Teach to Teach the Language: Second Language Practices and Methods

Teach to Teach the Language: Second Language Practices and Methods

Carlos Fernando Dimeo Álvarez (University of Bielsko-Biała, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8543-5.ch007
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In Poland, the teachers that teach a second language frequently are philologists who do not have any didactic or pedagogical training. This issue initially exposes that teaching practices are part of individual experiences or even “self-taught” training. Significantly, of approximately 10 universities that teach Spanish as a foreign language, none in the curriculum has subjects dedicated to the methods and their didactic applications, forms of evaluation, etc. In this sense, the author analyzes different proposals of the theory of the curriculum in studies of philology and discusses why in Poland studies in a second language do not include these topics.
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Teacher Training

Teacher training usually involves students who will later teach in primary or secondary schools, and who are rarely assigned to higher level teaching posts. Besides this, few educational establishments and training centres are dedicated to preparing teachers to work in higher education, which has a subsequent impact on the effectiveness of teaching. In some countries of Europe, training for teachers who teach an L2 is well organised and structured but practically only in the case of Polish and English studies; in the case of Spanish and Romance languages, in general, it is almost non-existent.

Another fundamental problem concerning language teachers is that the working method needs to be adapted for each language (for example, the requisites for teaching English and teaching Russian are entirely different). Many essential sources raise this issue. For example, Irofeeva (2015) when referring to the teaching of Russian to groups whose first language is Polish argues that:

Teaching Russian to a Polish audience incurs specific difficulties caused by the genetic relationship of the two Slavonic languages. Similarities between the languages on the lexical level give the impression of easy understanding of the meaning of individual Russian words whose phonetic form is close to that of Polish words. Hence teachers of Russian as a foreign language are faced with specific problems. The solution requires the use of certain linguodidactic techniques. As a consequence, the main method of teaching is not only a comparative method but also a componential analysis. Due to this method, similarities and differences in the semantics of related lexemes of Slavonic origin are clearly revealed. (p. 1096)

Also, in other countries, for example in the United Kingdom, rigorous criteria (usually standards) must be implemented to comply with rules and regulations. There is a close link between the fields and frameworks of L2 teaching related to the development of learning by learning outcomes.

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