning all aspects of practice

Who benefits from teaching English the way we do?



     Are there aspects of our pr...
Thank you for
 your attention!
achilleas@kostoulas.com
Questions?
achilleas@kostoulas.com
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From Applying Theory to Theorising Practice

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Talk delivered at the 'Empowering Language Teaching and Learning' professional development day, organised by the Panhellenic Association of State School Teachers of English. Athens: October 2011.

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From Applying Theory to Theorising Practice

  1. 1. From Applying Theory to Theorising Practice Achilleas Kostoulas Epirus Institute of Technology
  2. 2. Presentation Outline Applying Theory What it is Problems Theorising practice Inverting Applied Science A conceptual framework Using the conceptual framework What? How? Why?
  3. 3. Applied Science Linguistics Pedagogy Literature Practice
  4. 4. What is wrong with Applied Science? • Professional development and practice are physically and temporally disconnected. • Scholarship is perceived as irrelevant to practice. • Teachers are relegated to lower status compared to ‘expert’ policy-makers.
  5. 5. Theorising theory Practice
  6. 6. In brief… Applying Theorising Theory practice Theory theory General Personal Abstract Situated Top-down Bottom-up
  7. 7. Communicative WHY? Transmissive Critical cf. Kostoulas, A. 2011. From local pedagogy and global influences to eclectic practice. Paper presented at the British Association of Applied Linguistics Language Learning and Teaching SIG conference, hosted by Aston University. Birmingham: July 2011
  8. 8. Content What should be taught in an ELT class? “Another preposterous disadvantage of the book is the heroes’ pronunciation in most texts” “The listening tasks are another bane of the book. The heroes’ accent is extremely bad…” “…even more unacceptable pronunciation of the texts” [sic]
  9. 9. Content Building a theory Is a native-like accent a requisite for communicative competence? Do these books help Is it useful to expose learners students to develop a to emerging varieties (e.g. native-like accent? ‘World Englishes’, ELF?)
  10. 10. Media How can I use the tools at my disposal? “Learners cannot survey the grammar that they are taught because there’s no substitution table aside the texts.” “Most passages are meaningless, uninspired, stale and therefore create no joy to our students.” “the passages are hard to understand and technical, and there is no song, no game, nothing at all to ‘break’ the insufferable boredom they generate”
  11. 11. Media Building a theory How can these media be used to develop communicative competence? Do these media conform Who makes the choice of to my expectations, as a media to be used? How is language teaching expert? this choice made?
  12. 12. Ends Why are students made to learn English? “Whoever dreamt up the state certificate using these books, is seriously deluded!”
  13. 13. Ends Building a theory Is communicative competence a useful goal? Does my teaching promote this? Is examination Is intercultural competence competence a useful goal? a useful goal? In what ways How does my teaching can my teaching promote promote this? this?
  14. 14. We build theory by questioning practice… Is it useful to teach ‘World Is examination competence a useful goal? How Englishes’ and ELF? does my teaching promote this? Is a native-like accent important? Does my coursebook conform to my expectations, as an language teaching expert? Who decides what should be taught? How is this choice made? Is communicative competence a useful goal? Does my teaching promote this? Do these books help students to develop a How can these media be used to native-like accent? develop communicative competence? Is intercultural competence a useful goal? In what ways can my teaching promote this?
  15. 15. Questioning all aspects of practice Who benefits from teaching English the way we do? Are there aspects of our practice that serve our interests more than those of our learners? What are the implications of using the same coursebook across the country? Why was this coursebook designed in the way it was?
  16. 16. Thank you for your attention! achilleas@kostoulas.com
  17. 17. Questions? achilleas@kostoulas.com

Talk delivered at the 'Empowering Language Teaching and Learning' professional development day, organised by the Panhellenic Association of State School Teachers of English. Athens: October 2011.

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