Next CLLEAR seminar: Theoretical linguistics and the scientific method in the language classroom

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 4pm in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Theoretical linguistics and the scientific method in the language classroom” and will be delivered by Julio Villa-García from the University of Manchester. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
In this talk, I pursue the view defended in recent work (Bosque 2018, i.a.) that the way we teach language has traditionally been based on labelling (“this is a noun”; “this is a predicate…”), rather than on actual analysis. This contrasts starkly with what happens in scientific disciplines, where students look at evidence, glean generalisations, formulate hypotheses/theories and then make predictions about what will happen. I contend that such a pattern-enchanted approach can be beneficial in the language classroom when it comes to the teaching of grammar, as in addition to finding generalisations about how the grammatical system works, students also develop a number of lifelong transferable skills.

In the second part of the talk, I argue that the findings of theoretical research can aid language teaching, since the quality of the input that we expose our learners to can improve significantly. This is because research on theoretical linguistics has come up with more precise generalisations than those typically found in pedagogical grammars (Rothman 2010, i.a.). In fact, there is no need for teachers or students to be trained in linguistics (i.e., there is no real need to overload students with metalanguage or with too many technicalities). To this end, I provide a number of practical examples suggesting that the gap between theoretical research and pedagogical practice in the language classroom can actually be bridged.