Wednesday, January 04, 2017

TEFLology Podcast: TEFL Interviews 27: JD Brown (Live at JALT 2016)

(TEFLology Podcast)

New episode of TEFLology is online HERE.

I've been finding all of the TEFlology interview episodes to be very enjoyable listening, and this one was no exception.
I had never heard of JD Brown before, but he was very interesting to listen to.

I'd recommend this episode to anyone in ESL.

* I found JD Brown's autobiographical sketch to be very interesting.  It's interesting the various ways people end up in ESL.
(I think in my entire life, I've only met one person who majored in ESL as an undergrad.  All the other ESL teachers I've known have wound up in the field just by circumstance.  As have I.)

* Because my real interests are history and literature, I often wonder if I can really succeed in ESL.
I did my Masters in TESOL at 32 under the idea that: "Okay, I'm in my 30s now.  Time to do what's practical instead of what you enjoy."
But since then, I've found I have difficulty concentrating on ESL and linguistics stuff, and I've wondered to what extent it's possible to force yourself into a field that you don't love.
(Steven Pinker mentions this in his interview with The Ling Space.  Pinker says that it's very important to work in a field you love, so that it feels like it's play, and not work.  Otherwise, Pinker says, you'll never be able to put in the requisite amount of hours that you need to succeed).
JD Brown, on the other hand, appears to be saying that he succeeded in ESL not because it was his real interest, but because the army taught him what he didn't want to do with his life, and because the army taught him the discipline he needed to study.

* Interesting that JD Brown thinks there is still a lot of value in audio-lingualism, despite it having fallen out of favor in TESOL circles.
As for myself, based on Diane Larsen-Freeman's description of audio-lingualism, I've always thought it sounded like something that could be really useful in language learning.
Krashen attacked audio-lingualism a lot in his book, and I think Krashen did a good job of showing the limits of audio-lingualism used solely.  But I never thought that was a reason to get rid of audio-lingualism completely.  I think supplemented with lots of other techniques, there's nothing wrong with audio-lingualism.

* Notes from my reading list--Jack Richards got mentioned in this interview.  (I assume it's the same Jack Richards).

* Interesting to hear that they've got assistant English teachers in France as well.  (I spent many years as an assistant English teacher in Japan.)

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