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FLT Methodology as a Science. Methods of Foreign Language Teaching and Its Relations to Other Sciences


Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay. His father was a pro≠fessor at the Bombay school of Art and curator of the Govern≠ment Museum. The boy inherited some of his father's artistic talent and showed a literary interest. He produced his first book Schoolboy Lyrics at the age of sixteen. R. Kipling was educated in an English school but his first working home was India, where from 1882 till 1889 he was engaged in journalistic work for var≠ious periodicals.

Kipling came into English verse with Departmental Ditties and Other Verses (1886). This book of verse was followed by Barrack Room Ballads (1892), The Seven Seas (1896) and The Five Nations (1903). All of them deal with the British in India and glorify the English nation.

Unfortunately, Kipling propagated reactionary ideas in a great number of his works. During the South-African war (Boer war) of 1899-1902 Kipling supported the policy of British expansion. He was a universally recognized "bard" of the British Empire, the voice of imperialism. He supported England's colonial policy and the Eng≠lish rule in the conquered lands. He called upon the white man to do his bit for these countries. At the same time he also described the hardships which the devoted servants of the Empire had to endure for the growth and prosperity of British crown. He showed the feelings of the common man - the man who worked, a soldier and a sailor, an engineer and an administrator. He wrote of the courage, patriotism and honour of these brave people. British imperialism delighted in his philosophy "the right of the strong". His art ex≠pressed what the ruling classes wished to hear. In these works Ki≠pling is not at his best, although some of them contain criticism of the English in the colonies and deep respect for the Indian people. The Indian scene was the source of his first popularity. Born in India and working there for a time he was able to convey the colour and strangeness of the great country.

Yet Kipling has also poems in which the imperialist tendency does not exist. They are devoted to universal human values - man's courage, energy, patience and self-possession, e. g., the poem If.

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; ...If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much, If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more, - you'll be a Man, my son!

Between 1887 and 1899 Kipling travelled around the world, visiting China, Japan, and living in America, where he married an American, Caroline Starr Belestier.

He was a born storyteller, and knew how to keep the story mov≠ing, how to bring it to its culmination and give it point. Beginning with Plain Tales from the Hills (1888) Kipling produced volumes of short stories and novels that included The Light that Failed (1891) and Kim (1901). He also wrote an original story of school life Stalky and Co (1899).

His other works include The Story of the Gadsbys (1888), Sol≠diers Three (1888), Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories (1888), Many Inventions, Captains Courageous (1897).

In his well-known animal stories The Jungle Book (1894) he described how the child Mowgli was brought up by wolves and taught by them and the Black Panther the law of the jungle, and how Mowgli became the master of the beasts. Kipling had seen India as a child, and it was this child's vision that gave his descriptions a unique quality. He knew how to talk to children. His two Jungle Books and Just So Stories (1902) have been translated into dozens of languages and are still read all over the world.

R. Kipling was a poet, a novelist and a short-story writer, ex≠ceedingly popular in the late XIX century. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He was the first writer and the first Englishman to whom this prize was awarded.

In 1936 Kipling was at work on a collection of autobiographical notes which remained unfinished due to his death on January 17. A year after his death these appeared under the title Something of Myself.

Despite his support of the colonial policy of Britain Kipling was a man who was aware of the real world he lived in and at the end of his life he came to hate war.

Rudyard Kipling was one of those writers who are equally at home in prose and in verse. His most attractive qualities as a poet are his excellent rhymes and rhythms, and the music of his verse. He revived the ballad and the folk tale. As Somerset Maugham wrote: "He not only created characters, he created men... Rudyard Kipling was the first to blaze the trail through new-found country, and no one has made it more exciting, and no one has presented it so vivid≠ly and with such a wealth of colour. He had, like every writer, his shortcomings, but he remains, notwithstanding, the best short-sto≠ry writer that England can boast of

FLT Methodology as a Science. Methods of Foreign Language Teaching and Its Relations to Other Sciences


Language education is the teaching and learning of a language. It can include improving a learnerís mastery of her or his native language, but the term is more commonly used with regard to second language acquisition, which means the learning of a foreign or second language and which is the topic of this article. Some scholars differentiate between acquisition and learning.

Methods of foreign language teaching is understood here as a body of scientifically tested theory concerning the teaching of foreign languages in school sand other educational institutions. It covers three main problems:

∑ aims of teaching a foreign language;

∑ content of teaching, i.e. what to teach to attain the aims;

∑ methods and techniques of teaching, i.e. how to teach a foreign language toattain the aims in the most effective way.

Methods of foreign language teaching is closely related to other sciences such as pedagogics, psychology, physiology, linguistics, and some others.

