In this paper, I will discuss Micahel P. Breens article The Sociable Context for Vocabulary Learning: A Neglected Situation. Breens article highlights the study of classroom words learning from two different perspectives particularly research and coaching. Specifically, the writer’s newspaper centralizes around two arising questions from the researcher and the teacher’s perspectives: (1) what exactly are the specific contributions of the class to the process of terms development? And (2) in what ways might the teacher exploit the communal actuality of the class as a resource for the coaching of language? This article uncovers that the writer exploring the terms learning research in the form of metaphor specifically ‘the school room as experimental lab’ and ‘the class room as discourse’ while proposing a fresh metaphor, ‘the class room as coral gardens’. These three metaphors seem to truly have a significant impact on vocabulary learning research influencing the researcher, the tutor as well as the learners. But, the fundamental question that is with us here’s that the three metaphors are partly true and there continues to be a dependence on further development on the techniques of looking into the culture of the class room and re-exploring its potential more precisely.
According to Breen (2001), assumptions of the next words development were made based on the relationship that is out there between the sociable process of school room group and the average person internal process. In your time and effort to connect such romantic relationship in a sociable event, the teacher was determined as a primary participant influencing the emotional development by continuously integrating the training experiences of each person with the group activities all together. Understanding the social anthropology of words learning by firmly taking into consideration the expectations, principles and values will influence how we perceive the class group and how exactly we shape the learning environment of the terminology classroom.
In particular, the copy writer defines and represents the classroom situation by means of metaphor vis- -vis classroom as experimental lab and class as discourse. He also proposes the 3rd metaphor which is class room as coral gardens to better facilitate our knowledge of classroom terminology learning.
The first metaphor ‘the class as experimental lab’ is dependant on Krashen’s Second Terms Acquisition Theory. In the attempt to make clear the school room as experimental lab, the copy writer highlights the principal function of the language classroom as is seen by the relationship between both coverage towards a linguistic insight and learning outcome. The value and purpose of the classroom can produce an perfect source to the learner by giving a good form of linguistic data. The role of a teacher is portrayed as a surrogate experimental psychologist, who contains a responsibility of facilitating comprehension to specific learners and strengthen good learning behaviours accordingly.
In explaining the next metaphor, ‘the class as discourse’, Breen shows the primary emphasis of the classroom-oriented research which intends to comprehend the discourse of classroom communication. It pieces the teacher and learners as productive participants whereby school room can be explored as a text. This metaphor discloses much of the precise interaction patterns going in the particular dialect learning situation such as teacher-learner negotiation, various problem treatments by instructors and variables contribution by learners.
As I have already summarized both of the prevailing metaphors, the third metaphor which portrays ‘the class room as coral gardens’ derives from Malinowski’s traditional studies of Trobriand island civilizations talking about it in Coral Gardens and Their Magic (Malinowski, 1935). This metaphor is suggested to make sense that to be able to comprehend a language class room, observation together on the surface degree of the classroom discourse is inadequate. To put it simply, one cannot understand the culture simply by learning the terminology. The gist of class room as coral gardens is trying to highlight on the value of understanding the school room situation which can cause increasing learners’ engagement, motivation and involvement for the betterment of terms learning. Again, in justifying his own notion upon this metaphor as genuine culture, Breen shows on the importance of perceiving the class room as a genuine place with its own culture to help us exploit its complexness as a reference for words learning. He quickly details eight essential features of the culture of words classroom as being; 1) interactive, 2) differentiated, 3) collective, 4) highly normative, 5) asymmetrical, 6) inherently conservative, 7) jointly made and 8) immediately significant.
Exploring his goal in writing this paper, Breen invokes the reader with the arising questions from both researcher and teacher mentioned previously. He illustrates this is of the classroom situation in the form of metaphors that can certainly help researchers within the existing vocabulary learning research. Thus, suggesting a possible future analysis for the culture of the vocabulary classroom could be more of a revelation rather than simply determining it as a metaphor.
