Putting More than Words in their Mouths: Using Model Dialogues to Construct Social Reality in the Japanese Language Classroom

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Abstract
Traditionally, the LOTE teacher is positioned as the learners' language model. Ingram argues that since the L2 is both the target and the medium of instruction 'the teacher is often the principal (if not sole) model of the language for the student'. This implies that the language of instruction should define the particular teaching method. In practice, however, the teacher speaks and writes model dialogues or more precisely model texts that act as the major source of L2 input, especially in the initial stages of learning the language. Model dialogues are those 'simulated conversation dialogues found at the beginning of textbook language lessons' presented to learners at any time during a class. These models appear not only in textbooks, but also on cassette tapes, in computer 'interactive' multimedia software packages, on photocopied worksheets, the blackboard, and from teachers' mouths. Erickson describes model dialogues as 'stilted' and sometimes 'stereotypical'. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between model dialogues, teachers, learners, and other stake holders by investigating what aspects of social reality model dialogues attempt to characterise; why model dialogues are used extensively as motifs representing actuality, motifs which learners (and teachers) are expected to memorise and use in the future; and whether it would be possible to teach and learn Japanese without using model dialogues.
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Armour, William Spencer
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Publication Year
1998
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Journal Article
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