62.7K views | +0 today
Teacher Education for Languages with Technology / Formation des enseignants de langue avec les TICE
Curated by Shona Whyte
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Shona Whyte!

Complex systems & applied linguistics: Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008 (review)

Complex systems & applied linguistics: Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008 (review) | TELT |
Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics by Diane Larsen-Freeman and Lynne Cameron. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, 287 pp. Review by Brian Ellis University of California, Los Angeles In their book Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics, Diane Larsen- Freeman and Lynne Cameron argue that language is a complex adaptive system. As they describe, complex adaptive systems of all types share several features in common. They are made up of aggregates of diverse elements or agents that interact locally and which may form interconnected subsystems. They are dynamic, in a constant state of change. Their processes are non-linear, sensitive to initial condi- tions, controlled from the bottom up, and abide by a predictable unpredictability (sometimes referred to as chaos). They are open, not closed systems, which means their complexity is sustained far from equilibrium by input (of energy or informa- tion) into that system. They adapt in response to changes in their environment. Finally, this environment or context is not separate from the system but part of it. In all of these ways, language is a complex adaptive system, but this book goes a great deal beyond simply making that point. First, the authors develop complex- ity theory as a metaphor for language. They then address each of the main topics of research in applied linguistics through the lens of this metaphor. Along the way, they exemplify the practical use of the complexity metaphor by re-analyzing empirical data from past research. The first three chapters review complexity theory and form a road map for applying complexity theory as a metaphor in language research. The remaining chapters then put this framework to use by reinterpreting data from research in all the core areas of applied linguistics - language acquisition, second language learn- ing, language testing and foreign language instruction. Furthermore, the authors do a tremendous job relating complexity theory to numerous other fields of research, from formal linguistics to conversation analysis, synthesizing their own coherent view in the process. Without presenting themselves as overtly critical of alternative perspectives, the authors strongly favor a discourse-centered approach that utilizes complexity theory to better understand and model language dynamics. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to a complexity perspective. The main idea is that the world is not composed of ‘things’ but of perceived stabilities that emerge from complex system dynamics. From this perspective, language is an open, con- tinually evolving complex system. Chapter 2 summarizes the defining characteristics of complex systems, while chapter 3 identifies types and trajectories of change that occur in them (covering such oddities as strange attractors). For language scholars unfamiliar with but interested in learning more about complexity theory, this book Issues in Applied Linguistics © 2008, Regents of the University of California ISSN 1050-4273 Vol. 16 No. 2, 197-198
Shona Whyte's insight:

Cited by Daniel Véronique in response to Lowie's presentation on CDST - pedagogical implications

No comment yet.
Scooped by Shona Whyte!

Diane Larsen-Freeman: From Unity to Diversity…to Diversity within Unity

Diane Larsen-Freeman: From Unity to Diversity…to Diversity within Unity | TELT |

Shona Whyte:
An article in the US State Departement's English Teaching Forum (Vol. 50, 2012) by distinguished linguist and teacher educator Diane Larsen-Freeman which updates her 1987 state-of-the-art paper on 25 years of language teaching methodology by examining what the subsequent 25 years of research into language teaching have brought.

Regarding teacher education and teaching methods, she has this to say:

"It has been said that language teaching is in a “post-method” phase (Kumaravadivelu
2006). However, I think that not only is the term “method” in language teaching and language teacher education firmly established, but I also believe that teachers need knowledge of various methods. Methods are not intact packages of teaching practices imposed from above, but rather are coherent sets of thinking-in-action links available for teachers to interact with and learn from. Such investigations are vital to language teaching and to teachers’ defining their own sense of plausibility. When methods are seen as sets of coherent principles that link to practice, they help act as a foil whereby teachers can clarify their own pedagogical principles. They also contribute to a professional discourse in which we all may engage (Freeman 1991); they challenge
teachers to think in new ways; and they provide associated techniques with which teachers can experiment to come to new understandings (Larsen-Freeman and Anderson 2011)."

The 2012 article is available

And for those interested in the historical perspective, the 1987 one is here