Concept Learner Centered Curriculum in TESOL Term Paper

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Learner-centered curriculum' in TESOL

The most important learning processes in any school anywhere in the world involve the use of several different means of communication. The communication methods may be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal communication involves the use of oral and written symbols that can communicate a message to the student, and non-verbal involves the use of, primarily, among other means, body language. Without communication there can be no means of telling the other person what one person wants or needs, and communication is used between teachers and parents, between groups, between the parents and the community, and also for the formation of interpersonal relationships and as the medium of instruction in a school. Any sort of behavioral problems in school would be dealt with by effective means of communication, and it can be stated that without communication there would be no education.

However, the culture or the background of the individual has a lasting impact on how that person communicates, and this is the reason why the teacher who is more aware of the varied cultural backgrounds of her students will be bale to communicate better with them and also understand them with respect to their cultural backdrop. When a teacher is not aware of or will not try to learn of the different cultures of the students, then the students will definitely find themselves in an awkward position, because the style and type of communication of these children would be very different to that of the others in the school, and when the teacher recognizes this and deals with it without prejudice, then the education of these children would be easier and more efficient. In America, for example, the cultural diversity of the students in a single classroom is amazing; the children come from different backgrounds and are of several different colors. (Cross Cultural Communication: An Essential Dimension of Effective Education)

Statistics reveal that by the end of the year 2010, 'non-whites' will make up more than one third of the entire population of the United States of America, and more than 50% of these people would belong to the school going age of children. This diversity has to be reckoned with and dealt with by the teachers in schools; they would have to acknowledge the elements and traits of the different cultures that the children come from and educate themselves on these cultures to a sufficient extent so that they could deal with such children with innate understanding and compassion. It is a sad but true fact that most schools in America have neglected these cross cultural communication issues and the related problems of school going children, and this has therefore inevitably caused several problems for these children, like for example, as demonstrated by the school going population of African-American males in many schools across America who undergo a lot of trauma in school because of their different cultural background. (Cross Cultural Communication: An Essential Dimension of Effective Education)

Statistics reveal that, in the year 1989, less than 11% of African males attended more than four years of college and finished their education successfully; the rest of these children dropped out of school even before finishing high school, while in most other schools, African-American males were sent on to special education classes and therefore subjected to unnecessarily strict disciplinary actions on account of their being from a low social economic status and also of their different means of communication and the different language that they use for communication. The student's communication methods therefore conflict with the norms of the school, and this leads to misbehavior on the part of these children, and misunderstandings on the part of the school, wherein they are termed as slow learners and violent individuals who need to be disciplined strictly at all times. It is therefore a must that teachers take matters into their own capable hands and try to learn about the diverse cultures of the people of America, so that they can deal with their students in the manner that they deserve to be treated. Education on culture can only be acquired by a first hand experience of the various cultures, rather than by reading about them, and many teachers today are trying their best to learn and assimilate such knowledge that would serve to benefit their young students in school. (Cross Cultural Communication: An Essential Dimension of Effective Education)

The problem in teaching students who are from diverse cultural backgrounds is the ways and means in which to bridge the gap between 'language teaching' and the teaching of grammar. Grammar as such is an innate part of any language, and is composed of the three elements of 'phonetics', that is the production of the various sounds associated with the language, 'phonology' that is the way in which several sounds are combined together to make sense, 'morphology', that is the way in which different elements are combined to make words, 'syntax' or the making of sentences with words, and 'semantics' or the meanings of these sentences. These are all modern terms created by the linguist of today, but it is true that grammar in fact meant 'writing' in the old days. (The Role of Grammar in Communicative Language Teaching)

Most teachers of language today know that there can be no language without grammar, and the communicative languages teacher must be aware of the important part that semantics meaning plays in the language as such, especially as communicative language teaching has been in existence for a great many years before today. It is a fact that English, as a 'world language' has not been in existence for many years; in fact, even at the beginning of the twentieth century, most linguists were of the opinion that no language could ever replace the loss of the world language of the time, Latin, since it was the official language of culture and of wide communication known at the time. It was considered to be of vital importance for teachers of language to be well versed in Latin, and it was for this purpose that an entirely new curriculum was created for the student and the teacher: the 'studia humantitis', which was the study of humanities.

According to this curriculum, students would acquire the information needed to develop their proficiency in the language, while at the same time achieving personal growth and motivation. The need to acquire proficiency in Latin as a spoken as well as a written language was purported by the Latin scholar Guarino da Verona (1374-1460) so that the student may be able to not only understand the ancient literature that was written primarily in Latin, but also use it as a living language, with more emphasis on meaning rather than on the form of the language, however difficult it proved to be initially. He emphasized the idea of continued progress and perseverance so that the language could become a part of the daily life of the student. Ignatius (1491-1556) also believed that language skills could only be acquired through first hand exposure to the literature written in Latin, and also by using it as a living language and speaking it all the time. (The Role of Grammar in Communicative Language Teaching)

Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1670) advocated the invention of a new language that would replace the sometimes difficult to comprehend Latin so that a wider reach among scholars would be possible. He also argued that the form of the language must come first and then the matter so that the knowledge of facts and the power to express these learned facts would go hand in hand, and this would lead to better and more effective means of communication and also better language teaching. This was to ensure that a beginner in any language would not become totally confused with the various intricate and sometimes unintelligible rules of grammar, and the best way in which a person could learn a new language would be by actually going to the place where that particular language was being spoken as a local dialect, and then read as well as write in that new language. (The Role of Grammar in Communicative Language Teaching)

What is 'Communicative Language Teaching'? This is a means of teaching a language whereby the emphasis is on the learner and the ways and means in which he would use that particular language to express himself and also communicate effectively in real-life situations where the language would be actually used. In a traditional teaching method of language, the teacher is the person who is in charge of the entire educational process and takes control over all the proceedings, whereas in the communicative language teaching method, the teacher takes on a secondary role, and the learners the primary, in other words, the learner is allowed to be in charge of his own learning processes and the methods in which this happens.

In both the methods the teacher is still responsible for creating exercises and other aids for the process of…

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