A New Approach Model: Claims of Integrity

A New Approach Model: Claims of Integrity

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8220-5.ch003
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The development of a new type of approach model of language learning is assumed to be based on the reference points establishing it conceptually. The general concept of approach is verified in terms of the conventional categories of domain, set, set element (subset), set extension, set intension, and hierarchy. A new type of approach to language learning proposed in the chapter is assumed to be conceptually established in the framework of a theoretical model construed as a functional domain comprising a hierarchical set of elements, approach being the top member but method and technique forming subset elements. The hierarchical approach set has both extensional and intensional projections, which are mapped onto the actual learning and teaching procedure and transformed into external and internal language acquisition segments, correspondingly. Thought-outward target language speech interrelations are thus represented. This is the way the functional correlation between theoretical grounds of the approach conception and curriculum procedure is established. The function characterizing approach dimensions is a multifold dichotomized formation whose duality is being made up of 1) the internal-external opposition, 2) source-target language opposition, 3) verbal dissimilarity opposition. The function in question gets delineated at the intersection of the dichotomies and designated as predication. Predication is an invariant unit of instruction surfaced in the form of the approach radix. The approach under consideration acquires the same contingent name. The main issues considered include the justification of the descriptive approach terminology, the functional modeling of approach, source-target language relationship in approach modeling, types of speech in approach modeling, and the invariant approach to language learning: introductory statements.
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The present Chapter is based on the assumption that the idea of approach to language learning can have definite reference points that establish it conceptually. Here the nature of approach is to be considered in the context of justification. The purpose is to confirm that the previous analytical operations make the results of thought justifiable and feasible in terms of modeling a particular trend. In order to achieve the aim, the approach dimensions considered in Chapter 2 are to be evaluated by their coordination with the acknowledged definitions of the categories involved in the approach conception development. The concept of approach has been designated in combination with the conventional terms of method and technique functioning in the same domain. Such procedure is permissible because actually we do not use the isolated term ‘approach’ but explicate its relevance to practical purposes by reference to the more concrete instruments of language education. The domain the concepts of approach, method and technique function in is conditionally named as ‘procurement domain’ in order to emphasize the idea of language proficiency achievement as its main characteristic.

For the concept of approach to be virtually approachable and practicable, it is to be properly defined and specified in the first place. For this purpose a special research technology has been worked out which allows approach properties to be set-theoretically construed from the relations to the coterminous notions. The technology based on the application of classical knowledge involves using the categories of domain, set, hierarchy and a few subordinate conceptualizations.

The domain is supposed to be the area with the maximum projection of the prime concept of approach covering the expanse of method and technique. The domain is structured as a hierarchical set, with approach being the top element, or subset of it, extending over the subset of method and that of technique. The subsets of method and technique are subordinate elements to the subset of approach.

In this regard there emerge important descriptions to be given and appropriate conclusions to be drawn from them, correspondingly. The first definition is that of a set which is described as “a collection of elements which have a particular characteristic in common” (Bussman, 2006, p. 1067). A set can be defined extensionally by establishing the number of its elements included, as well as by counting all the elements that fall under the prime concept, if there is any (p. 1067). As is mentioned above, the set construed for the present investigation includes the concept of approach as the top, or maximum element inducing constructive norms for the two subsidiary elements - the subsets of method and technique - to which the original idea of approach applies. The extension of the set in question thereby equals three. A set can also be characterized intensionally by indicating the common characteristics of elements (p.1067). That is, the intension corresponds to the content of a set (p. 576), more specifically, to the content of ‘a particular characteristic the elements have in common’. Therefore, the identification of the common ground of a set is a necessary condition to be met in the characterization of an approach.

Another essential definition against which the theoretical model is to be estimated is that of hierarchy. Hierarchy is defined as “the basic structural principle according to which elements of a set are ordered” (p. 508). A hierarchy branches downwards specifying the unifying relation and is as such if and only if the following five conditions are met:

  • 1.

    There is a point of origin;

  • 2.

    All elements are connected to this point of origin;

  • 3.

    There is no upward branching;

  • 4.

    The relation is asymmetric;

  • 5.

    The relation is transitive. (Bussman, 2006, p.508)

Relying on the specifications of the established categories of domain, set, set element (subset), set extension, set intension and hierarchy given above, we can observe that the approach concept structure worked out in the framework of the present research directly corresponds to the meaning of the wording given in the definitions of the above mentioned categories.

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