Methodological Eclecticism in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

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Methodological Eclecticism in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

"Eclectic", remarks Atkinson (1988, p. 42), "is one of the buzz words in TEFL at present, in part due to the realization that for the foreseeable future good language teaching is likely to continue to be based more on common sense, insights drawn from classroom experience, informed discussion among teachers, etc., than on any monolithic model of second language acquisition or all-embracing theory of learning . . . ". One problem with this position is that your "common sense" and your "insights" are apt to be different from mine. Another is that "discussion among teachers", though valuable, is often a futile exercise in the blind leading the blind. No one with some
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Talk about monolithism!
Two curricula and methodologies are essentially teacher-centered or pre-determined curriculum-centered, as opposed to being learner-centered. They are developed on the basis of a linear and group-addressed program, rather than on a semi-linear or even random program derived from individual learners' feedback. They illustrate the traditional top-dictated organization structure of pre-democratic societies, business management, and state education. Yet, "language is a social as well as an individual phenomenon . . . It mirrors the culture . . . is culturally acquired" (Finocchiaro & Bonomo 1973, p. 1).
Three, in practice, student's overt behaviors are observed and measured, whereas covert behaviors are ignored or lightly passed over or deplored . . . when perceived or intimated by those whose job it is to help modify behavior. To behaviorism, overt behavior is the very subject-matter of psychology, precisely because one can observe it, measure it, and shape it. It is an atomistic theory for which reflexes and the conditioned reflex are the basic units. The trouble is that the human being, though composed of atoms, is a complex system all parts of which are dynamically interrelated. "Atomism is in essence an analytical doctrine. It regards observable forms in nature not as intrinsic…