Response essay

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Response essay to “Teaching English as a Socializing Process” by A. E. Fantini.

The teaching of English as a foreign language for communicative purposes is more often than not reduced to theteaching of a list of linguistic aspects which students are supposed to master and use spontaneously. Even though there are many factors that teachers attribute to the deployment of such a teachingmethod- be it the number of students, class time allotment, classroom conditions, or students’ lack of interest in the foreign language – effective language teaching has to take account of otherdimensions inherent in the nature of language. Fantini (2008) addresses this issue suggesting that English language teaching has to move away from just the teaching of content to give way to language viewedas a socializing force.

While we are learning our mother tongue, we experience it as a social process that allows our insertion into the community; but certainly, this is not the case withthe F.L. situation. Schools´ syllabi and teachers tend to give the English subject a purely academic treatment, not giving the paramount importance that other aspects of the language –such as style,fluency, body language- deserve. Fantini states that “[t]reating English primarily as an academic subject seriously curtails its potential to facilitate learner access and entry into the community ofEnglish speakers” (p. 12). Thus, any foreign language pupils are taught, it should be taught in such a way that allows them not only to manage the language in itself but also allows them to socializeproperly whenever pupils are involved in a face-to-face conversation.

The fact that teachers overplay content, disregarding process is one of the ideas developed by Fantini (p. 12) which needsto be reverted if teachers really wish to make their students competent English speakers. So as to change for the better, it is important to take into account the role the curriculum plays in this...
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