Breen’s explanation if the social context for terminology learning is at a neglected situation can be summarized by its strengths in relating the class room situation in a metaphorical form:
“Metaphors may create realities for all of us, especially public realities. A metaphor may thus be a guide for future action. Such actions will, of course, fit the metaphor. This will, in turn, reinforce the energy of the metaphor to make experience coherent. In this particular sense metaphors can be self rewarding prophecies. “
(Lakoff and Johnson, 1980)
Yet, the flipside of having a metaphor could also influence just how people understand it and lead to different interpretations. The question of how those metaphors will be received (bought) by other people for instance explaining a class as a beehive would be perceived as negative- uncontrolled and chaotic, but to the positive mind might understand the same behaviour as profitable in the sense of learners are ‘busy as bees’ possessing positive features of bees: energetic, hardworking and working as a team to achieve the same goal.
The second point of my analysis upon this article would be on the Second Terminology Acquisition theory (SLA). The unique process in which an acquisition of a words is by having a conscious procedure for absorbing new facts and retaining the information or skills via formal instructions is true in the as proposed by Stephen Krashen (1982). Although the writer talked about experimental laboratory as a metaphor in relating it to SLA, here I must agree with what Breen argued it to be asocial and psychologically downside. Although Breen viewed the school room as providing an ideal insight to the learner, it reduces the vocabulary learning to linguistic or behavioural conditioning self-employed of learners’ sociable actuality (Cameron, 2001).
Similarly, another questionable aspect of the next metaphor ‘the class room as discourse’ is the fact it restricts the classroom entirely on the teacher-student discussion and fails to reveal a variety of internal factors ranging from views and ideas, feelings and motives of each specific learners (Allwright, 1999a).
Perhaps the most excellent part that can be said in this article is that Breen’s boldness in conceptualizing metaphors to explain the school room situations providing an in depth view of any anthropological aspect thus exploring exactly what is certainly going on between people underlying meanings of the classroom much more totally.
Despite his intensive justification on the metaphor, I possibly could only buy into the coral gardens metaphor to a certain extent. If a terminology classroom sometimes appears as ecology where beliefs, worth and relational ethics have their effects in the introduction of a culture that helps effective and significant language understanding how to happen as explained by Eccles & Wigfield (2002) and Richard (1995); then issues are increased to permit us to see beyond the restrictions of Breen’s coral gardens. Breen’s information is quite unsupported and untested, but much more likely to inherit the anthropologist’s unwillingness to make normative conclusions. It really is nonetheless a qualitative observation made and extremely difficult to grasp the classroom in all its complexity (Hutchingson, 1996). But if our teaching mainly to connect to students’ conscience, then normative questions can’t be far away: what methods and methods will be the best ways in this vocabulary acquisition? Changing our images of classrooms will help us to see such questions, and the realities to that they point us, more obviously.
While Breen properly argued his motives in conceptualizing class room as coral gardens, an ecosystem if you like which may have depths and proportions in terms of all eight features highlighted by him. The lack of any of the feature will provide the ecosystem to be unbalanced. Inside the attempt to associate Breen’s metaphor to my knowledge of classroom situation, is it safe to say that my adapted version of Breen’s metaphor could be ‘the class as terrarium’ perhaps? Here, a terrarium is a small version of a genuine ecosystem comparable to Breen’s metaphor depicting the coral gardens with a collection of small plants growing in a transparent container. Taking into account the kind of the crops we put into it, how exactly we decide the type of terrarium we will build: A tiny forest? A mini desert? Just a little rock garden or maybe a great beach field! These endless choices in creating enjoyments and excitements on magic of character are limitless. Thus, terrarium is a suitable metaphor complementary to coral gardens.
If Breen’s conceptualization of any classroom is seen as metaphors to justify his beliefs, I do think that no observation model is ever final and interpersonal context for terms learning is not neglected but rather it is an ongoing and perpetual process in need of a polishing and refining. Contrasting the classroom to 1 of OUR MOTHER EARTH wonders such as coral garden is a good example to be used as a metaphor. Then it is merely right in my own mind that it is a fragile balance of an ecosystem looking for a careful and thorough attention to completely capitalize on its great potential.