The whole language argues that “language should be taught as a whole”. This is opposed to other approaches like the “decoding approach” that was focus on teaching the separate components of language (grammar, vocabulary, word recognition, and phonics). The WL instruction was developed to help young children learn to read, and has also been extended to middleand secondary levels and to the teaching of ESL. WL began as a way to teach children to read and write but then became a movement for change. WL approach encourages: Respect for each student as a member of a culture and a creator of knowledge, and respect for each teacher as a professional. And Learning to read and write naturally with a focus on real communication, and reading and writing forpleasure.
In language teaching it shares a philosophical and instructional perspective with Communicative Language Teaching since it emphasizes the importance of meaning in teaching and learning. It also relates to natural approaches to language learning since it helps people to learn an L2 in the same way that children learn their L1.
It is not clear whether WL is an approach (34,4%), a philosophy(23,4%), a belief (14,1%), or a method (6.3%). Each WL teacher implements the theories of WL as they interpret them and according to the kind of classes and learners they are teaching. This is why there is not a clear WL procedure to prepare lessons.
Approach: theory of language and of learning
WL sees language organization as interactional (there is not division, language is a whole) andthis interaction is socially oriented; Language is a vehicle for human communication. WL emphasizes “authenticity,” engagement with the authors of written texts, and conversation.
WL also views language psycho-linguistically => for thinking; internal interaction.
The learning theory underlying WL is in the humanistic and constructivist schools.
Humanism: WL is authentic, personalized,self-directed, collaborative, and pluralistic.
Constructivism: “knowledge is socially constructed, rather than received.” Learners “create meaning,” “learn by doing,” and work “in mixed groups on common projects.” Teachers collaborate with students to create knowledge and understanding in their social context. Learning focuses on the learner’s experience, needs, interests, and aspirations.
Design:Objectives, syllabus, learning activities, roles of learners, teachers, and materials
Mayor principles of WL instruction:
- Use of authentic literature
- Focus on real and natural events related to student’s experience
- Reading of real texts of high interest, particularly literature
- Reading for the sake of comprehension and for a real purpose
- Writing for a realaudience, not just to practice
- Writing to explore and discover meaning
- Use of student-produced texts
- Integration of reading, writing, and other skills
- Student-centered learning: students have choice over what they read and write
- Reading and writing in partnership with other learners
- Encouragement of risk taking and the acceptance of errors as signs of learningrather than of failure
The teacher: is a facilitator and an active participant in the community (not an expert/technician passing on knowledge). He looks for teachable moments rather than planning lessons or scripts. He creates a climate to support collaborative learning, and also negotiates a plan of work with the students.
The learners: are collaborators with their classmates, with theirteacher, and with writers of texts. They are evaluators of their own and others’ learning, with the help of the teacher. They are self-directed using their own learning experiences as sources of learning. They are also selectors of learning materials and activities “without the ability to select activities, materials, and conversational partners, the students cannot use the language for their own...