Optimal psycholinguistic environments for distance foreign langauge learning

Doughty, Catherine J.
Long, Michael H.
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Rational choices among the numerous technological options available for foreign language teaching need to be based, in part, on psycholinguistic considerations. Which technological advances help create an optimal psycholinguistic environment for language learning, and which may be innovative but relatively unhelpful? One potential source of guidance is offered by the ten methodological principles of Task-Based Language Teaching (Long, 1985, and elsewhere), each realizable by a variety of pedagogic procedures. Interest in TBLT derives from several sources, including its responsiveness to learners’ precisely specified communicative needs, the potential it offers for developing functional language proficiency without sacrificing grammatical accuracy, and its attempt to harmonize the way languages are taught with what SLA research has revealed about how they are learned. TBLT’s ten methodological principles are briefly defined and motivated, and illustrations provided of how the principles can inform choices among technological options in the particular case of distance education for the less commonly taught languages.
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