There have been several theories, hypotheses and approaches in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) about how people learn a second language. A close study of SLA reveals its connections to several disciplines which include linguistics, sociolinguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and education. As a result, most theories and approaches are derived from one or other field and there is no single overarching theory that has been accepted by language scholars, teachers and researchers. At times, these theories complement each other, at others, they contradict each other. We have come a long way, from the pedantic Grammar Translation Method (GTM), Direct Method, Audio-lingual method, Chomsky’s Universal Grammar (UG) concept, and behaviorist and constructivist approaches, to blended learning, as newer classroom transactions have evolved with advances in technology.
The teacher’s role is to provide learners with as many forms of input as possible and to encourage interactions among speakers. To achieve this, what we should do as teachers of English as a second language is to “disturb a zone of stability and provoke the chaos that results in a zone of creativity (edge of chaos) where small changes can occur, creating significant effects on learning processes” (Menezes, 2013). We can accomplish this with the use of technology, by providing rich inputs and promoting interactions with proficient speakers, and by using different genres or formats (oral, written, visual, audio-visual, digital etc.)
Keeping in mind the increasing use of technology and different pedagogical tools, we have included in our issue, articles dealing with these new approaches/methodologies in SL teaching and learning. Monal Dewle’s paper traces the impact of Google Classroom as a tool for improving the listening skills of learners. Cherry Mathew Philipose and Sheeja Rajagopal also examine the whys and wherefores of adopting Google Classroom, and its practical effectiveness. Moving from the digital to the print medium, Ravindra B Tasildar exploits the potential of newspapers in developing the vocabulary of ESL learners. A. Dinesh explores the effect of CLL and the use of the concept of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) to improve the speaking proficiency of socially disadvantaged learners in Indian regional medium ESL classrooms. Monishita Pande critically examines the tool SETT, as proposed by Walsh, and presents a modified version for the Indian context. Nupur Samuel explores the use of reflective writing as a tool for writing and introspection and goes on to show how this strategy can be used to help students take charge of their learning. Leena Jadhav and Tripti Karekatti use Eckman’s MDH to compare the linguistic structures of English and Marathi and present a case study on the challenges in learning English faced by first year management students, whose first language is Marathi. Kirti Kapur argues in favour of the adoption of specific language activities in a CLIL classroom with the dual purpose of making learners learn content as well as a second language. Cherukuri Kalpana explains the efficacy of using Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), and urges teachers to use it to teach students how to write reports, proposals, etc.
Besides these articles, we have the usual mixed bag of an interview, book reviews and reports on Fortell activities. This time, we have interviewed Pete Sharma, who is a teacher, teacher trainer and consultant to many organizations in the UK.
A very Happy New Year and Happy reading! Let’s usher in 2019 with new readings, innovations, creativities and exciting teaching practices.
Tasneem Shahnaaz & Sabina Pillai
Menezes, Vera (2013). Open Journal of Applied Sciences, Vol 3, no. 7; 404-412. Retrieved from <http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojapps>
Tasneem Shahnaaz is Associate Professor of English, Sri Aurobindo College, University of Delhi
Sabina Pillai is Associate Professor of English, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College (Evening), University of Delhi