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A Look Back on a Must-Read Classic

  فایلهای مرتبط
A Look Back on a Must-Read Classic

Psychology for Language Teacher: A Social Constructivist Approach

by M. Williams ad R. L. Burden  (1997)

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

 

When Applied Linguistics and Educational Psychology successfully merge, the feat of writing the current book is not unexpected. Educational Psychology undoubtedly has implications for those involved in educational process especially language teachers. The book is not just the result of a theory-to-practice approach of the authors to the field, but the contributions of teachers from different contexts whose practice-oriented minds have had a lion share in the creation of such a great work. The progression has a lot to do with the title of the book; the process of constructing and reconstructing meaning, because new experiences lend a new perspective to language teaching and account for different methodologies teachers might utilize in their profession. Hence, teachers’ conceptions of learning process and the variables having effects on the very process are of crucial significance to inform and underpin language teachers’ teaching practice both in the classroom context and even out  of the classroom milieu. Besides, language teachers, to make proper decisions in their teaching practice, are to be conscious about their learning and teaching beliefs.

 

The book serves as an introduction to some pivotal issues in psychology offering insights into how language learners learn and transfer such an understanding to their classroom practice. The concepts introduced in the chapters are presented with examples. The book aims to direct teachers to decide in accordance with the context in which they are offering language courses. It is built on the belief that teachers construct their own version of reality and apply it to their immediate contexts, here classrooms. With regard to the cognitive theories, the book inevitably takes a constructivist approach where individuals try to construct their own version of reality as per their experience. Moreover, it delineates that learning needs a proper context and never happens in a ‘vacuum’! Accordingly, there should be a framework within which the psychological concepts can aptly function; hence, Social Interactionism comes into play, according to which the concept of ‘self’ cannot be well developed unless appropriate interactions with significant others including parents, siblings, peers, and teachers are established. Besides, motivation is explicated and attempts are made to explain why some learners are more/less motivated to learn than others and theories related to types of motivation are put forward. The current book provides teachers with different issues in educational psychology helping them to cope with learners’ issues in their daily teaching practice. It also tries to give language teachers an upper hand in analyzing situations where they are offering the courses, hence, better decisions are expected.

 

The book starts with an introduction to the concept of Educational Psychology and how the discipline has evolved from positivism and cognitivism. Then, such schools of thought as Humanism and Social Interactionism are explored and the bridge between them and Social Constructivist model is established and the extent of relationship between such ideas and teaching/learning a foreign language are discussed. The book also identifies four elemental dimensions of the teaching/learning process, namely teachers, learners, tasks, and contexts which act interactively in a dynamic way. What language teachers bring to the teaching/learning process and what teachers do to promote learning are among the issues which are tapped, too. The role of the learners and what they bring to the teaching/learning contexts and how they deal with the process of learning are among the other key issues discussed in other chapters. The status of tasks and the issue of the role of context in which learning takes place bring the book to the final stage where all ideas are pulled together and the interplay between them is assessed.

 

As the title of the book reveals, it aims to serve language teachers at different levels. It can be used by language teachers from various contexts and cultural/social backgrounds. Teacher trainers are also among the beneficiaries of the book and can assist would-be language teachers with the pitfalls the reason of which mostly lies with learners’ psychological aspects. The book also helps the readers to know how the relationship between teachers and learners should be formed, and, how they can come up with their own versions of educational factors.

 

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کلیدواژه (keyword): رشد آموزش زبان های خارجی، معرفی کتاب، Book and Magazine Review
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