Pdf book by Earl W. Stevick: «Success with Foreign Languages»

Posted By: ksoz

Teachers and learners in second/foreign language teaching and learning have come to welcome Earl Stevick’s publications. What he has to say always bespeaks a lifetime of experience with learners, honestly drawn upon and cogently argued, with illustrations that have an unmistakable ring of truth. His books can be read in many ways and in many moods. Indeed, it is his particular talent to appear naive, surprised by his own data and the result of his own teaching. Such an appearance, however, is deceptive, since always his accounts have a grounding in his own work and a relevance to ours. Like many paintings, they wear their expertise and talent lightly, yet have important messages for those who would explore beyond the surface. All this is especially true in his first book for the Prentice Hall Language Teaching Methodology series. At first glance we are introduced to a group of learners, on a stage as it were. Gradually, with Stevick’s prompting, Carla and her friends tell their stories. each different yet each contributing to a coherent theme. These stories can be read as they stand, as personal accounts. Yet for the learner and for the teacher who sees them as representatives of a broader population, they can usefully be examined in the light of contemporary theories and models. This is exactly what Stevick does in his own commentaries. Notice, though, how he speaks with them and not against them, highlighting what they say and drawing out from their accounts key issues for second language teaching and learning. Here readers with interests and expertise in second language acquisition can decide for themselves which elements from the history of each learner speak to which theories from the experiments of researchers. Matches and mismatches are equally revealing. Reflective learners and reflective teachers need to look again at the highlighted issues and not take any answers for granted, however perceptive Stevick’s comments may be. So the sections on Working with Ideas invite readers to compare their own experiences with those of the gifted learners, each set of observations illuminating the other, and offering plans for action research into learning and into teaching. In his previous books. Stevick has addressed teachers of languages. Now he turns also to learners - and to the learner within each teacher. In so doing, he provides an example - seven living examples, in fact - of how practice can contribute to theory, and how theory can illuminate practice.