Reading Stevick 2 of 10

stevick_talking

When Stevick writes about communicative and linguistic competence as the learner’s goal, there are no surprises: we all know that the students need to know what to say and how to say it. However, there is also a third competence, which he calls ‘personal’ and lists several levels to it:

1) mastering techniques like using flash cards or making vocabulary notes (just another name for ‘learning how to learn’ skills, isn’t it?);

2) knowing which techniques work specifically for you (learner self-reflection?);

3) understanding the process of mastering a new technique (this is a bit vague for me, but it’s close to reflection and metacognitive processes);

4) knowing how to deal with emotions as they arise in the process of education (EQ?).

So, how does the teacher go about developing all these competencies? Give the students enough different options for (1); allow them to experiment for (2); comment on their progress, but don’t “talk it to death” for (3) and modify their teaching to deal with negative emotions, but remember that “you are dealing with a group of other humans who may be quite unlike each other” to help with (4).

Funny how people used to speak about the same things in ELT even 40 years ago!

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