Counseling and culture in second language acquisition

Counseling and culture in second language acquisition

REVIEWS 299 in the chapter on Testing. Further, her over-all stance is one of proper academic caution, rather than one of practically-oriented a d m...

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REVIEWS

299

in the chapter on Testing. Further, her over-all stance is one of proper academic caution, rather than one of practically-oriented a d m o n i t i o n or commendation. ESP in Perspective is certainly none the worse for not being a practical guide; it just isn't one. The sub-title is misleading and should be deleted in any subsequent editions.

ESP in Perspective is not as fresh and as attractive an introduction to ESP as the textbook by Kennedy and Bolitho (1984). t It does not have the bibliographical coverage of Robinson (1980), 2 although the bibliography is adequate except in the area of applied Discourse Analysis. It does not have the intellectual rigor and careful argumentation of Widdowson's Learning Purpose and Language Use (1983). All that said, M c D o n o u g h ' s book is a very welcome addition to the small but growing number of books aimed at the ESP practitioner. It succeeds better than the others in integrating theory and practice and in illuminating the compromises that often need to be made between idealism and reality. John Swales English Language Institute The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 U.S.A. NOTES To be reviewed in a future issue of System by Pauline Robinson. [Editor's notej. 2 For a review of this book from the pen of the late Max Gorosch cf. System 10 (2) 201-203 [Editor's note].

REFERENCES KENNEDY, C. and BOLITHO, R. 1984 English for Specific Purposes. London: Macmillan. ROBINSON, P. 1980 ESP (English for Specific Purposes). Oxford: Pergamon. SCHMIDT, M. F. 1981 Needs assessment in English for specific purposes: the case study, in English for Academic'

and Technical Purposes (Ed. Selinker, L. et al.) Rowley, Mass., Newbury House. SWALES, J. 1981 Definitions in science and law--The case for subject-specific course components? Fachsprache 3, (3/4) W[DDOWSON, H. G. 1983 Learning Purpose and Language Use, Oxford: (:)UP WILLIAMS, R. 1978 E.S.T.--is it on the right track? M.A.L.S. Journal, Summer 1978.

La Forge, Paul G., Counseling and Culture in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1984, 142 pp, £4.70. If the author of this eminently concise and informative volume had added a rider to his title, such as " t h e Japanese experience", it could have helped the reader--in an age which necessitates the rapid assimilation of reading m a t e r i a l - - to prepare himself to embark upon a journey into a realm of experience which is very different from the kind of language learning territory the majority of us are familiar with. Perhaps such a rider would also, however, have had the less desirable effect of scaring off the casual reader, who might feel that the experience of teaching English in J a p a n might be too remote from his or her own work to be of interest. Having come without any forwarning to Mr La Forge's slim volume, your reviewer feels bound to admit to having somewhat mixed feelings about the likely application of the

