Contents Foreword Introduction: A red card for the mother tongue? 0.1 Method and Madness in Foreign Language Teaching 0.2 Background 0.3 Spoilsports: stubborn teachers 0.4 Bilingual methods and language courses 0.5 Spoilsports: teachers as learners 0.6 Classroom research and the doggedness of dogma 0.7 A professional neurosis 0.8 The alternative: the mother tongue as a base of reference Chapter 1: Teaching English through English – with the help of the mother tongue 1.1 Message-orientation and mother tongue 1.2 Immersion, the natural way 1.3 Between the lexicon and grammar 1.4 The critical mass hypothesis 1.5 We cannot start small again 1.6 Creating a foreign language atmosphere in the classroom 1.7 The sandwich technique and its bilingual counterpart 1.8 In praise of discipline and consistency 1.9 Undesired side effects of stubborn monolingualism 1.10 The FL as a working language: a five-point programme 1.11 Love or loathing at first sight 1.12 Solidarity and good vibes 1.13 Language as a sideline: learning other subjects in a foreign language 1.14 Between medium-oriented and message-oriented communication 1.15 A dual focus 1.16 Classroom reality: a content vacuum 1.17 Conclusion 1.18 Hints for student teachers Study questions and tasks Chapter 2: How learners break into the speech code: the principle of dual comprehension 2.1 Understanding what is meant 2.2 Understanding what is literally said 2.3 Children crack the code: evidence from mother tongue acquisition 2.4 Children crack the code: evidence from second language acquisition 2.5 Children crack the code: evidence from classrooms 2.6 Taking a fresh look at past solutions 2.7 Regular review 2.8 Dual comprehension and the role of output Study questions Chapter 3: We only learn language once 3.1 Native language skills as a foundation for FL learning 3.2 Goodbye Berlitz: arguments and counterarguments Study questions and tasks Chapter 4: Communicative equivalence and cross-linguistic networks 4.1 Missing equivalence? 4.2 A pragmatic approach to meaning-conveyance 4.3 ‘Deforeignising’ the foreign 4.4 The principle of association: Cross-linguistic networks 4.5 Telling stories about words Study questions and tasks Chapter 5: The MT as the magic key to foreign grammars 5.1 Grammar – the continuation of the lexicon by other means 5.2 Grammar – the pride and blight of the FL classroom 5.3 Grammar – comparative and crystal clear 5.3.1 Clarifying functions through idiomatic translations 5.3.2 Clarifying forms through MT mirroring 5.3.3 Additional explanations and the technicalities of remote languages 5.3.4 Searching for analogies 5.3.5 Explaining linguistic terms via MT examples 5.3.6 Underuse and overproduction of FL constructions 5.3.7 Where learners have been more harmed than helped 5.4 Conclusion 5.5 Hints for the student teacher Study questions and tasks hapter 6: How to teach structures the bilingual way 6.1 The generative principle, or: playing on analogies 6.2 Evidence from natural language acquisition 6.3 To transfer or not to transfer 6.4 An innovation: semi-communicative drills 6.4.1 Objections overruled 6.4.2 Regular revision drills: immunization against common errors 6.4.3 Evidence from classrooms 6.4.4 For slow learners 6.5 Costs and benefits of bilingual practice 6.6 Conclusion 6.7 Hints for student teachers: do’s and don’ts Study questions and tasks Chapter 7: Dialogues, drama and declamation 7.1 Give them a stage: role-taking and role-making 7.2 Phase 1: Role-taking 7.2.1 Dialogue presentation and assimilation 7.2.2 The ear is the gateway to language: On pronunciation teaching 7.2.3 The printed text as a support rather than an interference factor 7.2.4 The oral translation 7.2.5 Pictures for support 7.2.6 Are we there yet? Further steps 7.2.7 Acting out: ‘The grand finale’ 7.2.8 Fast and slow learners 7.3 Phase 2: Manipulation of structures 7.4 Phase 3: Role-making 7.4.1 Pupils’ dialogues 7.4.2 Question time and improvisations 7.5 Review, recycle, reinforce 7.6 Drama and declamation 7.7 Hints for student teachers Study questions and tasks Chapter 8: Language learning as skill learning 8.1 Mastery learning and skill theory 8.2 The rewards of mastery: a sense of competence and control 8.3 The rewards of mastery: Release from shyness 8.4 Applied behaviour analysis 8.5 The naturalistic fallacy and task-based instruction Study questions and tasks Chapter 9: Maximising high-quality input via the MT 9.1 Direct instruction vs. acquisition: in search of a compromise 9.2 Good news for language teachers 9.2.1 Teacher-talk 9.2.2 Reading to the class and story-telling 9.2.3 Silent reading, and a reading corner 9.2.4 Bilingual readers 9.2.5 Re-translation 9.2.6 Language mix: outlandish proposals? 9.2.7 Videos and DVDs 9.3 Repeated hearing and reading with a dual focus 9.4 Hints for student teachers Study questions and tasks Chapter 10: Translation as a fifth skill – a forgotten art. 10.1 “Racist park” 10.2 Translation as a multi-purpose tool 10.3 Suggested activities 10.4 Developing the mother tongue Study questions and tasks Chapter 11: More bilingual practice 11.1 Brainstorming 11.2 Word trails 11.3 Monolingual and bilingual vocabulary lists 11.4 Dictionary work 11.5 Collocations 11.6 The importance of memorization 11.7 Practising away lexical interference 11.8 Topic-related expression repertoires 11.9 Liaison Interpreting 11.10 Tandems 11.11 Foreign language conversation as a culminating activity Study questions and tasks Chapter 12: The “natural” method 12.1 Young developing bilinguals 12.1.1 Learning to talk, talking to learn: five strategies of developing bilinguals 12.1.2 A parental strategy: pretending not to understand 12.1.3 Contact time as the most important factor 12.2 A bilingual approach for the deaf 12.3 The “natural” method re-visited Study questions Chapter 13: Ideas for multilingual classes 13.1 Sink or swim? 13.2 Practical suggestions 13.2.1 Multilingual Materials 13.2.2 Home-made materials 13.2.3 Time-out for group work 13.2.4 Teacher self-development Study questions and tasks Chapter 14: Directions for future work 14.1 Continuity and change 14.2 In the doing comes the understanding 14.3 Experimental comparisons 