Pedagogics is the science concerned with the teaching and education of the younger generation. Since Methods also deals with the problems of teaching and education, it is most closely related to pedagogics. To study foreign language teaching one must know pedagogics. One branch of pedagogics is called didactics. Didactics studies general ways of teaching in schools. Methods, as compared to didactics, studies the specific ways of teaching a definite subject. Thus, it may be considered special didactics. In the foreign language teaching, as well as in the teaching of mathematics, history, and other subjects taught in schools, general principles of didactics are applied and, in their turn, influence and enrich didactics. For example, the so-called ―principle of visualization was first introduced in teaching foreign languages. Now it has become one of the fundamental principles of didactics and is used in teaching all school subjects without exception. Programmed instruction was first applied to teaching mathematics. Now through didactics it is used in teaching many subjects, including foreign languages. Teaching a foreign language means first and foremost the formation and development of pupilsí habits and skills in hearing, speaking, reading, and writing.

We cannot expect to develop such habits and skills of our pupils effectively if we do not know and take into account the psycho1ogy of habits and skills, the ways of forming them, the influence of formerly acquired habits on the formation of new ones, and many other necessary factors that psychology can supply us with. At present we have much material in the field of psychology which can be applied to teaching a foreign language. For example, N. I. Zhinkin, a prominent Soviet psychologist in his investigation of the mechanisms of speech came to the conclusion that words and rules of combining them are most probably dormant in the kinetic center of the brain. When the ear receives a signal it reaches the brain, its hearing center and then passes to the kinetic center. Thus, if a teacher wants his pupils to speak English he must use all the opportunities he has to make them hear and speak it. Furthermore, to master a second language is to acquire another code, another way of receiving and transmitting information. To create this new code in the most effective way one must take into consideration certain psychological factors.

Effective learning of a foreign language depends to a great extent on the pupilsí memory. That is why a teacher must know how he can help his pupils to successfully memorize and retain in memory the language material they learn. Here again psychological investigations are significant. For example, the psychologist P.K. Zinchenko proved that in learning a subject both voluntary and involuntary memory is of great importance. In his investigation of involuntary memory P.K. Zinchenko came to the conclusion that this memory is retentive. Consequently, in teaching a foreign language we should create favourable conditions for involuntary memorizing.

P K. Zinchenko showed that involuntary memorizing is possible only when pupilsí attention is concentrated not on fixing the material in their memory through numerous repetitions, but on solving some mental problems which deal with this material.

Methods of foreign language teaching has a definite relation to physiology of the higher nervous system. Pavlovís theories of ―conditioned reflexes‖, of the ―second signalling system‖ and of ―dynamic stereotype‖ are the examples. Each of these interrelated theories bears a direct relation to the teaching of a foreign language. According to Pavlovís habits are conditioned reflexes, and a conditioned reflex is an action performed automatically in response to a definite stimulus as a result of previous frequent repetitions of the same action. If we thoroughly study the theory of conditioned reflexes we shall see that it explains and confirms the necessity for frequent repetitions and revision of material pupils study as one of the means of inculcating habits. Pavlov showed that manís higher nervous activities - speaking and thinking - are the functions of a special system of organic structures within the nervous system. This system is developed only in man. It enables the brain to respond to inner stimuli as it responds to outer stimuli or signals perceived through the sense organs. Pavlov named this the second signalling system. Consequently one of the forms of human behaviour is language behaviour, i.e., speech response to different communication situations. Therefore in teaching a foreign language we must bear in mind that pupils should acquire the language they study as a behaviour, as something that helps people to communicate with each other in various real situations of intercourse. Hence a foreign language should be taught through such situations. Pavlov's theory of ―dynamic stereotype‖ also furnishes the physiological base for many important principles of language teaching, e.g., for the topical vocabulary arrangement.

Methods of foreign language teaching is most closely related to linguistics, since linguistics deals with the problems which are of paramount importance to Methods, with language and thinking, grammar and vocabulary, the relationship between grammar and vocabulary, and many others. Methods successfully uses, for example, the results of linguistic investigation in the selection and arrangement of language material for teaching. It is known that structural linguistics has had a great impact on language teaching. Teaching materials have been prepared by linguists and methodologists of the structural school. Many prominent linguists have not only developed the theory of linguistics, but tried to apply it to language teaching.

Methods of foreign language teaching like any other science, has definite ways of investigating the problems which may arise. They are:

∑ a critical study of the ways foreign languages were taught in our country and abroad;

∑ a thorough study and summing up of the experience of' the best foreign language teachers in different types of schools;

∑ experimenting with the aim of confirming or refuting the working hypotheses that may arise during investigation. Experimenting becomes more and more popular with methodologists. In experimenting methodologists have to deal with different data, that is why in arranging research work they use mathematics, statistics, and probability theory to interpret experimental results.

In recent years there has been a great increase of interest in Methods since foreign language teaching has many attractions as an area for research. A great deal of useful research work has been carried out. New ideas and new data produced as the result of research are usually developed into new teaching materials and teaching techniques. It should be said that we need research activities of the following types: descriptive research which deals with ―what to teach‖; experimental and instrumental research dealing with ―how to teach‖. More research is now needed which compares different combination of devices, various teaching aids, etc.



Lecture 2

Date: 2014-12-22; view: 11208

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