SLA error correction

In best EFL progress test style, change at least one word in the often seen sentence below to make it less ridiculous:

“Our teaching methodology is in line with current SLA theory”

Took me a while too, in fact I must’ve seen this dubious statement tens of times in various forms until I suddenly saw through it (that’s what being temporarily clear headed due to being on holiday does for you). For me, the main word that is supposed to make it better but in fact makes it laughable is “current”, i.e. “of the moment”. Surely “future” or “final” would be better?? Wasn’t lying babies on their bellies the current theory of avoiding cot death not so long ago? And do we really think that something matching the current theory of healthy eating is something we should all rush to follow for a guaranteed 30 years added to our lives, or did we notice that common sense did better than 3000 years of current theories and doubt whether much has changed?

The other objection that springs to mind is: Which current SLA theory is it in line with? Perhaps while I wasn’t looking all linguistic theorists dropped all their silly feuds and prickly professional pride, became the first fully rational human beings ever (perhaps due to being the offspring of Spock- Mr, not Dr) and agreed with each other??

Let’s see what Rod Ellis has to say about that:

“The number of theories has not noticeably reduced… Rather, the theoretical plenitude has continued and has even further expanded… Old theories have by and large continued to attract attention (albeit in modified form) while new have appeared. The field of SLA is characterized by marked controversy about both what the facts of L2 acquisition are and also how to explain those facts”

As I thought.

In summary: I studied with scientists. I know lots of scientists. Lots of scientists are friends of mine. TEFLers, you are no scientists, (however much Action Research you do).

Then again, neither was Picasso.

*from pg xxii of the brand spanking new 2nd edition of The Study of Second Language Aquisition, straight to my sticky little hands for free due to the power of book reviewing- see a couple of posts below for how to get yours

This entry was posted in Linguistics, applied linguistics and SLA, Rod Ellis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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