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Teacher Education for Languages with Technology / Formation des enseignants de langue avec les TICE
Curated by Shona Whyte
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Competence and Performance: Olenka Bilash

Competence and Performance: Olenka Bilash | TELT | Scoop.it

How do we know that students have learned a language?  We can assess students using formative and summative assessments but how do we know that students will actually be able to use their language in real-life, authentic situations?  In short, how do we know that our students are competent in the target language?  One way to judge this competency is through students’ performance.  However, how do we know that this performance is an accurate measure of what students actually know?  In this section we will examine these questions further by looking at competence versus performance.

Shona Whyte's insight:

Nice Far Side cartoon to illustrate Chomsky's well-known opposition between what you know and what you say.

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Chomsky vs Skinner: gloves off in the rematch

Chomsky vs Skinner: gloves off in the rematch | TELT | Scoop.it

Russ Mayne: Reality is not the neat history presented in so many EFL histories. In truth, almost every chain in the link is broken. Skinner wasn't the behaviorist he's painted as, he didn't inspire audiolingualism -whatever that is, and he wasn't overthrown by Chomsky, who isn't quite the 'hero' we might imagine.

 

Geoff Jordan: It’s true that elements of behaviourism survive in both behaviour therapy and laboratory-based animal learning theory, but, to quote the Stanford Encyclopaedia of philosophy, “ behaviourism is no longer a dominating research program” anywhere in the world. Why? Because it assumes that behaviour can be explained without reference to non-behavioural, mental (cognitive, representational, or interpretative) activity. Chomsky (1959) argued that behaviourist models of language learning cannot explain the rapid acquisition of language by young children. A child’s linguistic abilities are radically underdetermined by the evidence of verbal behaviour offered to the child in the short period in which he or she expresses those abilities.

Shona Whyte's insight:

I should have suspected this was in the works when we were invited to brainstorm our associations with audiolingualism on Twitter. I have some links on this topic here http://bit.ly/1GPj2jI

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Universal Grammar: a scientific idea ready for retirement

Universal Grammar: a scientific idea ready for retirement | TELT | Scoop.it

It's time to retire Universal Grammar. It had a good run, but there's nothing much it can bring us now in terms of what we want to know about human language. 

Shona Whyte's insight:

Benjamin Bergen argues that Chomsky's big idea has run its course.

http://www.edge.org/memberbio/benjamin_k_bergen

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Chomsky Was Right, We Possess An Internal Grammar

Chomsky Was Right, We Possess An Internal Grammar | TELT | Scoop.it

A team of neuroscientists has found new support for MIT linguist Noam Chomsky’s decades-old theory that we possess an “internal grammar” that allows us to comprehend even nonsensical phrases.

 

 

Shona Whyte's insight:

Poeppel: "Because we went to great lengths to design experimental conditions that control for statistical or sound cue contributions to processing, our findings show that we must use the grammar in our head,” explains Poeppel. “Our brains lock onto every word before working to comprehend phrases and sentences. The dynamics reveal that we undergo a grammar-based construction in the processing of language.”

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Breffni O'Rourke's curator insight, January 11, 8:18 AM

Via Shona Whyte, definitely one for the to-read list. I'll be interested to see whether the study shows that rules are the ONLY mechanism for parsing, or that it is one mechanism available in special conditions such as the ones the researchers created in the lab.

 

NB: in the Neuroscience News write-up, they say that we can recognise Chomsky's famous example “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” as simultaneously nonsensical but grammatically well-formed because "the statistical relations between words are non-existent". Not so: see http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000025.html


 

 

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▶ Noam Chomsky on Language Aquisition - YouTube

How is it that we learn to speak and think in language so easily? Philosophers have argued about whether or not we have innate ideas. Whether we are born kno...
Shona Whyte's insight:

108 seconds of animated video on Chomsky's gamechanging take on language learning and teaching

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The Idea of Universality in Linguistics and Human Rights | MIT video

The Idea of Universality in Linguistics and Human Rights | MIT video | TELT | Scoop.it

"Chomsky leads us through a history of language theory, concluding with the revolutionary model he championed: a universal grammar underpinning all languages that corresponds to an innate capacity of the human brain […] But he brandishes examples of how 'our moral and intellectual culture '.forcefully rejects universal moral judgments' -- such as continued U.S. refusal to approve anti-torture conventions.

In contrast, Elizabeth Spelke forcefully links 'universals in human nature to some of the developments in bringing about a greater balance in human rights.' Thirty years of cognitive and cross cultural research show that humans universally structure their world in terms of objects, have a universal capacity to represent numbers, and to represent other people as 'intentional, goal-directed agents whose freely chosen actions are subject to moral evaluation.'"

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