Textbooks used to teach European languages in American university programs should facilitate the acquisition of foreign languages in the classroom. Accordingly the ways Language is used in the book should be carefully considered: the selection of cultural and structural components, the manner in which both are presented to the student, the linguistic level of the student, the realistic level of proficiency learners should reach.
No matter how you look at current textbooks, the language used or portrayed has serious flaws: the language of the cultural component and the vocabulary the learner is exposed to are chosen randomly. Most critical, there is no effort to connect grammatical concepts in logical and necessary ways because the grammar component is a simple list of concepts that trivialize Language in ways that prevent learning. This conventional list of structures portrays language as a simplistic system made of disconnected concepts and is dictated by tradition rather than by careful consideration of how Language works and how people learn language.
This critique provides examples from Spanish textbooks that illustrate the inefficient and old-fashioned ways language textbooks use to present Language and shows how learners are not encouraged to see Language as a coherent, organized system where structural concepts interweave in logical and efficient ways.
|Keywords:||Foreign Language Textbooks, Second Language Acquisition, Learning Strategies, Language Learning and Language Teaching, Effective Language Learning, Language Pedagogy|
Co-Chair, Modern Languages, Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, USA
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