" c o u n s e l i n g " a p p r o a c h to the s o m e w h a t less f a ~ o u r a b l c c o n d i t i o n s ol lea'. rang m ~ I~,,: i most l a n g u a g e t e a c h e r s - - p a r t i c u l a r l y m secondary schools +drove to operate, hu~ HOlier hc+¢:~,,, this w o r k is a fascinating d e l i n e a t i o n o f the a p p l i c a t i o n o t a particular ~ct ot passlonat~,i~ held principles to tile task o f t e a c h i n g a language in a quite special cultural c n x i t o m n c t ~ La F o r g e p r e s u p p o s e s that the r e a d e r has at tca>t a basic grasp ot ,~ilat the ~c m " c o u n s e l l i n g " implies when a p p l i e d to the p a r t i c u l a l p e d a g o g i c a l situatiot~ of teachit~,!: a l a n g u a g e a n d his o w n concise f o r m u l a t i o n m a y be c o n v e n i e n t l } quoted here: C u r r a n . . . has s h o w n that c o u n s e l i n g can be a p p l i e d to education not only b e t w e e n i n d i v i d u a l s , but to g r o u p s as well. The t e a c h e r takes on the counseling role a n d the students f o r m a g r o u p o f clients. The a p p l i c a t i o n of counseling to s e c o n d l a n g u a g e a c q u i s i t i o n is called " C o m m u n i t y I a n g u a g e L e a r n i n g " . In the basic stages o f learning, the t e a c h e r - c o u n s e l o r establishes tile counselingl e a r n i n g c o n t r a c t by a n n o u n c i n g the time and p u r p o s e o f the session, t-hen hc awaits the response of the st udents-clients before proceeding further. -Ihe foreign l a n g u a g e class is i n t r o d u c e d a n d treated as a com~seling session a> p~e\iously described. W h e n an i n d i \ i d u a l wishes to addres< ~he group, he uses the language o f affect, iv, the native l a n g u a g e o f the learner. I h c counselot-tcaci~c~, in ~t s u p p o r t i v e and e m p a t h e t i c way, states the message in the language o! ~(~gnittot~. ie, the foreign language (called the " t a r g e t l a n g u a g e " ) . The learner slo~ Iv repeat, the target l a n g u a g e after the teacher . . . . ,\ reflection session is al-o held in o r d e r to allow the q u d e n t - c l i e n t s time to e v a l u a t e their p e r f o r m a n c e (11/. As yet the m e t h o d u n d e r d i s c u s s i o n does not seem p a r t i c n t a r b kmu'.,tlal. The a u t h o r e m p h a s i z e s from the outset his firm belief that learning a language is e s s e n t i a t b a social, i n t e r p e r s o n a l process, a n d he follows Pit C o r d e r a n d David Crystal in rejecting the k i n d o f linguistic t h e o r y which c o n f i n e s the learning o f a language to ~hc realm of the intellect alone. F o r La F o r g e l a n g u a g e learning is a "'whole person proceb~", and it i~ the d y n a m i c s o f the g r o u p in the l a n g u a g e class that d e t e r m i n e the relative success or failure o f that c l a s s - - a sentiment v, ith which a great man~ l a n g u a g e teacher,, ~ o u l d agree A c e n t r a l aspect o f the a u t h o r ' s m e t h o d is his reliance on silence as tile starting point o t the class: either the teacher enters the c l a s s r o o m and r-emains silent until the pupils---which in J a p a n m a y t a k e up to 20 m i n u t e s - - a r e p r o v o k e d into a s k i n g the reasons lot the si!encc, since they k n o w they arc s u p p o s e d to be learning English, or the teacher pair~ off the pupils a n d they sit facing each o t h e r for a time in silence b e f o r e beginning the lengti~y, fotnlal ritual of introducing themsel\ es to each other which J a p a n e s e tradition demands. The author stresses that this a p p r o a c h turns to g o o d a d v a n t a g e the i m p o r t a n c e attached b', J a p a n e s c society to p e r i o d s o f fruitful silence d u r i n g which g r o u p s o f people prepare themselves for all sorts o f socially stressful s i t u a t i o n s . C l e a r l y we are dealing here with a very special case. Special, too. and particularl~ a d v a n t a g e o u s for the teacher is a society in whictn the s t u d e n t s appea~ to be all high!~, m o t i v a t e d a n d are all i m m e d i a t e l y c o n t r i t e in r e s p o n s e to even the milde~t of rebukes c o n c e r n i n g an a p p a r e n t lack o f e f f o r t . In vie,,', o f the a u t h o r ' s d e c l a r e d aim to e m p l o y the p a r t i c u l a r feature ~, of .lapanesc c u h u i c to solve his own p r o b l e m , it is a logical step for him to a d a p t the technique o f the iudo hall for his English c o n v e r s a t i o n p r a c t i c e . He lines his s t u d e n t s up in t u o lines facin~ each

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other and the opposite pairs "wrestle" with each other in English for a set period of 3 minutes, when, upon a given signal, the lines move up one place and each student has to cope with a new partner and thus a fresh conversational challenge. While it may be hard to imagine how such a classroom session could work with our blase teenagers in Western Europe, it is possible that in the Third W o r l d - - w h e r e motivation levels are usually higher and students less self-conscious--such a method could well be equally as successful as it seems to be in Japan. In addition to its specialist aspects, however, this study has a good deal to say about the general psychological scenario of the social process of language learning in general. The author discusses a number of important modern studies, such as Curran's assertion that the learner gives birth to a new self in the foreign language and tiaat this self--like the native language self--goes through a five-stage developmental process from childhood to adulthood (p. 12), or Polyanyi's concept of " k n o w i n g by indwelling" (p. 211, and he explains how he sees them as fitting in with his own overview of the language learning business. Concise summaries are also given of such problem areas as the reasons behind the fear which is the cause of the unprogrammed silences in a conventional language class, when a student is called upon to provide an adequate response in the foreign language to a prompt from the teacher and is tongue-tied and may suffer actual physical disire,s as a result. Fhe author's style and technique are as authoritative as they are pe:-suasive and it is clear that his teaching method is based not only upon many years of practical experience bttt also upon a very extensive knowledge of modern linguistic theory, a belief underlined by the very full and most useful bibliography which is given at the end of the book. Specialized though it may be in some ways, this study will nevertheless provide any reader with a great deal of food for thought. Michael R. ,Ioncs I.anguage Resources Unit University of Ulster at Coleraine Cromore Road Coleraine Co. Londonderry BT52 ISA Northern Ireland

Mace, Pierre et Guinard, Madeleine, Le grand dictionnaire des &vnonymes. Pluriguides/Nathan, 1984, 444 pp., FF 79.00. (Pratique du franCais)

Paris:

Le Grand dictionnaire des synonymes (GDS) emprunte sa methode (sans le dire) au Dictionnaire du fram;ais contemporain (DFC). On se rappellera en effet que, parmi les nombreuses innovations lexicographiques q u ' a p p o r t a i t en 1967 ce dictionnaire revolutionnaire, figurait la synonymie contextuelle: tousles synonymes etaient inseres dans des phrases-exemples selon le principe formule dans le Livret mdthodologique: La mention des synonymes devient vraiment utile quand le cadre de leur emploi est indique, quand