Mixing methodologies in ESL: Cumulative or contradictory?

Doug Absalom

Abstract


It is often assumed that an eclectic approach to teaching a second language is desirable, as no
single method can be regarded as universally ideal. Such a mixed methodologies approach was
adopted in an ESL course at the University of Newcastle in Australia, deliberately incorporating
the use of CALL techniques to enhance the success of a variety of other methods. Surprisingly,
students who reported to have enjoyed the CALL classes and testified to their practical
usefulness fared worse in the examinations than students in the previous five years, when CALL
techniques were not used The. writer speculates on the possible reasons for this unexpected
finding, and cites a further example of the lack of success of a mixed methodologies approach.
Dit word dikwe/s aangeneem dat 'n eklektiese benadering tot tweedetaalonde"ig wenslik is,
aangesien dit aanvaar word dat geen onde"igmetode as universeel ideaal beskou kan word nie.
Met die aanname in gedagte, is 'n gemengde metodologiese benadering gebruik vir die
aanbieding van 'n Engels tweedetaalkursus aan die Universiteit van Newcastle in Australie. Die
kursus het, bo en behalwe die gewone tweedetaalonde"igmetodes, ook gebruik gemaak van
CALL-tegnieke (dw.s. rekenaar-ondersteunde leertegnieke) met die bedoeling om die
taalverwerwingsproses op die wyse te bevorder. Teen die verwagting in het studente wat
aangedui het dat die rekenaarklasse genotvol en waardevol was, swakker in die eindeksamen
gevaar as die gemiddelde student wat geen CALL-onderrig in dieseifde kursus oor die vorige vyf
jaar ontvang het nie. Die skrywer spekuleer oor die moontlike redes vir hierdie onverwagte swak
vertoning en ve~s na nog 'n voorbeeld van onsuksesvol/e resultate na die gebruik van 'n
gemengde-metode-benadering.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/11-1-231

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