Thursday, December 30, 2010

An article by Alister Cumming


Cumming, A. et al (2008). Theory in applied field. TESOL Quarterly, 42(2), 285-313.

In this article, Cumming explores the role of theory in an applied field like TESOL and point to several potential problems in the project of having a theory for an applied field like TESOL, such as the number of theories in influential fields such as linguistics, psychology, sociology, etc.; the conflicting theories, and the different contexts English is taught. It's quite interesting and the genre used for the discussion is quite creative too. I didn't have a chance to read the other articles written as a response to this one yet but they look quite fun to read too.  

Your major premise is clear: Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) is an “applied field” concerned primarily and pragmatically with practical activities related to the education of people learning English internationally. (p. 286)
From this perspective, identifying the role of theories in TESOL amounts to defining the scope and nature of the field itself—a point I return later. (p. 286)
It usually is, isn't it? I got the same impression when I read some articles regarding the role of theory in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition fields. 
Which of many theories should be applied to the practical matters of language teaching? (p. 286) 

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