14.4 Lesson analysis 14.5 A new generation of textbooks 14.6 Europe-wide test of English as a foreign language 14.7 ‘The hungry sheep look up and are not fed’ 14.8 Unheeded lessons of history Study questions and tasks Epilogue: Capitalising on a priceless legacy Bibliography Subject Index Quotes We only learn language once. The MT is the bedrock on which any subsequent language learning must be built. Making the MT the corner stone in the architecture of FLT is a true paradigm shift. There is a neurotic fear that incompetent teachers, so embarrassing to the profession, are involved, that the dams will break and the MT will pour into the FL classrooms. The most important means of acquiring an FL is certainly the FL itself, because in many respects, a language teaches itself. But the second most important means is the learners’ MT. Paradoxically, a targeted yet discreet use of L1 makes it easier to achieve a foreign language atmosphere in the classroom. Given motivation, it is inevitable that learners will learn if they receive input comprehended at two levels. The MT is therefore the greatest asset any human being brings to the task of FL learning and it provides an indispensable Language Acquisition Support System . For a century, a large part of the language teaching profession has ignored the very foundations on which FL learning is built. It has taken children years to obtain the communicative competence which makes instruction possible in the first place, be it maths, geography or another language. It makes excellent biological sense for a new language to piggyback on this open channel of communication . The direct method is a misnomer. Show a picture of a pear, and the German learner will say to himself: “Aha, ‘pear’ is ‘Birne’”. The picture is not more “direct” than the MT word. The direct principle is a delusion. The FL learner must build upon existing skills and knowledge acquired in and through the MT. All languages seem to tap a common conceptual system. To put it in a nutshell: It is one mind, several languages. Failure to afford help is an offence. An inconsiderate method has been foisted upon teachers and learners alike. The means – teaching without resort to the MT – had become an end. Limited, incomplete understanding and blank incomprehension are a frequent source of frustration in FL classes because monolingual ersatz-techniques of meaning-conveyance function less well than the MT. MT translations and explanations are more accurate than most monolingual ersatz-techniques that can be understood by the learners. MT techniques allow teachers to use richer, more authentic texts sooner and to transmit larger vocabularies. The thin language soup served up to modern learners is the price paid for the MT taboo. Bilingual techniques allow teachers partially to bypass the grammatical progression of textbooks. No postponement of, let’s say, do-negation or the past tenses. It is not possible to avoid interference from the MT, but it can be greatly reduced. The counter-productive, haphazard use of the mother tongue, which may end up in a total breakdown of teaching, could be an unwanted side-effect of the doctrine of monolingualism. Direct-method proponents muddle the issue of MT support by a double reduction. First, it is reduced to meaning-conveyance, and this in turn is reduced to a question of single-word translation. This excludes both the structural and pragmatic meaning dimensions which can best be rendered by native language means. The foreign language should not be approached as a chambre séparée or world apart. Connecting reinforces understanding, and understanding begets sympathy, but reciprocal incomprehension breeds contempt. Grammar – the continuation of the lexicon by other means. MT mirroring is the term we use for literal translations and adaptations with a view to making the foreign structures salient and transparent to learners. Mirroring has the huge advantage of making the logic of FL constructions clear. Children naturally use this trick. Comparisons with remote languages clearly reveal the modern Eurocentric bias of both the monolingual and “no grammar ” doctrine. The teaching of grammar has been a stressful, harrowing experience for some; others were simply bored to death. With bilingual techniques, we can avoid real suffering and turn grammar into something positive. Grammar is good for you. Idiomatic translations ‘deforeignise’ the foreign; mirroring ‘reforeignises’ a given construction and gives it back its singularity to a point where it can be almost physically felt. The perspectival flexibility of one language to elucidate the form-meaning constructions of another is without equal. The mutual support of script and sound will outweigh possible interference effects. Both the printed word and the MT can be used as an initial help only, and can be dispensed with later in the lesson cycle. Walk the walk from drill to self-expression. Translation into the MT as a classroom activity comparable to listening or reading has been confined too long to a wall-flower existence. Translation is the quintessential cultural activity. All claims that we follow nature’s blueprint when we exclude the MT from FLT are ill-founded. Nature’s method is bilingual. The unilingual immersion classroom was the order of the day, and cries for help from immigrant children went unheeded. We only learn an FL to the extent that we actually use it. This is self-evident. But there is another side to the coin. We all must start from where we are. We can only learn a new skill by building upon existing skills. The exclusion of the MT from the teaching process is a patent absurdity. With the self-crippling MT taboo, the bottom has dropped out from under FLT. The judicious and skilful use of bilingual activities empowers the student and doubles the teacher’s repertoire of techniques. For how much longer are we going to withhold them from teachers and pupils? Does FLL really need to continue to be traumatic, degrading or stultifying for so many students? Believe in the power of teaching. Experience the excitement of teaching. Teach with MT support. Teach with the wind beneath your wings.