Learning/Teaching Investigation

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Learning/Teaching Investigation

Learning/Teaching Investigation

Present arguments for and against the use of translation in your own specific teaching situation or in an imagined teaching situation. (Before arguing, explain clearly what this situation is).

The authors of this subject argue that translation is a valid tool for instruction. Present arguments for and against the use of translation in your own specific teaching situation or in an imagined teaching situation (before arguing, explain clearly what this situation is).

There are numerous ways of conveying the meaning of an unknown word. These include a definition in the second language, a demonstration, a picture or a diagram, a real object, L2 context clues, or an L1 translation. In terms of the accuracy of conveying meaning, none of these ways is intrinsically better than any of the others. It all depends on the particular word concerned. However, studies comparing the effectiveness of various methods for learning always come up with the result that L1 translation is the most effective. This is probably because L1 translations are usually clear, short and familiar, qualities which are very important in effective definitions.

Once learners of English have achieved some basic skill in English, they will begin to learn from sources outside the classroom. Students will either come across or actively seek out English in its written and spoken forms. Any teacher will want to encourage this and reward students for what they learn outside the classroom. The students desire to hear and read English will be recognized as a sign of commitment.

But all teachers need to give some thought to the kinds of English their students may bring back to the classroom, and need to anticipate some of the difficulties that exposure to the complex world of real English can bring about.

The sources or real English which are available without travel to an English-using place include:

conversations with foreigners

newspapers & magazines


satellite TV, movies or TV programs without subtitles

song lyrics

web chat rooms & newsgroups

web pages

Many kinds of English will be used in these texts, from the most formal to the most informal, and the observant learner will acquire usages that teachers may not approve of (and may not even recognize). The socio cultural element in learning is particularly sensitive in EFL because in acquiring a language there is, to some extent, an appropriation of a cultural identity too. We, as teachers, are social agents and we have to manage the cultural contexts of our classroom.

Translation is cultural mediation; therefore, reading English texts about Chilean culture makes students familiar with the image of Chile such as it is perceived in the Anglo- American world. A comparison between two cultures allows the students to familiarize themselves with the linguistic elements that are unavoidably connected to their culture.

My own specific teaching situation is related to the teaching of taboo language using bilingual dictionaries. I believe that ability to face and deal with controversy is like facing adversity in life. Schools and educators will have to train students in this relevant area and hence, will have to provide exposure ...
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